Six months ago, we all joined in with Veganuary, along with millions of conscious consumers making a positive difference for the planet. This month, we’ve started another 31-day challenge, but this time it’s for Plastic Free July, where we try to change habits and give up single-use plastics. Are you ready for the challenge? We sure are.
The concept of Plastic Free July was first launched back in 2011, by the Plastic Free Foundation, who are based in Australia. This means we’re also celebrating their 10th year! The challenge is aimed to encourage people to avoid using or buying single-use plastic for an entire month. This way, we’ll make sure we have cleaner streets, oceans and environments, ultimately creating a plastic pollution solution.
Last year, they estimated that 326 million people from 177 countries took part in the global challenge. Together, we can all beat that number this year. So, to help everyone get started, we’ve gathered some handy tips on how to make mindful, yet simple changes throughout Plastic Free July, and beyond.
1. Bring your own bag
First up, a reusable shopping bag can make a huge difference. Although many have already adopted this habit, plastic bags are still a vast plastic waste problem. Mostly, they’re used for a couple of hours and then get thrown away or left to litter our planet. This makes us sad.
Instead, be sure to take a tote bag along with you to the supermarket, or if that takes up too much space, you can always buy a collapsible bag. They’re small enough to fit in your pocket, super-durable, and (the most important part) reusable. At Paradise, we grab our reusable tote bags for every shopping trip. Feel free to holla at us if you want one!
2. Replace plastic straws
When someone in a shop asks if you want a plastic straw, just politely decline when you’re buying a drink. However, if you do require a straw, there are loads of reusable alternatives nowadays. There are even foldable straws out there right now – yes, my mind was blown as well.
Plastic straws may not be the main plastic waste problem, but they are undoubtedly a big issue that needs tackling, since they are not recyclable. In fact, they’re one of the most found and collected items on beaches and coastlines. Sea life commonly mistake plastic straws for food, which leads to choking, or the straws getting stuck in their nasal passages. Think about the turtles, guys.
The thing is, metal or bamboo straws actually look pretty sick, and they also last for ages, so this might be the solution you’ve been waiting for.
3. Reusable bottles and mugs
Another easy switch is to bring your own reusable coffee cup, or water bottle with you wherever you go. It could be for work, on holiday or whenever you go to the gym. There are so many different reusable cups and bottles out there, with every colour and material you could wish for, suitable for every situation.
Of course, you can always use them to take your favourite drink with you from home, but many cafés also actively promote reusable cups, even giving you a cheeky little discount when you let them make their coffee in there. Win, win.
4. Wrap things without disposable plastic
Plastic film is an item that can be found in most households, however there are many reusable alternatives to choose from. Let’s give you some examples to consider:
You could use a plate to cover leftovers.
Buy stretch lids, which are reusable silicone food covers. You can purchase them for bowls, containers and even for fruit and veg.
Use wax paper, there are loads of brands out there that offer this option.
Our message here is that we can make major progression when we all do our part with daily lifestyle changes—no matter how small. And remember, you’re not alone, we work together towards a positive environment. Bring it on, Plastic Free July!