There's always time to shift to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It can seem a little stressful to take on these new habits, but it's actually easier than you think – especially when it comes to Plastic-Free July. This global movement pushes people to limit their single-use plastic waste at home with a few simple tips and tricks.
If you want to work toward a healthier future for life everywhere, look no further. Here are some easy ways to celebrate Plastic-Free July.
1. Avoid Utensils With Takeout
When you order from your favorite restaurant, it will likely slip some extra forks, napkins and straws into your bag. This habit creates waste, especially if you have those items at home. Make sure to leave a comment or check a box that says not to include any utensils. It's a small effort that can make an impact over time.
2. Ditch Plastic Water Bottles
There's no better opportunity to transition to a reusable water bottle. If you still purchase plastic ones at the store, it's time to stop. Researchers expect we'll use and toss more than 500 million plastic water bottles every year by 2021. These containers contribute to environmental disasters that plague our land and oceans. A simple effort on your part can directly impact those numbers.
Today's reusable water bottles come in all shapes and sizes, so you're sure to find something you like.
3. Try Sustainable Cleaning Products
There's a significant chance that you'd notice some plastic if you took a look inside your cleaning supply cabinet. Fortunately, you can avoid harmful materials when you choose eco-friendly products. These days, it's easy to find companies that prioritize this initiative. Search for refillable sprays, zero-waste soap and reusable wipes to keep your home clean.
4. Use Reusable Grocery Bags
Why not switch to reusable grocery bags? The plastic bags you reach for at checkout are among the top debris found along coastlines globally. A few canvas tote bags and reusable produce pouches can make your supermarket experience a breeze. Plus, you'll create less plastic waste. You can keep your reusable items inside your car so they're always ready when you need them.
5. Buy Eco-Friendly Food Containers
If you ever need to pack food for work or store last night's leftovers, it's always nice to have reusable containers handy. Your meals should stay fresh throughout the week – and you won't need to store them with plastic wrap. A container can also help you bring homemade food to places where you're inclined to spend money on takeout.
6. Recycle Used Motor Filters
You may not think about how your car's maintenance contributes to pollution. Whenever you switch out your vehicle's oil, it's essential to make sure you don't cause any spills. Additionally, you should recycle any objects or liquids to ensure they create a lesser impact on the environment. Otherwise, these items could affect our ecosystems.
7. Purchase More Bulk Items
You can save a lot more money than you expect when you purchase bulk seeds, nuts and oats. Plus, you won't be stuck with a small package you need to throw out and replace a few weeks later. If your current supermarket doesn't offer many options, it's smart to look around for dedicated bulk stores.
All you'll need are a few reusable options to stow your items as you shop this Plastic-Free July.
8. Grow Herbs at Home
There's probably a chance that the herbs you buy come inside a small plastic package. Why not grow your favorites at home? You can grow almost any herb with a few supplies. This experience also helps you learn how to garden – you could even grow vegetables if you have enough outdoor space.
9. Consider Body Wash Bars
When you buy plastic shampoo, conditioner and body wash bottles, it isn't easy to recycle them. As a result, they often end up in a landfill. You can try traditional soap bars if it's too much to transition to a new shampoo or conditioner. These bars use less packaging, as they typically come inside cardboard containers. You can also use these bars to shave your legs.
10. Pick a New Gum
It may surprise you to know that gum contains several plastic-related additives within its base. That's what makes it chewy. If you regularly chew gum, it's probably time to switch to an alternative. There are many plastic-free, vegan and biodegradable options that have recently become popular. They have the same taste and consistency as regular gum.
Try These Tips for a Successful Plastic-Free July
Use these ideas to start your personal sustainable journey this Plastic-Free July. With a little effort, you can make a big difference.
Emily Folk is passionate about environmental sustainability and more of her work can be found on her site, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter for her latest updates.