How to Participate in Plastic-Free July

The burden of single-use plastics on our planet has become unsustainable. If you are striving to reduce the amount of plastic you use on a daily basis, a hard reset during plastic-free July could be just what you need to change up your impact on our Earth.

Use a Shopping List

Impulse purchases reach out to shoppers in no small part because they are pretty. The plastic packaging on candy bars is meant to grab the eye. Because most packaged food is also highly processed, using a shopping list to make sure that you

  • use your own containers to buy dried goods in bulk
  • Choose to produce individually whenever possible and haul it in your own bag

Check each item on your shopping list to consider the packaging. Do you need to buy bread, or can you make your own? If you are buying jarred foods, do you have a glass recycling location, or can you reuse the jar later?

Skip Convenience Foods

A bag of chips and a sandwich from a vending machine is not only less than optimal nutrition, but it’s hard on the earth. Bring your own food to work and save what you would have spent on vending machine food. Then invest in plastic free food storage that will last for years.

For those who love a bit of fresh fruit in their lunch, consider investing in silicone food storage bags for a much longer shelf life and smaller footprint.

Use Concentrates

When shopping for consumables like body wash and household cleansers, invest in a large container of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap and use it to make

  • body wash
  • face wash
  • laundry soap
  • spray cleaners
  • pet shampoo

While a large jug of Dr. Bronner’s is certainly plastic, you can use this jug to fill up many other containers for re-use. For those with children, you may enjoy running a household test to see just how long that recycled shampoo bottle lasts before the plastic breaks down.

In addition to using cleaning concentrates, take a look at your skincare regime. One tub of shea butter can do a lot to lessen your need for bottles of lotion. If you find a lotion that works well with your skin type, look for bulk containers and buy enough for the long term. It will store more easily and fall off your shopping list for a long time.

Invest in a Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Water bottled in disposable plastic containers is wasteful on many levels. First of all, a lot of the developed world has clean water from the tap, so bottled water is a petroleum-intensive luxury. Secondly, water weighs 8 pounds per gallon, so it is expensive to ship, which burns fuel. Finally, water at your local convenience store needs to be chilled, which increases power consumption and further pollutes our atmosphere.

Get yourself a stainless steel water bottle. Make it a habit to empty and wash it each evening, then fill it again with water from the tap so you can refrigerate it overnight. Having access to a cold bottle of water each morning can make it easier to stay hydrated on your walk, keep cool during a workout, and protect your tissues from dehydration all day.

Plastics are all around us. Getting your household to plastic-free status may take years, but now is the time to start. No matter your age, we can all work together to leave our planet a better place for those who will follow. Check your shopping list and avoid impulse buys.

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