Plastic Free July is coming to a close and whether you’ve made loads of changes in your daily routine or are still trying to get the hang of recognizing plastic in your life, there’s no wrong place to be in your journey. To help the people that might need some inspiration of how to progress their low-waste lifestyle, we’ve come up with 10 simple steps that you can make the transition to having a bit less plastic in your life!
1. Buy boxed items instead of bottled
Nowadays, there are plenty of simple alternatives to typically plastic bottled items. Boxed water is gaining popularity and Earth 911 shares that boxed beverages have “a 36% lower carbon footprint, uses 43% less fossil fuel, and has a 95% lower impact on the ozone.” Even past water, many brands have been experimenting with boxed packaging as a new initiative.
2. Bring your own cup or thermos to a take out coffee place
Some of us can’t ditch starbucks from our lives! The biggest difference comes from making small changes. So next time you order your oat milk latte, ask for it to be made in your thermos or cup from home rather than the plastic cups used in stores. If everyone starts doing this, imagine how much plastic would be saved!
3. Purchase foods in bulk, refill your own bag
Many grocers offer bulk bins for food like grains, oats, nuts, and beans. By opting for these rather than the prepackaged shelved items, you can save plastic and money. All you have to do is bring your own reusable bag or container and your shopping trip is simplified! Whole Foods is one of many grocery chains that offer bulk bins as a smart alternative.
4. Carry reusable utensils and straws with you
This switch can’t be too hard for most people, as utensils are something most of us already have! Rather than using plastic silverware on your lunch break or when eating out, keep your own cutlery and reusable straw in your bag. If your friends see you making this swap, maybe they will do the same!
5. Shop at the farmers market and reuse the produce cartons
Rather than buying all of your produce in plastic packaging and bags, the farmers market is a great alternative to plastic waste and is a great source of locally grown produce. At many markets, you even have the option to bring the produce containers back to refill next time. If a farmer’s market isn’t feasible for you, many grocers also allow you to recycle your plastic fruit containers at their facilities to be reused!
Reusable Cartons from Farmer’s Markets
6. Make your own cleaning products in a reusable glass bottle
One simple alternative to toxic cleaning products and single use plastic bottles is making your own! Some amazing cleaning ingredients are vinegar, baking soda, alcohol, and essential oils! By creating your own natural cleaning products, you can easily refill a plass spray bottle to take care of all of your messes! Many reusable glass spray bottles have recycled plastic nozzles and though this is not plastic free, it is making use of previously manufactured plastics!
7. Use bar soap instead of liquid soap
One of the simplest swaps for a plastic free change is switching to bar soap. Many bars come in paper wrapping and are a great alternative to plastic soap dispensers. Bar soap is just as effective and is offered by so many amazing brands in fragrance free or amazing scents, you are sure to find one you fall in love with! (Bonus: Check out our Shampoo and Conditioner Bars blog post for more bottle alternative bar soaps!)
8. Buy toilet paper that is not wrapped in plastic
So many people can’t imagine cutting toilet paper out of their lives to be zero-waste and that is understandable. Still, you can purchase brands that are transparent and work to use less plastic waste. Many popular toilet paper brands are still supplied in plastic covering. Try switching to a brand that only uses paper products to wrap their toilet paper! These alternatives are plastic free, and also made of bamboo to save the trees!
9. Use paper tape instead of plastic tape
When gift wrapping, fixing rips, or taping things together, we probably forgot that typical tape is plastic and it adds up to contribute to our carbon footprint. Using paper tape rather than our commonly used plastic tape can be a quick and easy alternative in our daily lives!
10. Ask for plastic free packaging and minimal waste from online shops
It can be hard to cut online ordering from your life, and instead of forcing yourself to stop cold turkey, asking shops to limit the plastic packaging in your order is a great first step. Whether they opt out of wrapping your item in bubble wrap or choose to send your items in minimal packaging, any alternative can help. If we all do this, large companies may actively change their packaging habits.
Some of these quick fixes may be ideas you’ve already reinforced, or some may be more simple changes than you might have thought about! With effortless swaps, you can quickly be on your way to a lower-waste lifestyle and feel good about the changes you’ve made during #PlasticFreeJuly!
Let us know your favorite swaps!