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Plastic-Free July Ideas To Try This Summer

plastic-free July ideas

Need some Plastic-Free July ideas? Here are over 20 ideas to help you cut plastic in your own home, and also encourage wider change to make plastic-free living more accessible to more people.

Plastic-Free July is right around the corner, and if you are taking part then it’s great to have you on board. Worryingly, despite global campaigns on plastic usage, the amount of plastic that has ended up in our seas has grown and is to set to grow.

Global leaders from 175 countries got together in March 2022 to agree to a legally binding global treaty to end the plastic pollution crisis by tackling the material’s entire supply chain. However, work has only now begun on how to implement the treaty by 2024. We need action now to help decrease plastic in our seas, and efforts like Plastic-Free July are much needed.

What Is Plastic-Free July Exactly?

Zero-waste beauty products with blue text box that reads over 20 ideas to reduce plastic this plastic-free July.

Plastic-Free July is a month-long campaign, led by the Plastic Free Foundation, an independent not-for-profit charity. The charity’s vision is that of a world free of plastic waste. As such, the Plastic-Free July campaign encourages people to try to reduce their reliance on plastic where they can.

The challenge started in Australia back over 10 years ago. Since its inception in 2011, the challenge has inspired over 100 million people in 190 countries to take part and cut their single-use plastic usage.

The onus isn’t just on personal plastic usage. The Plastic-Free July campaign provides a great opportunity to ask businesses, such as supermarkets, what they are doing to reduce pointless single-use plastic packaging to encourage year-round change.

Plastic-Free July Ideas

I have amassed a few useful plastic-free July ideas over the years that may be helpful to you.

As Anne-Marie Bonneau says: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly”. This means the goal isn’t for you to do all of these things. Rather it’s to pick which is accessible to you and to try out a few ideas to reduce plastic in your life where you can.

Plastic-Free July isn’t all or nothing, so don’t feel like because you have to buy items with plastic in them that you’ve failed. The world isn’t set up for plastic-free living to be the norm, and not everyone has the same ability, access or capacity. In short – do what you can and don’t stress what you can’t do.

The Plastic-Free Kitchen

plastic-free food shopping

Going plastic-free in the kitchen is possibly one of the trickiest areas and certainly not one that I have fully figured out yet. This is partly due to a combination of the lack of zero-waste shops in my local area and other factors such as cost and time. However, there are some things I have figured out!

Food storage is a great area to get started. Don’t bin any functional Tupperware thought. Instead, when it breaks try my tried and tested eco-friendly alternatives to cling film that I’ve been using for decades. You can also make your own beeswax food wraps quickly and easily.

When it comes to doing dishes, I still haven’t found out how to make my own washing-up liquid or dishwasher tablets that work effectively. The ingredients required just aren’t commercially available. However, I have found the best eco-friendly and plastic-free dishwasher detergent – including the detergents to be wary of. Some dishwasher detergents – even those that position themselves as eco-friendly – contain microplastic.

Speaking of microplastic, your teabags might contain plastic. Here are the plastic-free teabag brands to give that hidden plastic the heave-ho this July.

If you’d rather make your own tea, then here’s how to dry mint leaves for tea. And here’s how to make your own lemon balm tea. It’s one idea for Plastic-Free July if you have a little spare time. I find it quite relaxing and really fulfilling to make my own tea.

Whilst on the tea theme – I found the world’s best reusable cup for coffee or tea on the go. I’m still using it years later.

When it comes to food, as I mentioned, I’m still figuring this out. However, I have figured out plastic-free snacks. What can I say, I have two kids! You also can still have your crisps and eat them with this seriously tasty zero-waste crisps recipe.

You can also skip the bagged salad – here’s how to grow snow pea shoots indoors for the princely sum of 13p. Here’s also how to regrow vegetables from scraps. This is a fun activity for kids to take part in.

