Plastic free July… I must admit I’m not one to normally jump on the bandwagon with this type of thing. I’m the one that rolls her eyes at Dry January or Veganuary. Not because I think their not worth it, writing this now I’m thinking actually they are a pretty good idea, if it’s going to cut down your meat consumption or give your liver time to rest. My problem with them is we should be implementing a little bit more of this all year round. Do you do veganuary but eat meat everyday for the rest of the year? I guess it negates the point of it. However, at the beginning of Plastic Free July I saw a lot of Instagram posts circulating and criticising it for this very reason. “Great to stop using plastic for a month, but what about the rest of the year?” If you gave everything plastic up for a month, would you then go back to consuming as you were before come 1st August? Is it even possible to go completely plastic free for a whole month? Realistically I think not!
So I decided to jump on the Plastic Free July bandwagon but to come at it from a different perspective and that was to just give a little inspiration. 31 days of July and 31 ideas that might inspire people to make just one swap. Just one swap would make a difference in my eyes.
Admittedly some are easier than others, some will only apply if you have a garden or if you even want to do anything in your garden, you may not. Swapping to a conditioner bar may be far to much to do over night, but then you might think, “cloth make up pads, yeah I could do that”. Or you may have been contemplating a menstrual cup for months and this made you take the plunge (FYI a cup will change your life, but that’s on another post. Zero Waste Periods is just better”). Or it might be as simple as choosing to buy your onions loose next time your in the supermarket. What ever it is thank you for choosing just one, or two, or all of it, it all makes a difference.
I’m a massive advocate for small steps and doing thing slowly because once you do one thing it quickly becomes habit, and then you can think of maybe another you can do, and before you know it your kitchen will be filled with pretty bee wax wraps, lovely wooden scrubbers, a fruit bowl filled with fruit rather than packaging and you’ll wonder what you ever used kitchen roll for?…..
So here it is my 31 ideas to reduce you waste… FYI I believe they make your life better and easier (most of the time anyway)
1. A reusable water bottle. Still buying tap water? Where have you been?
2. Order plastic free toilet paper online. We use Green Cane Paper, they are brilliant and a great price. I also really rate Who Gives a Crap who cost a little more but their rolls are big so much the same as the supermarket.
3. Take you own containers to the butcher, cheese counter, fish monger. Their always happy to do this.
4. Use Coconut Oil for… well everything. Moisturiser, nappy cream, hair mask, bath oil, oiling woodwork, massage oil, make up remover, or even as it says on the jar for cooking…..
5. Switch to bamboo tooth brushes. Easy, it’s no different.
6. Switch to a solid shampoo bar. Takes some getting use to, they call it the transition period that some people experience but my hair get so much less greasy and can go longer periods of time between washes now I have got rid of the chemicals. I use a Lamazuma Bar but I also rate the Lush Bars.
7. Refillable Coffee Pods. If you already have an Nespresso Machine I think these are a great alternative to buying the pods. If your in the market for buying a coffee machine however I recommend buying a pod free one. It’s less faff.
8. Get a Milk Man. Nothing nicer than waking up to fresh milk on the door step. It all comes in refillable glass bottles and you can order so much other stuff from them too.
9. Grow your own strawberries. It’s very satisfying.
10. Buy fizzy drinks in glass bottles. It tastes so much nicer.
11. Grow your own herbs. It’s a no brainier. Super easy and you have them whenever you want all year round.
12. Bamboo coffee cup. 2.5 Billion takeaway cups are thrown every year. Make sure you’ve got one of these in your bag.
13. Get a safety razor and a shaving bar and take a step back in time to a simple way of shaving.
14. Find if there is a bulk store near you. Support local businesses and join the refill revolution.
15. Cloth Nappies. I could talk all day about them. If you have a baby in the house you can massively reduce your waste by switching to cloth. Better for baby, cheaper in the long run and they look so damn lovely in them. Check out “Let’s talk about Nappies” for the many reasons I think reusable nappies are amazing.
