We all know that we could do a little more for our planet every day. However, right now it feels harder than ever to avoid the use of single-use plastics. Because of the current concerns regarding the spread of Covid-19 many who would like to be more sustainable or were already in the habit of reaching for reusable materials can no longer do so as easily. In order to support ourselves and our community, it’s perfectly understandable to be buying plastic-packaged food, using single-use cups, or getting takeout from local restaurants. But if we all can pick just one area to reduce our consumption of plastic during this difficult time we can come out of this crisis with better habits and a cleaner planet. This is why we are inviting all in our community to participate in Plastic Free July and pledge to reduce their plastic waste. 

What is Plastic Free July?

Plastic Free July is a global movement that is meant to inspire people to do their part to reduce plastic waste. It encourages people to realize the role that they play in keeping their communities clean and the environment healthy. 

So instead of trying to make a permanent lifestyle change, you commit to avoiding single-use plastics just for the month. You don’t even need to quit using all plastic, committing to no longer using just plastic bags or straws is enough and maybe can even show you how easy it is to adjust to more sustainable habits. 

How do I get started?

 Permanently going Zero Waste can feel daunting for many of us, especially once you realize just how much waste each of us is generating every day. That’s why Plastic Free July is all about making small, sustainable changes to your daily routine. If you’re not even sure what you could change in your routine you can take the Pesky Plastics quiz to find out!

Until we can bring our own coffee cups to our favorite cafes or actually dine in at our favorite restaurants instead of eating out of plastic takeout containers, we just have to get a little creative in order to show our planet some love. This can mean finding a way to commute that lowers your carbon footprint trying out a plant-based diet or simply eating more home-cooked meals.

So instead of trying to make a permanent lifestyle change, you just commit to avoiding single-use plastics for the month of July. The little changes that we each make to our daily routines have the power to add up to big results.

Eat more consciously

One of the most challenging areas to avoid plastic waste is in the foods we buy, or rather, wrapped around the foods that we buy. Almost everything we eat seems to either be shrink-wrapped or capped with some sort of plastic material. You don’t need to stress about only buying things that are plastic-free going forward, this is especially hard right now because of COVID, but you can just choose one type of food that you normally buy and find a plastic-free version of it. For example, frozen fruit often comes in plastic bags but here at the co-op, we carry an organic brand that comes in paper.

Another type of food that it is especially hard to find without plastic is meat, but there’s an easy workaround for this. You can walk up to the meat counter at the co-op and ask the butcher to wrap your meat in paper. Or you could even take it a step further and consume a plant-based diet, which could allow you to forego a large amount of packaging altogether. Plastic Free July is all about making changes that you feel you can maintain going forward so it’s whatever works for you.

DIY

Many of the products that we use to clean our homes would be easy to make ourselves, which is better for our wallets and the landfills. We have a post about making your own disinfectants, and there is a natural solution for just about anything you can think of out there on the internet.

This tour is meant to highlight many of the common areas where shoppers encounter plastic and to suggest ways that you can avoid adding it to your basket! We hope that this helps some of you decide to take the pledge and go plastic-free this July.

Links with ideas:

https://trashisfortossers.com/plastic-free-july-during-a-pandemic/

View this post on Instagram

@mariacanfora asked if i could post ideas for someone who wants to start zero waste in a new home. these are the easiest switches we use the most. (PLEASE KEEP IN MIND I’VE BEEN COLLECTING ITEMS FOR OVER 5 YEARS – you don’t need as much as I own) •I have dads old work rags (about 12), but a cut up old towel or T-shirt work great! •newspaper to clean windows, mirrors, make trash bin liners •luffa gourd cut up into pieces for dish sponge, cleaning sponge, body sponge, soap dish •olive oil for cooking, taking off makeup, moisturizing, taking sticky labels off, buffing wood •block of soap (this was made by a friends grandmother) can be cut up to clean dishes, body, clothes, hands, even hair if your scalp isn’t sensitive •citrus vinegar cleaner (steps in older post) to clean almost everything in the house, get rust off metal lids, help unclog drains •reusable cloth tote (I’ve seen folks DIY from shirts) to serve as shopping, lunch, beach, going out bag (I have 3 use the most but own 7) •my favorite jars are ones I bought food in – salsa, jam, applesauce, olives, etc. – let lid and jar sit in the sun a couple days to get smell out after washing (I have too many jars to count) •utensils don’t have to be fancy cutlery, take what you have at home on the go (we own about 15 of each) •the best cloth napkins I have feel like bedsheets (you could diy) and were from the thrift store (we own about 15) and I use them on the go as well •i like bamboo reusable straws because they can be composted at the end of their life and are the cheapest option (we have 15 variety) •metal tiffins, if you need them, I have found cheaper at asian markets than online sellers (we own 3) •the produce bags pictured were free – grey bag was what my bedsheets at Marshall’s came in (organic cotton too!) and the other two fancy shoe bags were given to me by friends (we own ~15) 🌱of everything shown, my olive oil is the priciest. trying to be mindful of your waste should not be expensive or complicated. what are some cheap changes you made?

A post shared by Heidi Violet (@zerowastechica) on