Plastic Free July - How You Can Take Up The Challenge

Hi readers, this month I'm sharing something I'm excited about, you might have heard of "Plastic Free July." Since 2011, it's become one of the most influential eco-campaigns in the world. It began in Western Australia and has inspired 326 million people, in 177 countries. 

By getting us to change our habits for just one month, the initiative aims to rid the world of plastic. As the cliche goes, a little goes a long way. On average, plastic-free participants reduce their waste by 21kg per year and 80% change their habits for good. 

The non-profit's website has plenty of tips for getting involved, including a quiz on what plastic items you might not have considered replacing. Plus they have suggestions you can share with friends or even take to the local government. It's great stuff. 

I signed up for the challenge this year. Having a young one has made me think about my environmental footprint more than ever. In between nappy changes, snack runs and kitchen clean-up, I’ve come up with 31 simple plastic swaps that anybody can copy. These are things I do currently, or aim to do by the end of July. 

#1 - Ditch the plastic water bottle for a reusable one (haha, done).

#2 - Carry a reusable coffee cup when out and about (cause you never know when you need a caffeine fix.)

#3 - Bring reusable cutlery in my bag when out and about.  

#4 - Throw in a reusable straw in too.

(Bonus: Tips on Plastic-free lunches.)

#5 -  Keep glass jars and reuse them for leftovers, jams and drinking vessels. 

#6 - Swap disposable nappies for reusable ones.

#7 - Same with baby wipes.

#8 - Take a container to the shops to purchase meat/seafood/deli treats.

#9 - Use beeswax wraps or glass containers to store food.

#10 - Make as many homemade snacks as possible and freeze them for later use.

#11 - Use reusable produce bags.

#12 - Use a reusable bread bag. 

#13 - Shop in bulk and take our own containers. 

#14 - Use soap bars rather than plastic bottles.

#15 - Use reusable sanitary pads.

#16 - Use loose-leaf tea instead of teabags.

#17 - Learn how to make veggie stock.

#18 - Use certified compostable bags as bin liners.

#19 - Use plastic-free dental floss.

#20 - Refill shampoo and conditioner from a refilling service (many health food shops or bulk grocery stores have these.)

#21 - Make homemade eye cream.

#22 - Avoid take-away and choose to eat in instead (I’m thinking homemade pizzas and wine).

#23 - Use newspaper for your compost bin. 

#24 - Wear a reusable mask.

#25 - Make a D.I.Y house cleaner. 

#26 - Use reusable shopping bags.

#27 - Replace purchasing new toys by joining a toy library.

#28 - Shop second-hand as much as possible. 

#29 - Use a bamboo toothbrush.

#30 - Invest in a quality plastic-free shaver.

#31 - Celebrate my plastic-free month by treating myself to ice cream in a cone, without a napkin.

Phew! To be honest, some of these swaps may be a slight inconvenience at the beginning, but that’s all part of the challenge. Admittedly, I’m privileged enough to have access to a range of ideas and resources to continually inspire me, but I think anyone can give this a shot. 

Readers of the blog will know that I'm documenting my progress being an eco-mum. Hopefully, you can partake in this month's challenge and learn from some of my tips too. Let me know your methods for going plastic-free, otherwise, wish me luck!

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