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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!

Day Trips, Travel

12 Zero-Waste Shops In Glasgow To Know In 2022

Ditch plastic with this handy guide to 12 zero-waste and refill shops in Glasgow.

There’s a huge amount of rivalry between Scotland’s east and west coasts. As someone from the west coast who now lives on the east coast, I feel like I’m allowed to sit on the fence. I’d say that both Glasgow and Edinburgh are equally amazing in different ways. I love spending time in both cities. Ask me to choose a favourite, and honestly, it’s like asking me to choose a favourite child. It’s just not going to happen!

I’ve recently put together a guide to zero-waste shops in Edinburgh. So as to not show favouritism to the east coast, let’s turn our attention to the west coast, and shine a spotlight on Glasgow’s wide selection of refill and zero-waste shops.

The Zero-Waste Shops In Glasgow To Know

Flat lay of packaging free groceries with blue text box that reads the best zero-waste shops in Glasgow to know.

Zero-waste shops across the country are having a hard time. Glasgow has recently lost at least two zero waste shops – both Society Zero on Queen Margaret Drive and Ecomart in Patrick, so it’s never been more important to support local zero-waste shops where we can.

Here are my top zero-waste shops in Glasgow to know so you can find your local shop – whether you are a Glasgow local or visiting the city and need to stock up on supplies during your stay.

Locavore Glasgow

As a social enterprise, Locavore exists to help build a more sustainable local food system which is better for the local economy, the environment and the community. As well as recently opening up a zero-waste shop in Edinburgh in 2022, Locavore is well established in Glasgow, with three stores in Govanhill, Garnethill and Partick.

Selling a range of zero-waste refill goods, such as loose organic grains, pulses, flours, herbs and spices, just don’t forget to bring your jars and bags! The stores also sell loose fresh local and organic fruit and vegetables. What’s more, they also offer organic and local cheese, dairy and vegan-friendly dairy alternatives.

The Govanhill store also has a café, where you can eat delicious food at the only fully organic place to eat out within Glasgow. The café makes seasonal organic dishes following what is available from its market garden, as well as using up excess produce from the shop to prevent waste.

Find Locavore in Govanhill at 349 Victoria Rd, Glasgow G42 7SA.

The Garnethill store is at 134 Renfrew Street, Glasgow, G3 6ST.

Find the Partick store at 449 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, G11 6EJ.

Zero Waste Market Glasgow

Zero Waste Market's selection of refill spices in its Glasgow shop.

Zero Waste Market in Dennistoun is a great addition to Glasgow’s refill shop scene. Offering Glasgow residents everything they need to lead a low waste and sustainable lifestyle – from homewares to groceries – Zero Waste Market is a must-visit if you are in the Dennistoun area.

Bring along your containers to fill up on fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, pulses, oils, different kinds of vinegar, spices, cleaning products, baking ingredients and more. Vegetable boxes are also available for collection.

For convenience, spend £35 or more on your online grocery shop and those in certain Glasgow postcodes can get their order delivered by bicycle for only £2.99.

Find the Zero Waste Market shop at 17 Hillfoot Street, Glasgow G31 2LD.

The Good Choice

Mount Florida based The Good Choice sell organic, local, ethical and plastic-free groceries. This includes pet products, snacks and sweets, personal care, home cleaning, coffee and tea, as well as baking and cooking supplies. Bring your own containers and bags to refill, or click and collect online for convenience.

The Good Choice also offers a vegetable box scheme.

The Good Choice says that tackling waste is vital, but sustainability goes much further. As such, the Good Choice aims to choose products and suppliers that are among other things:

  • Environmentally friendly: including natural and organic products 
  • Sourced as locally as possible, to reduce transport emissions and support local communities.
  • Are socially, environmentally or community-oriented.

What’s more, Zero Waste Market partners with charities and social enterprises to make good use of any food surplus, to ensure its zero-waste shop really is zero-waste.

Find The Good Store’s zero-waste shop at 1031 Cathcart Rd, Mount Florida, Glasgow G42 9XJ.