Plastic-Free Health & Beauty

flat lay of eco-friendly makeup

Greening your bathroom is a long-term process. It’s certainly not something you can overhaul in a month if you are sustainably replacing used-up products with plastic-free ones. However, here are some tips to help get you started during plastic-free July:

Moral Fibres readers recommend their best solid shampoo bars. Here are some refillable shampoo options if shampoo bars are not for you.

Staying on the washing theme, here’s a guide to plastic-free bubble bath.

When it comes to makeup, here’s my guide to plastic-free make-up. And when it comes to make-up removal, here’s how to make reusable cotton wool pads. With this, you can say bye-bye to disposable wipes or single-use cotton wool pads! You can also try my guide to plastic-free make-up remover tips.

My big guide to eco-friendly toilet roll – I’ve even made a comparison table so you can see the pros and cons and costs involved.

How to have an eco-friendly period.

And finally, my guide to microplastic-free sunscreen, should the sun shine this July!

Plastic-Free July Cleaning Ideas

Plastic-free cleaning products on a white background.

I have so much content on cleaning. What, can I say, it’s a speciality of mine. I’ve managed to condense it all into this guide on natural cleaning products to DIY.

General Plastic-Free Living

Finally, for general plastic-free living here are some useful pointers:

If you are pregnant or have small children, and considering cloth nappies, then try my guide on how to use reusable nappies. I promise they’re not as scary, difficult, or yucky as you might think!

Plastic pops up everywhere. Here are some surprising items that contain plastic. Chewing gum anyone?

And finally, here are my top tips on how to stop junk mail – that barrage of unwanted plastic that comes through our doors every day.

Other Ways To Take Action On Plastic

Of course, individual action is only one way to enact change. To bring about change faster, we have to lobby manufacturers and policymakers.

Several charities are making it easy to take collective action against manufacturers and policymakers. Surfers Against Sewage, for example, are lobbying for a deposit return scheme to be introduced in England before 2024, to help curb plastic waste from plastic bottles.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace is calling on the UK government to fix our plastic crisis in a way that doesn’t harm people – or the planet. In particular, this is in response to plastic from UK households being dumped in other countries as we aren’t able to cope with the extent of our plastic waste in the UK. You can add your voice to this campaign here.

However, I can’t stress how important it is to be mindful of campaigns around plastic. Calls to outright ban certain plastic products are not helpful and can be discriminatory. Disabled people often rely on plastic items, such as straws, plastic-wrapped baby wipes, or prepared vegetables in plastic bags. It’s therefore important to foster inclusiveness in our messaging.

Are you taking part in plastic-free July?  If so, do share with Moral Fibres readers your top plastic-free tips, what hurdles you’ve encountered, or any other useful advice!

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

The Best Eco-Friendly Lip Balm To Nourish Dry Lips

Looking for the best natural and eco-friendly lip balm to nourish your dry lips sustainably? Read on for my top recommendations – from vegan-friendly brands to plastic-free and zero-waste lip balm brands.

To help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running.

I’m sure we all know someone that has five lip balms on the go at all times – with one in every bag or coat pocket. Personally? I just tend to turn to lip balm in winter when the combination of cold weather and central heating dries out my lips.

Whatever your lib balm preferences, in the UK alone, we collectively spend around £60,000 a year on lip balms and salves alone. The problem is that plastic lip balm tubes are quite complicated to recycle. Unless they are recycled in specialist TerraCycle facilities, then the vast majority of these plastic tubes will end up in landfill.

What’s the Problem With Petroleum Jelly?

Waste aside, many lip balms have quite a problematic ingredient. That being petroleum jelly.

What is the problem with petroleum jelly, exactly? Well, petroleum jelly is, as the name suggests, a product of the oil industry. It’s a byproduct of petroleum, which is a form of crude oil.  This means petroleum jelly isn’t sustainable or renewable and its use encourages further extraction of fossil fuels that contribute to our climate crisis.

