We just love seeing the wave of passion, enthusiasm and positivity that sweeps across our community this time of year as more and more people take the challenge to reduce single use plastic waste and production during Plastic Free July (and beyond!). Plastic Free July is a global movement that sees millions of people commit to reducing their single use plastic waste during the month of July. Whether you're new to Plastic Free July or you've participated before, or are just looking at ways to stick to your commitment to reduce single use plastic, here are our top tips to help you.
1. Create your everyday reusables kitIf you think about it, there are probably several single use plastic items that you use on almost a daily basis. For many people, these items include straws, takeaway coffee cups, single use plastic shopping bags, produce bags, bottled water or soft drink, and cling wrap or zip lock bags. Well, the good news is that there are reusable alternatives for all of those single use products! The first step to making this Plastic Free July your most successful yet is to put together your reusables kit to help you avoid single use plastic day to day. And then:
- Let your veggies mingle or take your own reusable produce bags;
- Use reusable food wraps, sandwich pouches and containers instead of cling wrap and zip lock bags;
- Say no to a plastic straw or choose to use a reusable straw instead;
- Carry a reusable water bottle with you and fill it up during the day;
- Remember to bring your reusable shopping bags;
- BYO reusable coffee cup (you could even use a ceramic cup from the office if your coffee shop is nearby!).
2. Look at other disposable itemsOnce you have put together your reusables kit to help you avoid single use plastic day to day, the next step is to consider other common plastic disposable products, such as your toothbrush, razor, cotton buds, skin and hair care, cleaning products, and even pegs. Did you know that for all of the items we've just mentioned, there are eco friendly, plastic free or buy for life alternatives a vailable? So:
- Swap your plastic toothbrush (which even comes packaged in plastic!) to a bamboo toothbrush packaged in cardboard;
- Invest in a stainless steel safety razor, which will last a lifetime;
- Use bamboo cotton buds instead of cotton buds with plastic sticks;
- Consider using multifunctional skin care and cleaning products packaged in glass or plastic free packaging, like the Viva La Body range, Ethique and That Red House soapberries;
- Or, why not try making your own DIY skin care or cleaning products - we have lots of recipes available here >
- And, never deal with plastic pegs going brittle and disintegrating again with our stainless steel pegs - with good care they will last generations!
3. Tackle one area at a timeInstead of diving into plastic free living head first, go easy on yourself and break the plastic free challenge into easy to manage parts. Pick one of our single use plastic free journeys below, see how to go about conquering it, then move onto the next journey!
- Go grocery shopping plastic free
- Pick up a plastic free takeaway
- Go plastic free in the kitchen
- Choose plastic free in the bathroom
- Create a plastic free cleaning and laundry routine
- Pack a plastic free lunch
4. Place reminders in easy to see areasIt's one thing having all of these reusable, single use plastic free alternatives on hand, but it's another thing to actually remember to bring them with you! Here are some tips to help you remember to take your reusable items with you when you leave the house:
- Create a phone wallpaper with a reminder on it (we love this idea @the_bluescientist shared with us on Instagram);
- Keep your reusables together behind the door, so it's the last thing you see;
- Leave a note on your car's sun visor, so you're reminded as soon as you pull it down; or
- Stick a post-it note by your keys reminding you to bring your reusables too.
5. Consider what you buy and how you buy itPlastic Free July is a great time to audit what you buy. You might like to consider these questions:
- What items do you purchase?
- Do you really need it, or is it an impulse buy?
- How much of a particular item do you purchase (a little, a lot)?
- How often do you buy it (once a week, once a month, etc)?
- Is it available in bulk, in plastic free packaging, or a larger pack?
- Is all of it used, or is some wasted and thrown away?
- Can you buy less of a product that is being wasted or thrown away?
6. Shop zero waste or with less single use plasticNo matter where you live, there is generally a way to shop with less single use plastic packaging.
Grocery ShoppingIs there a bulk food store near you, or perhaps a fresh fruit and veggie store, bakery or deli? Even if there isn't and you get your groceries from a supermarket, use your reusable produce bags for fresh produce, ask the person at the deli if they will accept reusable containers (many do!), and choose products packaged in glass, cardboard and tin, which can be recycled. Are there items you could purchase without plastic packaging? For example, could you choose the pasta in the cardboard box as opposed to the pasta in the soft plastic package? Or does your supermarket have nuts available in bulk? Can you opt for fresh fruit and veggies that are in season, instead of plastic packets of frozen fruit and veggies. Another option is to buy a larger pack size of something to reduce overall packaging. For example, rice, dog food, flour, oil. You could also then repurpose that packaging to contain rubbish or something else.
Other ShoppingBiome is an excellent spot for shopping zero waste or with less single use plastic. We have stores in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Melbourne. Here you can find:
- Bulk DIY skin care ingredients, like activated charcoal, bentonite clay, beeswax, shea and cocoa butters (among many other raw ingredients);
- Bulk cleaning items, like vinegar, pure castile soap, organic soapberries, and toilet cleaning bombs; and
- Lots of other skin care, cleaning, home and lifestyle products that are zero waste, toxin free, palm oil free and ethically made and sourced.
7. Find a local or online communityHaving a community of like minded people around you will make your zero waste and plastic free journey much easier! Plastic Free July is taking place in more than 150 countries worldwide this year, so keep an eye out for local Plastic Free July events happening near you. If you can't find a local event, there are lots of online communities and blogs you can turn to. For those that use Facebook, is there a local zero waste Facebook group you can join? If not, why not start your own Facebook group for people who are trying to live with less single use plastic! Biome's DIY Natural Beauty Bar Facebook group is a lively community of people interested in making their own zero waste skin care products. You can join here > Otherwise, Biome's Facebook and Instagram is brimming with zero waste, plastic free ideas, and we regularly share inspiring ideas from our community. We also have a range of zero waste, plastic free, low tox and sustainable living books to inspire you.
8. Take some time to planLiving with less single use plastic this Plastic Free July will require some simple planning. Here are some tips:
- Take a moment to plan your day before you leave home, including whether you might stop for a takeaway coffee, afternoon smoothie or by the supermarket, so you'll know what reusables you'll need;
- Plan your meals for the week, to avoid resorting to last minute takeaway;
- Prepare meals or chop ingredients ahead of time, like on the weekend;
- Look for food, skin care and cleaning recipes that use ingredients you know you can find plastic packaging free - Pinterest and Biome's Naked Beauty Blog are great resources; and
- Write a shopping list and stick to it.