Dandy’s Wholefoods

For those in the Clarkston area, the jauntily named Dandy’s Wholefoods caters for most of your refill needs.  As well as deli staples, the store also sells refill products. From eco-friendly cleaning products to baking and cooking staples all in refill formats. It also has a milk vending machine selling Mossgiel organic milk.

Find Dandy’s Wholefoods at 44 Busby Road, Clarkston, Glasgow, G76 7XJ.

Roots & Fruits

Person shopping for loose fruit and veg at Roots & Fruits.

Roots & Fruits’ main focus is on high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables. As such, this stunning looking shop is the place to go in the West End to pick up loose fruit and veg, deli staples and fresh bakery goods the plastic-free way.

If you’re not in the West End, the good news is that Roots & Fruits deliver veg boxes all over Glasgow. It has a wide range of deliciously fresh produce that it packs its veg boxes with, for all of your home recipes. 

Roots & Fruits also sell Brose Scottish made oat milk in glass bottles. Stocking both the Original and Barista styles in the Great Western Road shop, Roots & Fruits run a deposit and return scheme. When you bring your bottle back you get a £1 back and Roots & Fruits send the bottle back to them to be cleaned and reused.

Find Roots & Fruits at 455 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G12 8HH.

Find the Finnieston store at 1137 Argyle St, Finnieston, Glasgow G3 8ND.

Fresh ‘N’ Fruity

Whilst not strictly a zero-waste shop, if you are Mount Florida based, then Fresh ‘N’ Fruity is a great place to stock up on loose fresh fruit and vegetables. With a fantastic selection of fresh produce, alongside non-refill whole foods, fairtrade, organic, vegan, and gluten-free products, it’s a great place to stock up on fresh and tinned essentials.

Find Fresh ‘N’ Fruity at 5 Cumming Drive Mount Florida, Glasgow G42 9AE.

Neighbourhood

Inside the Neighbourhood Glasgow zero-waste shop.

For Shawlands locals, Neighbourhood is both a refill and low impact life store. Home to a wide range of zero-waste refill products – from food to cleaning products, you’ll also find a cafe and bakery, books, gifts, homewares and other ethical lifestyle products.

This dog-friendly shop is very welcoming to your four-legged friends. And if you’re lucky, you might even get to see the owner’s beautiful dog too!

Find Neighbourhood at 8 Skirving Street, Shawlands, Glasgow G41 3AA.

Gavin’s Mill

For those of you living in and around Milngavie, then Gavin’s Mill has a whole host of zero waste dry foods, cleaning and personal care products.

Bring along any container that you like; a mason jar, jam jar, margarine tub, cotton bag, whatever. Gavin’s Mill says if it can be weighed, it can be used! If you ever forget to bring a container of your own, you could use one of Gavin’s Mill donated jars or paper bags.

Housed in a former corn mill, Gavin’s Mill also contains a fair trade shop, café and event space for community projects.

Find Gavin’s Mill at Gavin’s Mill Road, Milngavie, Glasgow, G62 6NB. For anyone from out of town then my top tip of the day is that Milngavie is pronounced Mull-guy. It’s just Just so you know to help avoid any red faces if you need to ask anyone for directions, or buy a train or bus ticket!

Other Zero-Waste Shopping Opportunities In Glasgow

Whilst you couldn’t consider Asda as plastic-free or zero-waste shop, it’s worth noting that Asda at Toryglen in Glasgow is Asda’s first refill store in Scotland. Launched in September 2021, the refill section features an extensive range of branded and own-brand products sold in a loose format. This includes pasta, rice, tea, coffee and cereals. Bring your own containers, or if you forget, you can buy a reusable container in the store.

Asda vows that all unpackaged products will be the same price or cheaper than their packaged equivalents.

Find Asda Toryglen at 555 Prospecthill Road, Glasgow G42 0AE.

Your Glasgow Zero-Waste Shops Recommendations?

Do you have any recommendations for zero-waste shops in Glasgow that I’ve missed? Do let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to add them here.