It certainly sounds horrific to use petroleum jelly on our lips – or anywhere else on our body for that matter. However, brands use it, because it’s a really cheap ingredient, compared to other natural ingredients. Petroleum jelly is also a popular choice when it comes to lip products because it repels water. This means it’s not easily washed off your lips, so it cheaply and easily creates a long-lasting barrier to the elements.

The Best Eco-Friendly Lip Balm Brands To Sustainably Nourish Dry Lips

Flat lay of lip balms on a wooden mat, surrounded by leaves, with a blue text box that reads guide to the best eco-friendly lip balm to nourish dry lips.

Thankfully there are lots of eco-friendly brands out there that steer clear of petroleum jelly. Instead, they use sustainable and natural ingredients that are just as effective, if not more effective, than their fossil fuel-based equivalents. Don’t know where to start? Here are my top eco-friendly lip balm recommendations, so you can pucker up sustainably!

facetheory Vegan Lip Balm

Person holding Face Theory lip balm in glass jar

facetheory has been a new sustainable skincare discovery for me this year, but let me tell you, I’m hooked! Their vegan lip balm* is free from beeswax, and petroleum for an eco-friendly moisture boost for your lips. With a light coconut taste, it tastes as sweet as it moisturises!

Packed full of raspberry seed extract – made from raspberry seed oil and the succinate of vitamin E – this stimulates the skin renewal process, hydrates cracked or chapped lips and helps to protect against moisture loss.

This luscious balm also contains shea butter extract, which soothes and emolliates dry areas.

As well as being vegan and cruelty-free, this made in the UK eco-friendly lip balm is also free of undesirable nasties. This includes things like parabens, silicones, PEGs, SLS, SLES, and mineral oils. Basically, all the things you don’t want on your lips.

What’s more, it comes in full plastic-free packaging. The glass jar is topped with a fully recyclable metal lid.

Buy direct from facetheory* for £10.99 for 15 ml.


Ethique

Ethique

If you are looking for truly plastic-free and zero-waste lip balm, then Ethique* is definitely one brand to look into. Packaged in a home compostable cardboard tube, when it’s done, simply pop the tube and box into your compost bin. Alternatively, you can bury it in your garden, where it will break down in the soil.

Just because the tube is made of cardboard, doesn’t make it fragile. The tube is surprisingly robust and can handle being tossed around in your bag or pocket.

As well as caring for the planet, Ethique’s eco-friendly lip balms do good for people. Their palm oil-free balms are made with fairly traded sustainable ingredients from Rwanda, Ghana and Samoa. Ethique says this helps to support predominantly women-owned farming cooperatives. Ethique also says that direct trade ensures that local growers receive stable prices and, reliable income.

But do their balms do good for your lips? I tried out the So Cocoa lip balm. It was a nice chunky size – about twice the size of a standard chapstick – and so richly moisturising. It’s packed full of organic, fair-trade cocoa butter – hence the delicious chocolatey smell. Moringa, jojoba and castor and Vitamin E oils are also added for extra moisture.

If the taste of chocolate isn’t your thing, then try out the other varieties. These include an unscented variety, cooling peppermint, or pink grapefruit and vanilla.

A tinted eco-friendly lip balm is also available. I personally haven’t tried it. However, from what I have read it’s not as moisturising as the other eco-varieties. If your lips are particularly dry, then you might want to give the tinted one a miss.

Buy from Feel Unique* for £5.40 for 9 g.


We Love The Planet

We Love The Planet eco-friendly lip balm in a cardboard tube.

We Love the Planet’s range of eco-friendly lip balms* again comes in a compostable cardboard tube. Pop these in your compost bin or soil when you are done, and it will break down, leaving no trace behind.

We Love the Planet’s range of vegetarian-friendly (but not vegan-friendly) balms are made using the highest quality, natural and organic oils and butters. This includes beeswax, coconut oil and vitamins E and C to help nourish, hydrate, soften and protect your lips.

