Is it possible to live plastic-free? Try these 31 easy swaps for your everyday life
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How to go plastic-free
Plastic has become an integral part of many people's daily lives, so living plastic-free is a big change for many of us. In order to make the change, you need to begin to build a habit of living with less plastic. Creating new habits that allow you to continue a behavior for an extended period of time is essential. Start small, and slowly build your way towards living fully plastic-free.
As we're celebrating plastic-free July, we have collected 31 easy swaps, lifestyle habits, and global events to inspire you to make that switch this year.
This is a great time of year to start going plastic-free. Have you heard of the Plastic Free July Challenge?
Why Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July is a powerful global movement that helps millions of people come together all over the world to be part of the solution to end plastic pollution. The aim of this campaign is to improve not only our standard of living (think cleaner streets, oceans, rivers and less waste) but also the health of the planet.
Learn more about single-use plastic and plastic-free July here.
Why not connect with friends and family and join forces to reduce plastic consumption this month.
But what are the first steps in going plastic-free?
31 actions to help you live plastic-free
1. Take inventory of the waste you’re currently producing
Before doing or buying anything, we recommend taking time to recognize where you’re using plastic in your day-to-day life. Take stock of what you’re currently doing. It's important to be aware of the current situation to make the right changes.
You might be surprised by the number of plastic bottles you’re throwing away, the plastic takeout boxes, coffee cups, or the plastic wraps that come with your produce.
This will help you to choose the main important things you need to swap out.
2. Carry reusable or compostable utensils with you
Instead of using plastic utensils and straws when you’re out - carry your own with you. Opt for metal straws, and compostable utensils. We highly recommend Plantry compostable utensils for an easy planet-friendly alternative!
3. Choose reusable water bottles and coffee cups
If you’re buying multiple plastic bottles of water, it’s time to invest in a reusable bottle made from either stainless steel or even glass! Not only will this save you your hard-earned dollars, but you will be helping to seriously reduce plastic waste. It also helps to keep the water you're drinking free from any plastic particules.
The same goes for your daily coffee, bring your own reusable cup and avoid to-go cups where possible (some stores even offer discounts for people who bring in their own mugs! Win-win!).
And it just looks so much better, too!
4. Ditch the plastic saran wrap for reusable beeswax food wraps
Try to avoid both plastic wrap and foil wrap where possible. Beeswax wraps are most often made from organic cotton which is then coated in jojoba oil, pine resin, and natural beeswax. You can use the heat from your hands to warm the wax and then wrap the cotton around the item you're wrapping. Beeswax wraps are self-sealing, reusable for up to a year (you'll then need to re-wax them, which you can do yourself) they're also plastic-free, and compostable.
Not to mention they often come in an abundance of colors and designs making them a great option for your children's lunches.
5. Carry reusable shopping bags
This is a super easy swap that we recommend. Ditch the plastic bags and choose your own reusable ones made from cloth or linen.
6. When ordering pizza, say no to the little plastic “table” in the middle of the pizza box
This is something people often don’t think about, but that little plastic table in your pizza box doesn’t need to be there. These are often called ‘package savers’ and they serve very little purpose.
7. Treat yourself to ice cream cones and say no to plastic cups
Switch from ice cream containers to cones. Most cups have a plastic coating on them which can be avoided.
If you're serving ice cream at home at a party, you can also choose our compostable palm bowls. Perfect for the occasion!
8. Let go of frozen and/or microwavable convenience foods
All frozen and microwaveable meals use plastic that cannot be recycled. Even frozen food trays that appear to be made from cardboard contain hidden plastics.
Cooking more whole foods at home will help you reduce you plastic consumption.
9. Where to shop plastic-free? Check out your local farmers' market!
Farmers' markets are a great way to buy fresh, local produce without plastic (as long as you remember to bring your own bags). Our top tip? For smaller fruits such as berries and tomatoes, use your own container or bag and hand the vendor’s plastic container back to reuse.
10. Buy fresh bread without plastic bags
Opt for bread that comes in paper instead of plastic. These can often be found at your local markets over the supermarket. Even better, you can bring your own cloth bag to wrap your bread.
11. Choose milk that comes in glass reusable containers
A lot of areas have local dairies that provide milk in returnable glass bottles rather than plastic or plastic-coated cardboard.
12. Choose a wine bottle with natural cork
We see more and more wines now with plastic corks. If you’re wondering how to tell if you’re buying plastic or a traditional cork bottle there’s a mobile website called Corkwatch that you can use to see what kind of stopper is in a particular wine bottle before you purchase it.
13. Shop at a bulk store where possible
Bulk stores are a great way to buy products without the need for plastic wrapping and packaging. You simply bring your own containers and fill them up! It’s that simple. It also allows you to get exactly the quantities you need and to avoid wasting food.
14. Choose plastic-free chewing gum
A sad fact is that almost all chewing gum is made of plastic. When you’re chewing gum, you’re chewing most likely chewing on plastic. But plastic-free chewing gum options do exist!
