Each year in July, 326 million participants around the world rally together to reduce their waste and ditch unnecessary plastics.
This initiative is appropriately named ‘Plastic-Free July’ and is our absolute favourite time of year here at Go For Zero!
If you’ve never heard of this initiative before, fear not! We’re here to fill you in on exactly what it is, how to take part, and where to start! From making subtle lifestyle changes to spreading the word about eco-friendly living, we can’t wait to take on July together!
Ready to roll? Keep reading for tips and tricks to make this Plastic-Free July one for the books!
What is Plastic-Free July?
Simply put, Plastic-Free July is a month-long motivation to make the change and ditch single-use plastics.
The reason this initiative is so valuable is because of the impact plastics have on our environment. This doesn’t just refer to the ones that land in the ocean. The fact is, even when plastics make it to the proper landfill, the amount of methane gas they leach into the environment is incredibly harmful. Beyond this, most plastics take years to break down (if ever).
Of course, this may look different for everyone! If you are brand new to reducing your waste, this is a great time to begin making small, sustainable changes such as bringing your own reusable bags to the shops or saying no to plastic straws.
You see, the goal of Plastic-Free July isn’t ‘perfectly zero-waste’. While this would be incredible, it is really quite unrealistic. The true purpose of the initiative is to spread awareness, encourage maintainable changes, and introduce new (surprisingly simple) ways to reduce your plastic consumption.
This means that everyone can take part, even if you aren’t ready to go ‘perfectly’ plastic-free!
How To Go Plastic-Free:
Now that you know the goal of Plastic-Free July, it’s time to set some personal goals and take action.
Perhaps you’d like to build plastic-free habits for work, or maybe you’re already taking steps towards a plastic-free lifestyle and are ready to up your efforts. No matter where you are, the most important step to remember in this process is that no one is perfect.
Whether you forget your takeaway cup one morning or you just aren’t ready to give up your favourite bottle of shampoo, the entire purpose is to do your best. Neither of these means it’s time to throw in the towel or that you aren’t ‘good’ at plastic-free.
The fact that you are aware of these things is a giant step in the sustainable direction and you should be proud!
Set your goals, take action, and give yourself grace when things don’t go perfectly, we’re all learning!
Where to Start
Not quite sure where to begin? Tackle small changes first by keeping single-use plastics in mind.
This includes any containers, bags, or packaging that would be thrown away directly after just one use.
If you're looking to make a heap of zero waste swaps in various areas of the home at once check out our limited Plastic Free July Box. It contains 13, yep 13!! Of our bestselling products to help you start or strengthen your plastic-free journey. Oh and did we mention it's 40% off during the month of July?! meaning you save almost $60! *Woot woot*
Some of the core changes you may want to adopt could be:
Clean Up Your On-The-Go Routine
Are you a latte lover? Worry not. Going plastic-free doesn’t mean you need to skip your morning cafe run. To make your coffee enviro-friendly, simply pack your own, reusable takeaway cup and pass it to the barista when you order.
You’ll be saving hundreds of coffee cups from hitting the landfill each year and even get to show off your unique style with your new cafe buddy. Beyond this, many cafes here in Australia have started offering a discount to patrons who bring their own cup, so you could even end up saving a bit of coin!
Bulk up your efforts by bringing your own glass containers or even old, re-washed takeaway containers for your lunches out. While it may feel awkward at first, cafe workers are happy to place your order into your reusable containers.
Top it off by refusing plastic straws and cutlery by bringing your own from home or investing in a compact, travel set for your lunch bag.
And of course, save money and plastic by bringing along your reusable drink bottle wherever you go.
Give your shopping routine an update by ditching the plastic grocery bags and opting for reusable ones. We know it can be tricky at first to remember your bags, but you’d be surprised how quickly this habit forms.
Simply tuck your bags in your car or start each grocery list with ‘BAGS’ to remind you to bring them along.
Another bag swap that’s simple and effective is the produce bag. Instead of reaching for the thin, clear plastic bags in the produce section, bring along your ownmesh produce bags. For larger items such as capsicum or vine tomato, you may even find that skipping a bag altogether is a simple and easy fix.
When it comes to the bakery and butcher, going plastic-free can take a little more preparation. You’ll want to be more conscious of what items you are buying and try to avoid the prepackaged bread and meats. Instead, head right to the counter of your local bakery and butcher shop and ask them to package your items in your containers from home. Reusable cotton bread bags and silicone pouches are perfect for this!
All they’ll need to do is weigh your container before packing and voila! Simple and not to mention, fresh!
If you’ve already made these changes and you’re ready for the next step, let’s dive into some options for your home!
The primary areas you’ll see single-use plastics in your home are the kitchen, bathroom, and cleaning cupboard.
Consider which items you go through the most and start here. A great way to identify what’s hitting the rubbish is to do a bin audit. Simply take note for a week without changing any of your waste behaviours to see what plastics you use regularly. You can then tackle these commonly used items first to make a larger impact!
As a bonus, doing a bin audit can be a great way to gauge your need for a compost option and reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill overall!
Here are a few areas you can consider when making larger, more long-term changes: