About one million plastic beverage bottles are sold worldwide each minute. Every year, consumers use approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags. Roughly 18 billion pounds of plastic waste makes its way into the ocean yearly. Our dependence on single-use plastic is choking our waterways and threatening ecosystems that every living creature on this earth rely on.
The earth is the one thing we all have in common. Making better choices for the environment can seem like a daunting task. But there are plenty of easy ways we can make a difference.
Plastic Free July is a wonderful opportunity to get involved in a big way. Individuals at all levels are welcome to join in on the movement.
The Plastic Free Foundation kicked off their first Plastic Free July in 2011. Ever since, millions of participants have taken up the torch in the fight against single-use plastic. Last year alone, 120 million people across the globe participated. That translates to a whopping 10 billion pounds (or 490 million kg) of plastic waste saved!
Plastic Free July meets you where you are. Are you just dipping your toes into the world of sustainability? Simply take this month to avoid plastic packaging. Ready to step it up a level? Weed out plastic bags, straws and bottles. Maybe you’re ready to really challenge yourself. Go completely plastic-free! Wherever you are, there’s a space for you to join in!
Ready to dive in to Plastic Free July? Well here are some simple ways to reduce or completely abolish your plastic waste use:
Bring a reusable bag.
This one can be tough to remember at the beginning of your plastic-free journey. I remember when I first made the decision to cut down on waste I would constantly be in my car on the way to the grocery store only to realize I left my bags at home.
If you’re in that boat, consider buying a folding bag. You can keep them in your purse or car so you’ll never be left without a bag! And don’t forget, you don’t have to limit your reusable bag use to grocery shopping! Bring your bags on your next trip to the mall or thrift too!
Don’t forget your veggie bags!
Take your reusable grocery bag game to the next level and invest in produce bags! These are one of my favorite low-waste tools! It feels so good to skip out on the plastic wrap and proudly tote my broccoli to check out in my own bags! These are also great for trips to the bulk store!
Speaking of the bulk store…
Sadly, much of our food and personal care items come covered in some form of plastic. That’s why bulk shopping is such a great option. I’ve switched out most of my bathroom products by bulk shopping (Colorado Springs friends, checkout Conscious Living).
You can also get a lot of food items such as quinoa, rice, seasonings and even popcorn at a bulk shop. Some conventional grocery shops even offer a bulk section!
To find a local bulk shop near you check out the Zero Waste Home website!
Bring your own container! This can be another difficult one to perfect. But it can reduce your plastic waste tremendously. Bring a cup for your iced coffee. Bring a takeaway container for your leftovers when you eat out. Ask if you can get your fountain drink in your water bottle. Get a cutlery set so you’re not forced to use a plastic spoon at your next office party. Okay. That last one doesn’t technically fall under the category of “container” but you get the idea!
Refuse single-use plastics.
This one’s a biggie. And it’s also the easiest, cheapest way to reduce your plastic use. Whenever possible, simply opt out of using single-used plastic. When you order a drink, ask for your bartender to leave out the straw. Never use plastic bags. Look for plastic-free packaging whenever you can. Take stalk of your every day plastic consumption and find ways to slowly whittle that usage down.
This is only a jumping off point!
There are tons of other creative ways to reduce your plastic use this July and beyond. Small actions send ripples through this world. Wherever you are in your plastic-free journey, your efforts matter. Together, we can make a real impact. Now more than ever it’s time to hold ourselves accountable for the well-being of this planet we share. It’s time to create the change we want to see in the world and vote for sustainable options with our dollars! Now go forth and say no to single-use plastic!