Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Plastic Free July Challenge - simple ideas on how to reduce plastic in your everyday life

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | |
Heard about the Plastic Free July Challenge? The Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the amount of single-use disposable plastic in our lives, and challenges you and me to do something about it :-)
Plastic Free July Challenge
Photo courtesy of Plastic Free July

OK, you're in. But how do you actually implement a plastic-free July in your everyday life?

When I say plastic, I mean the single-use disposable plastic.

The challenge doesn't mean that you have to stop wearing your existing clothing in recycled plastic, if you know what I mean.
Plastic everywhere!

Living plastic-free is nearly impossible in today's society, because almost anything purchased at the stores is wrapped in plastic. Avocados and bread are wrapped in plastic, plastic corks on milk cartons, yogurt in plastic cups, plastic bags when you go shopping, plastic cutlery for BBQ in the park and so on.

The purpose of this challenge is to make us more conscious about the plastic we use every day. If you can reduce the consumption just a little bit, you've already done a great job! ;-)

Here are some simple ideas for Plastic Free July:

1. Use a reusable shopping tote bag for grocery shopping. Place it near the door, in the car or put in
your daily bag before you go to sleep.

You can use the reusable shopping bags for other purchases; clothes, accessories and alcohol.

I've placed my shopping bag as close as possible to the door. And I always carry an extra reusable cotton bag in my purse ;-) Easy peasy!

Another alternative is to purchase/borrow a shopping trolley with two wheels - they come in different colors and patterns, and aren't only reserved for the granny chic! :-)

Read: Preparing for a plastic-free month - part 1.
A sturdy shopping tote bag ready at the door
A sturdy shopping tote bag
ready at the door

2. Do you buy take-away coffee every day? Take-away coffee cups normally come with plastic lids. Why not use a reusable coffee mug and ask the coffee shop to fill it, to avoid the plastic?

3. The same applies for water. Use a reusable water bottle instead of purchasing new water bottles in plastic every day.

4. Instead of purchasing lunch food (that is normally wrapped in plastic) at the grocery store, make your own lunch the evening before. Store the lunch in tupperware, and voila - you're done! :-)

Read: How to reduce the food waste in your home.

5. Food and bakery goods that usually are wrapped in plastic - bread, pasta, fruit and vegetables. Bake your own bread and make your own pasta.

Or visit food bulk stores to purchase for instance pasta, beans, lenses, spices and dry fruit. Vegetables and fruit in bulk can be purchased at stores run by Turkish or Vietnamese families.

News: Packaging-free shopping on the rise in Europe

When it comes to milk, I believe it's better to buy milk in glass bottles (even if they might have a plastic cork) than milk in carton. At least the glass bottles can be re-used for homemade juice or anything liquid-y.

For fresh fish and meat, you should ask them to wrap it in paper.

6. For BBQ in the park, bring reusable plates and reusable cutlery. They're often made from hard plastic, but they're at least reusable.

Read: Green your summer with eco-friendly portable grills.

7. If you get cravings during the challenge, it's easy to make your own potato chips, sweet potato chips or any potato. I've made chips from blue congo potatoes and also Jerusalem artichoke.

According to information on Plastic Free July's website, chip packets are apparently made from metal coated plastic film.

Read: Make your own kale chips with this easy recipe.
Home made Jerusalem artichoke and blue congo chips
Home made Jerusalem artichoke and blue congo chips
Jerusalem artichoke chips right from the oven
Jerusalem artichoke chips right from the oven

To read more about Plastic Free July - click here. If you want to take it up a notch, visit their site to learn how to make deodorants, soaps, hair rinses and more (you'll also find plastic-free cleaning tips).

Do you have simple ideas on how to reduce plastic in our everyday lives? Please share! :-)

Continue to read:
How to recycle candle jars - step by step

How to deal with environmental guilt.

Have your say about what you just read :)

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