July is almost here which means one thing – one month of plastic-free living.
While we try to promote a minimal waste lifestyle, it can be tough to avoid plastics completely.
They creep into so many products and packaging without us realising.
Plastic-Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution.
There are lots of small ways we can all reduce single-use plastic waste whether at home or work.
To help you have a successful month, here are some tips for avoiding plastic.
- Don’t forget your bag for life
Figures released last year showed that since the 5p bag charge was introduced in 2015, plastic bag sales are down 86 per cent. Make sure you always have one ready in your handbag or car.
- Choose refillable products
Do some research and find your local zero-waste store. Here you can take your existing bottles and jars to top up on necessary items such as washing up liquid, shampoo and detergents. Check out thezerowaster.com for their list of stores.
- Use your greengrocer
Sadly there aren’t as many greengrocers on our streets as there once was, but it’s vital we make use of the ones that do exist. Fresh, packaging-free and great value, if you’re lucky to have a local one, then encourage all your friends to use it. Avoid supermarket-bough veg that is wrapped in plastic as much as you can.
- Grow your own
Other than a huge sense of satisfaction, growing your own food is very eco-friendly. If you’ve got an abundance of green beans look for a free food sharing movement near you to swap out for something else. Check out foodswapnetwork.com
We use around 13 billion plastic drinks bottles per year in the UK – a disastrous figure that we must work to reduce. If you don’t already have one, buy a refillable bottle. And if your friends don’t have one, they make great gifts!
- Get a menstrual cup
Sanitary towels can be made of up to 90 per cent plastic. The average women throws away around 10,000 in their lifetime. Switching to a reusable cup is a step towards a plastic-free period.
- Ditch the straws
Luckily it’s become passé to serve your favourite tipple with a plastic straw or swizzle stick, but if you still enjoy a straw in your drink, there are many sustainable steel alternatives.
- Go plastic-fishing
A staggering 80 per cent of plastic found in the sea begins on land, before ending up in the open water. In fact, in London alone, 300 tonnes of rubbish is cleared from the Thames each year. If you are lucky enough to have your own kayak or boat, get a litter-grabber or net, and head out onto your local river, looking for rubbish to pull out. Find out more about plastic-fishing here.
- Meal prep
Quite often grab-and-go meal deals and convenience foods are wrapped in crazy amounts of plastic. Instead of buying into this, take some time to meal prep a delicious plant-based lunch the night before.
- Buy in bulk
Whilst it’s not possible to buy all your food in huge quantities, some items are worth stockpiling – herbs and spices, nuts, rice, lentils and cereals can all be bought in bulk. This reduces the need for lots of little refills that always come in plastic containers.