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?
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
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
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:
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.
And finally, my guide to microplastic-free sunscreen, should the sun shine this July!
Plastic-Free July Cleaning Ideas
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!