If you’re a zero waster, chances are you’ve heard of Plastic Free July already. Several times, in fact. It’s pretty much all over my Instagram feed right now, and for good reason! It gives people the chance to really make a commitment to going zero waste. Plastic Free July is essentially a campaign that started in 2011 to get people thinking about plastic pollution, and ways to solve it. The goal of Plastic Free July is to avoid disposables the month of July (and hopefully every day afterward). The cool part about this challenge is that you can pick one disposable to avoid (like plastic packaging), the big four (like plastic bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups), or go all out and go completely plastic free. The commitment level is totally up to you, and since the commitment is only a month long, it’s a good way to get a taste for the zero waste lifestyle and see if it’s for you. The cool part is, by the end of the month, it’ll feel so natural and second nature to you (after all, it takes about 21 days to form good habits). Ready to get started? Head on over to Plastic Free July and make the pledge on what you’re going to give up this July. Encourage your friends and family to enter too! They’ll soon find out how easy and fun it is to go plastic free, and you can make it a joined effort. Now, without further ado, here’s how to celebrate Plastic Free July.
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Did you know in America alone, 1,500 water bottles are consumed every minute? That’s a lot of waste. Instead, invest in a reusable water bottle (it’ll save you money in the long run too).
My best friend swears by her Klean Kanteen water bottle. It’s stainless steel and has a wider mouth, perfect for adding ice cubes to. Plus, you can get one with a bamboo cap – double points for being cute and completely plastic free!
Another option is a glass water bottle with a silicone sleeve (this one also has a cap made from bamboo). They’re cute, durable, and customizable. That said, they won’t keep your drink as cold or hot as a stainless steel water bottle will (which is designed to insulate for long periods of time).
A reusable cutlery set made from wood is a great way to ditch disposables. Plus, this one comes with a cute carrying case you can use over and over again (and wash when it gets dirty). Simply plop it into your bag or car and never be caught off guard again.
If you prefer the feeling of stainless steel utensils while you eat, consider this reusable flatware set. It comes with a travel pouch that’s washable and perfect for easy utensil storage.
Of course, you can always just take some reusable stainless steel cutlery from your own kitchen and wrap it in a reusable napkin. Then just plop it in your bag or car for safe keeping.
I’ve tried nearly every reusable straw out there and my absolute favorite is glass straws. They’re really pretty and it’s always easy to tell whether or not they’re clean. Also, they don’t have any ‘taste’ (like bamboo) or get too cold (like stainless steel). They’re just right – and surprisingly durable.
A close second for me is stainless steel. I love how durable these are and how sleek they look in a drink. I find myself reaching for my stainless steel straw a lot when I’m out and about because it’s so reliable.
Bamboo straws are great too, because you can compost them at the end of their life. A bamboo straw does have a slight ‘taste’ to it, and the texture of drinking through it takes a little getting used to. That said, bamboo straws add a tropical feel to any drink, making them super fun. They’re also the best choice for kids out of all the reusable straws.
There are so many cute travel mugs out there. Mine is a stainless steel one from The Natural Life (it’s actually considered a tumbler, if we’re getting technical). It keeps iced tea cold, hot tea hot (what more could I ask for?). The Natural Life make a lot of really cute travel mugs in both 17 oz sizes and smaller, so check them out if you love girly things.
Another kind of travel mug you might like a ceramic one. These are really beautiful and come in so many different patterns and styles. Personally, I’d be afraid to drop it, so I’ve refrained from getting one, but it is a gorgeous option.
If you’d rather have something low maintenance and not flashy, Yeti makes a great tumbler that will keep your drinks as cold or as hot “as science allows”. This essentially the same as the first travel mug I suggested, but without the girly patterns and a slightly different cap.
Of course, you can also just use a good old fashion mason jar to hold your drinks in. Look for them in your own home before buying one first, or just clean out a glass jar and use that.
The average American uses 300 plastic bags per year. Each bag can take 1,000 years to disintegrate, and they’re often found in the bellies of marine mammals and sea birds. You can be a part of the solution:
I own a Blu Bag and it’s one of the smartest purchases I’ve ever made. It’s not only cute, but super convenient. It comes in a little pouch, making for easy storage in my sling-over bag. You can easily stash it in your car’s glove compartment too. Each Blu Bag holds up to 50 lbs, so having two or three of them means you can easily get your grocery shopping done, waste free. You can also use it whenever you go shopping in the mall for clothes, shoes, or other items.
Canvas bags are another light weight, easy to transport option. They’re also made out of natural materials, so you know they will biodegrade when they’re at the end of their life.
Don’t forget about produce bags. Those are made from plastic too, and super wasteful (you only use them once before getting rid of them!). Put your fresh fruits and veggies into reusable produce bags made from natural cotton mesh. They will biodegrade when they’re at the end of their life, and you’ll have so many you’ll never need a plastic produce bag again.
If you’re on a budget, this reusable produce bag set is great too. It’s made from synthetic material unfortunately, but it is reusable. There’s also the tare weight on the tags, making it easy to shop in bulk with them (just don’t get anything too fine like flour or sugar in these – bulkier dry foods like legumes, rain and kernels work better).
- Learn how to have a zero waste kitchen, no plastic included.
- Adopt some zero waste cleaning habits (like making your own laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaner).
- Have a zero waste bathroom by using plastic-free alternatives.
- Learn a few zero waste recipes and make more things from scratch.
- Keep your zero waste health up by staying fit and green all July long.
- Indulge in some zero waste beauty hacks, tips and tricks.
- Join my #GreenifyJuly challenge (details below).
For more ways to reduce trash throughout Plastic Free July, be sure to download my FREE E-book, 10 Ways to Reduce Trash. It’s packed with helpful tips and tricks to help you fight more than just plastic pollution. You’ll learn how to compost, get rid of wasteful junk mail, and so much more!
Also, for more tips on how to have a Plastic Free July, be sure to join my Instagram challenge, starting Monday, July 2nd! I’ll be posting pictures with helpful tips on how to ditch plastic all month long. You can follow along using the hashtag #GreenifyJuly. Better yet, show me how you greenify your July by posting a picture and using that hashtag! Who knows, maybe I’ll feature you on my account? Let the plastic free month begin!