15. Use powdered dishwasher detergent in a cardboard box
Instead of choosing detergents in plastic packaging and cleaning products opt for powered detergent in a cardboard box instead. Cardboard can be used as mulch or shredded and soaked to decompose efficiently at home, biodegradation occurs quickly, with the majority of cardboard completely broken down within three months! As opposed to plastic which takes hundreds and hundreds of years.
16. Ditch the hand liquid soap and choose a traditional soap bar
Use a traditional soap bar instead of hand soap in plastic bottles. Not only do soap bars last longer but they tend to be cheaper too!
17. Say no to plastic sponges
Compressed natural cellulose sponges are the best option for plastic-free cleaning.
18. Use compostable ‘rubber’ gloves
Compostable gloves are a great option when cleaning, handling chemicals or hair products, pumping gas, etc. They are plastic-free and compostable!
19. Check your personal care product labels
A lot of beauty products contain tiny microplastic beads. Avoid anything with “polyethylene” listed as an ingredient. Better yet opt for natural beauty products that contain no harmful ingredients, your body (and the planet) will thank you.
20. Reconsider your toothpaste
Toothpaste tubes are often found washed up on beaches around the world. They are not recyclable and can be avoided. Many brands now offer toothpaste in plastic-free packaging such as recyclable aluminum tubing.
21. Choose toilet paper wrapped in paper packaging
22. Use plastic-free water filters
Check out Phox water filters for a plastic-free alternative to traditional water filtering systems. More than 100 million plastic filter cartridges end up in landfills each year - rest easy knowing you aren’t contributing to this catastrophic number!
23. Make your own granola bars
Individually wrapped bars contribute to a very large proportion of plastic waste. Consider making your own! Not only is this a fun family activity but you’ll be seriously improving your health. Homemade granola bars are both body-friendly and planet-friendly.
24. Avoid plastic pens
Use pencils where possible, if a pen is required consider buying a refillable fountain pen.
25. Use palm leaf plates for your next party
When hosting your parties this summer, consider using compostable palm dinnerware such as plates, bowls, trays, and cutlery to swap out the regular wasteful single-use plastic items.
Our compostable plates and dinnerware are 100% natural, plastic-free, and toxin-free.
Made from naturally fallen palm leaves, these products create zero impact on the planet, in fact, they use natural resources that already exist! What's better is that they will fully decompose in your at-home compost in around 45 days.
To learn more about at-home composting check out our blog here
Are compostable plates really compostable? To learn more, check out our blog here
26. Be mindful of your choice of tea and coffee
You might be surprised to know that a lot of teabags actually contain microplastic! Many tea bag brands also sell their singular tea bags in plastic wrapping. To avoid this all together we recommend drinking loose-leaf teas and ensure you choose a brand that uses paper packaging only. The same goes for your morning coffee, instead of using individually wrapped sachets, consider heading to your local bulk store with a glass mason jar to purchase and store your coffee or at least avoid plastic individual coffee pods and use a reusable one instead.
27. Do a bathroom evaluation
Common bathroom items such as brushes, floss, and cotton buds tend to be full of plastic. Toothbrushes and cotton buds are common items found floating around in our oceans and did you know that every single toothbrush ever made still exists? Some simple swaps you can make could be investing in bamboo toothbrushes, reusable cotton swabs, and plastic-free bamboo dental floss such as this zero waste floss from Eco Roots.
28. Zero waste hand sanitizer
Over the last couple of years, plastic pollution has increased significantly, one of the major contributors is those tiny plastic bottles of hand sanitizer many of us are carrying around. But fear not, a refillable sanitizer has arrived, Check out Sanikind who has created an eco-friendly sanitizing mist that is refillable and stylish too!
29. Choose plastic-free gift wrap
The majority of gift wrap is not only full of plastic but a ton of chemicals that make it harmful to both our bodies and the planet. Opt for chemical-free paper gift wraps that can be recycled or reused, or even reusable cotton or silk wrap. Check out Wrappr for some beautiful designs and inspiration.
30. Make your own condiments
Why not look into making your own peanut butter, jams, or even ketchup! This is a great one if you’re seriously looking to improve your overall well-being. Homemade produce always trumps store-bought goods when it comes to quality and nutritional value. If you’re not up for the task, opt for glass jars that you can either recycle or upcycle into something creative like candles or plant holders.
31. Quit using plastic zip locker bags
When it comes to food storage zip locker bags are a no go if you’re trying to live plastic-free. Use reusable silicone or paper-based bags instead when you can.
When is plastic-free day?
If this all feels a little too overwhelming for you, July 3rd is ‘Plastic Free Day’, why not consider going plastic-free for a full 24 hours to see how you find it! Or pick any day you want and giv it a try!
Choose a couple of the above tips to begin implementing and don't forget - every little helps! Even just choosing one tip to implement will make a big difference in the fight to protect our planet.
Thank you for your interest. Let's join the movement and let's reduce our plastic consumption!
Check out our plastic-free products here.