29 Jun The Ultimate Guide to Plastic Free July
This week, we’re joined by #EthicalHour sponsor Global WAKECup to discuss how to prepare for Plastic Free July, and simple swaps you can make for less single-use. This guest post is part of the #EthicalHour sponsorship programme.
Every year, millions of eco warriors take part in Plastic Free July, a commitment to reduce and even eliminate single-use plastics for an entire month.
By 2050, there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish, and it’s not all up to the scientists to fix the plastic crisis. Each of us can make small conscious lifestyle changes and make a huge difference.
Anyone who has started on their journey towards zero-waste living will know that it can be a tough challenge at the beginning, with single-use plastics creeping into pretty much every part of our daily lives without us even realising it.
To get you set up for Plastic Free July with confidence, we’ve rounded up more than 15 cheap and easy zero waste swaps you can make in your home and on the go.
First up, tackle your kitchen. A sneaky contributor to your plastic consumption that you probably don’t even think about is cleaning products.
Luckily, it’s so so easy to switch out those spray bottles of chemical-dense kitchen cleaners. Simply pick up some glass spray or pump bottles, and mix up your own cleaning recipes using staple ingredients like lemon juice, water, vinegar, baking soda, citrus peels and essential oils. This pack of refillable amber glass bottles offers two handy recipes for DIY kitchen cleaner and degreaser.
Kitchen roll is another pesky plastic source, as usually you can’t recycle the paper or the packaging. Swap it out for durable fabric cleaning cloths like these natural, biodegradable ones.
Laundry day offers up another opportunity to reduce your plastic footprint. Did you know that washing clothes made from synthetic fabrics like polyester releases hundreds of thousands of toxic microplastics into the water cycle? You can catch these fibres in a Guppy Bag to make sure they don’t leak beyond your washing machine and cause harm throughout the food chain.
Now more than ever, we all know how important it is to wash our hands regularly – but have you ever thought about how many plastic soap bottles you get through? The easiest and cheapest zero waste swap you can make is simply to buy bars of soap instead of liquid soap. LUSH stock lots of lovely plastic-free soap blocks, and also solid bars of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and bubble bath too.
If you wear makeup, you’ll know just how easy it is to get through dozens of wipes and cotton wool pads every week. A great swap here is to invest in a muslin cloth, microfibre cloth or reusable cotton rounds – buy here, then just wash and reuse!
Period products are also usually made from plastic. A great place to start here is to shop from eco-friendly period brands such as Grace & Green and Ohne, or invest in a menstrual cup like this one from Hey Girls to ditch disposable waste altogether.
Toilet roll usually comes wrapped in plastic too! Plus, the way the paper is sourced can be highly destructive to animal habitats and use a vast amount of water. Why not switch to a sustainable loo roll supplier like Who Gives A Crap – the rolls are wrapped in paper not plastic, and they’re made from planet-friendly bamboo and recycled materials.
The most persistent sources of beach litter are always cited as disposable coffee cups and plastic drinks bottles. These are such easy zero waste steps to take for Plastic Free July and beyond! By switching to a reusable coffee cup like this organic bamboo cup, thermos flask or travel mug, and filling up a reusable water bottle made of bamboo, copper or stainless steel, you’ll save money and save the planet.
If your guilty pleasure is buying plastic-wrapped sandwiches and salads on your lunch break, you could reduce so much single-use packaging by packing your own lunch in a washable lunch bag. Ditto for plastic straws and disposable cutlery – try this zero waste cutlery set with bamboo cutlery, a metal straw and a handy pouch to slot in your bag.
Last but not least, it’s time to tackle the biggest source of single-use plastic in most of our lives – food packaging. One of the best ways to make your grocery shopping more sustainable is to ditch the supermarket altogether and shop with small local businesses like zero waste bulk buy stores. Here, you can bring your own containers, from mason jars to Tupperware boxes, and fill up on store cupboard essentials like flour, pasta, cereal, nuts and more. If you don’t have access to a zero waste shop, you can still make a difference by opting for loose fruit and vegetables; bring a reusable produce bag if you like.
Finally, it goes without saying, say no to plastic carrier bags at the checkout – bring a cotton tote bag instead!
Are you ready to take the challenge? To get involved in Plastic Free July, sign up here.
About Global WAKEcup
This is a guest blog by zero waste reusables brand Global WAKEcup. Offering stylish alternatives to single-use plastics, the collection includes organic bamboo coffee cups, copper and stainless steel water bottles, glass tea infusers, bamboo cutlery and so much more. 10% of the profits from each and every sale are donated to the Marine Conservation Society to support their work protecting and restoring our shared oceans. Beyond the products, Global WAKEcup is a 50,000+ strong community of zero waste warriors, working together towards a world where everyone can choose to reuse, and say no to single-use. Shop the collection.