16. Washing up. Use a cloths for wiping up, a sponge/loofah/ coconut scrub for scrubbing, put them in the wash and the use them again. Simples. Also if you have a bulk store near you, you can refill your washing up liquid easily, or buy a bar. If neither are for you Ecover use recycled plastic for their washing up liquid so it’s the next best thing.
17. Have a plastic free period and change your life. Sound a tad dramatic? Perhaps I am but I’ve written all about it in my aptly named “Why having a Zero Waste Period is just better.”
18. Make your garden a home for bees and butterflies and make it look beautiful in one simple way. Buy some seed tape. It’s super easy. You can buy seed bombs from Babipur but most supermarkets and garden centres sell them in the spring.
19. Use a traditional bar of soap. It couldn’t get easier. Switch it for hand soap and all the bottles of shower gel.
20. Natural deodorant. I’m big a fan of my Lush bar but there are loads on the market. Earthwise Girls sell some great ones.
21. Reduce your beauty routine. Do you need so much? Maybe yes maybe no. But what I do buy I want to know it’s natural and where it can be plastic free. I recently brought some of Beauty Kitchens range from Holland and Barrett and really liking it. You can take back your empty containers and they are washed and used again. If you don’t however they are all fully recyclable.
22. Give up Fast Fashion. It’s not easy but I’ve decided to completely boycott the high street. We all know the environmental impact of fast fashion and the fact that millions of micro plastics are released into the ocean every time we wash our clothes but look deeper and it’s also a humanitarian problem. Modern slave labour is not something I can support or give my money to. So buy second hand or buy organic, for me it’s the only way to go.
23. Rid the cling film. Bee wax wraps and silicone bowl covers have completely replaced our need for cling film and we love it. I also recon we all have enough Tupperware and old takeaway boxes floating around our kitchens we can just put food in these forever more.
24. Cloth Make Up Pads. Oh these are so lovely on your skin with some coconut oil. So much nicer than make up wipes.
25. Switch to either a chemical free wash or at least washing powder so it comes in a cardboard box. I’m keen to try the Eco Egg on our clothes and stop the chemicals but I’m afraid for now when it comes to nappies I need a strong detergent. Powder works the best for this though.
26. Buy second hand toys for you kids. Don’t let the Woody’s and Buzz’s of the world end up in the landfill. Give them a loving home.
27. Cloth Wipes. They just work soooo much better. Someone passed me a disposable wipe the other day when my daughter was covered in some food or other she had stolen for them and it honestly looked so alien to me now. It barely wiped my hands let alone my daughter face. For this reason I could never go back. And also who’s idea was it to used cotton wool on a newborn? My Newborn essentials may help you with this.
28. Being prepared. This is the best way to avoid waste. Make a packed lunch, bring waters bottles and coffee cups. The less you get caught out, the less your likely to spend unnecessary money and create unnecessary waste.
29. Switch to a conditioner bar. I have to admit this took me some time and a little dedication, considering the sheer amount of conditioner I used before but the more I used natural shampoo the less conditioning my hair seemed to need and now I love it.
30. Buy loose fruit and veg. The supermarkets are bad for this as they make it cheaper to buy more in packaging than less loose. Buy spending a few pennies more and show them we mean business by buying loose. This will also create less food waste. I don’t know about anyone else but I never used all 3 peppers that came in the pack.
31. And last but not least, inspired by a big birthday we have coming up when the littlest one in our house will turn one (I’m incredibly emotional about it) rethink the way you wrap your presents. Save wrapping paper from other gifts if you can. You know the way your Nanny used too. Save brown paper from packages, use pieces of cloth and brown string. You’ll be amazed how pretty you can make things look with a little bit of string.
So that’s it. My take on plastic free July. Instead of rolling my eyes I hope I have done a little something to inspire and make you think about the everyday things we use that could be changed for the better.