Whilst the balms are free from synthetic substances, such as SLS, this lip balm does contain palm oil. We Love The Planet says that this is sustainably sourced. However, there are doubts if palm oil can ever be sustainably sourced. On the other side of the coin, palm oil alternatives could be worse for the environment. It’s certainly an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum.

Palm oil aside, this soft stick has an easily spreadable consistency. This means it glides onto your lips with ease, without any drag, for easy moisturisation.

Buy from Ethical Superstore* or Big Green Smile* for £13.50 for 12 g.


Fair Squared Fair Trade Lip Balm

jar of fair squared fair trade shea lip balm

Fair Squared’s Shea lip balm* is handmade with Fairtrade ingredients. However, that’s not the only reason that you’ll fall in love with this eco-friendly lip balm. It’s got a whole heap of other positive attributes.

As well as being suitable for both vegans and vegetarians, the balm is free from animal testing. It’s also free from petroleum, palm oil, perfume, parabens, phthalates, triclosan and SLS. In short, Fair Squared have left out all of the bad stuff, and just kept the good stuff in!

The richly moisturising shea butter protects and nourishes dry, chapped lips, whilst being kind to the most sensitive of skin. Simply swipe on to leave your lips soft and supple with a subtle sheen.

This eco-friendly lip balm is also plastic-free. It comes in a recyclable glass jar, with a recyclable metal lid. Alternatively, reuse the jar for making your own balms.

What’s more, Fair Squared have been part of the Fair Trade movement for many years. The brand believes that all people involved in the supply chain – be it the farmers, producers, suppliers or manufacturers – should benefit from their Fair Trade philosophies.  Fair Squared also distributes free condoms to assist in preventative work in the fight against AIDS.

Buy from Ethical Superstore* for £8.50 for 20 g.


MOA The Green Fairy Hand & Lip Balm

Moa the green fairy hand and lip balm

MOA’s The Green Fairy dual-purpose hand and lip balm* is a non-greasy vegan and cruelty-free formula. As well as softening dry cuticles, and hands, its richly moisturising formula works wonders on your lips.

Described as a little tin of salvation, it’s the perfect size to carry in your bag or pocket to apply sparingly to thirsty hands and lips in need of a little extra care and protection.

Packed full of castor oil, shea and cocoa butter, this helps to soothe and condition your skin. Candelilla wax provides a nourishing, protective coating. Meanwhile, the blend of essential oils including, brightening grapefruit and lemon peel and aromatic peppermint, fennel and aniseed ensure this eco-friendly lip balm smells and tastes delicious.

This Soil Association certified organic balm is made in the UK without the use of petrochemicals, such as mineral oil. It’s also free from drying alcohol, palm oil, parabens, SLS, phthalates, fillers or artificial fragrance.

The packaging is completely free from plastic. Once done, simply wash out the tin and place it in your metal recycling. Alternatively, find a way to reuse the pretty fairy-embossed tin.

Buy from Ethical Superstore* or Big Green Smile* for £13.50 for 12 g.


The Beauty Kitchen Natruline

Natruline vegan and petroleum free lip balm from Beauty Kitchen

The Beauty Kitchen’s eco-friendly Natruline lip balm* offers a petroleum-free alternative to Vaseline. Containing only natural ingredients, this vegan-friendly palm-oil free blend is scientifically proven to moisturise and protect lips for up to 8 hours.

The three simple yet effective natural and cruelty-free ingredients – castor seed oil, castor oil and carnauba wax – creates a natural moisture barrier. The Beauty Kitchen says this allows the skin to breathe much better than petroleum jelly, whilst keeping your lips soft, beautiful and healthy, whatever the weather.

Because of the super simple ingredients, this fragrance-free salve is suitable for even the driest and most sensitive of lips.

Buy direct from The Beauty Kitchen*, from Ethical Superstore* or Big Green Smile* for £2.99 for 20 g.


Here’s to super-soft sustainable lips!

Check out my guide to plastic-free makeup for more skincare recommendations.