Updated: Jul 10
It’s July and you know what time it is! Time for BBQs, pool sessions, vacations, and going plastic free! Plastic Free July started in Western Australia in 2011 with just a small group of people and today has grown into a worldwide movement.
The goal of Plastic Free July is to start to look at the amount of plastic you use in your day to day life and start making simple swaps. Once you start to pay attention you’ll realize that we actually use a lot of plastic, especially single-use plastic, without even realizing it. In the US alone, 40 million tons of plastic waste are generated every year and it is estimated less than 5% of that gets recycled. Plastic recycling just doesn’t work and we should do our best to limit the amount of plastic we use in our daily lives.
It can be daunting to think about removing all plastic from our lives when our entire consumer economy is so deeply entrenched with plastic products. The key to any change though, is taking it one step at a time. Which is where the challenge comes in! We love participating in Plastic Free July every year by challenging ourselves to look at making one plastic free swap every day for the month of July. By the end of the month, you'll be rocking a set of plastic-free habits that will carry you throughout the year. So, what are you waiting for - let's get started!
BATHROOM & BEAUTY
As skincare lovers, you know we had to put skincare at the top of the list! Glotanicals was started to bridge the gap between sustainability & great skin care. As part of our mission we promise to never use plastic in any of our packaging and instead use glass bottles, aluminum refills, and plantable paper packaging. Because sustainable beauty is too pretty for landfills ;).
2. Sheet Masks
I know I know, we love our sheet masks! I have to admit this was a tough one for me to give up when I started going low waste. The good news? There are some awesome sustainable beauty alternatives! A few favorites are Low Beauty Co’s biodegradable + water soluble sheet masks and Immunicologie’s compostable lava mask.
Most shampoo is packaged in plastic bottles but these days there are some great sustainable alternatives on the market. Shampoo bars & conditioners are a solid option but admittedly we like a bit more of a traditional shampoo experience. A recent favorite is the concentrated formula by Everist packaged in fully recyclable aluminum tubes.
Did you know that there's a plant called loofah? The plastic loofahs are inspired from the plant version which is totally compostable! So, instead of a plastic loofah, opt for a plant-based one.
Nearly all toothpaste is packaged in non-recyclable plastic tubes but it’s kind of a non-negotiable in our wellness routines. Thankfully some companies are re-thinking the way we use toothpaste. I’ve recently made the switch to Bite toothpaste tablets and I have to say I’m loving it! It leaves your teeth feeling just as clean as regular toothpaste and comes in easy to reuse + recycle packaging.
Instead of a plastic toothbrush, switch to a bamboo toothbrush! I’m a fan of certified organic toothbrushes from Brush Mable. Just one plastic toothbrush will take 500 years to decompose. That’s kind of crazy when you think about it and it is such an easy swap to make.
7. Makeup Remover Wipes
Makeup wipes are very convenient when you're on the go but most of them are made from synthetic (aka plastic) fibers. Like sheet masks, when we're looking to go more low waste we should always avoid single use products. Instead for my daily makeup removal I use an oil cleanser and washcloth to remove makeup before I wash my face.
8. Cotton Swabs:
Did you know that most cotton swabs are joined by a plastic stick? Instead, try a forever swab or switch to compostable cotton swabs with a paper or bamboo sticks.
9. Menstrual Products:
A lot of menstrual products are made of plastic. Did you know the average menstrual pad contains 4 plastic bags worth of plastic!?!?
Instead, opt for organic cotton tampons without an applicator or with a paper applicator which can be composted. Or try making the switch to reusables like reusable period panties and menstrual cups.
I love having silky smooth legs but hate the waste. The first step to lowering your shaving needs footprint is to switch from disposable plastic razors to a reusable handle with replaceable heads. Looking to take it a step further? Try a safety razor! It can take a little getting used to and you will need to be careful at the beginning but once you get the hang of it you'll see that you've never had a closer shave. Plus all you need to buy is razor blades to refill, which are extremely cost effective.
Instead of aerosol shaving creams, opt for a shaving bar soap or use your hair conditioner to prep the skin for shaving.
11. Toilet Paper:
Most toilet paper is wrapped in plastic but it really doesn’t have to be! Check out eco friendly alternatives packaged without plastic and made with fast growing sustainable bamboo instead of trees. Who Gives A Crap is a great option and is delivered to your door every month!
Instead of using liquid soap bring it back to basics and opt for a bar of soap. Bars of soap tend to come naked or wrapped in paper which can be composted or recycled. We’ve been loving the bars by our friends at Hygiene Hero lately!
OUT & ABOUT
When you're out, just ask for "No Straw," with your drink order. If you really like your straws try bringing your own reusable option made of stainless steel, bamboo, silicone, or glass.
Remember to bring your bags not only to the grocery store but to every store. I like to keep a small foldable bag stashed in all of my purses so I’m never without one.
15. Produce Bags:
Don't forget about produce bags too. A lot of produce doesn't even need a bag, you can just put it naked in your cart. But for those smaller items like mushrooms, bring your own mesh produce bags.
16: Water Bottles:
Phone, Wallet, WATER, Keys. Got it!?
I always leave the house with a full water bottle. If you love the convenience of bottled water buy several reusable bottles and keep them full of filtered water in the fridge so you can just grab and go.
17. Coffee Cups:
Did you know that coffee cups are lined with plastic? Even the ones that say they are ‘compostable’ are usually only compostable in an industrial facility and likely will end up in a landfill. I always want coffee so it’s a sad day when I forget my reusable coffee cup! I’ve been loving Stojo’s collapsible reusable cups because it fits so easily into my purse so I’m never without it.
18. Plastic Cutlery:
Instead of plastic cutlery, opt for reusable cutlery. There are cute packs that are perfect for a takeout meal, but you can always roll your regular silverware in a cloth napkin and take it with you.
19. Takeout Containers:
Instead of grabbing a disposable take out container, why not bring a reusable container with you. If you bring your own cup for coffee, why not bring your own container for take-out?
KITCHEN & HOME
20. Plastic Wrap:
Want to phase out plastic wrap? There are a bunch of simple solutions! Beeswrap is one of my favorite plastic wrap alternatives.
It lasts for a couple of years, and once it wears out you can compost it!
21. Plastic Baggies:
Packing a lunch can be tricky. Instead of using plastic baggies for your sandwich and snacks, why not put them directly into a reusable storage container or opt for reusable silicone bags - Stasher bags are my favorite and you can find them at major retailers like Target & Walmart.
Did you know that most sponges are made of polyester and nylon, AKA plastic! Try opting for bamboo sponges or dish brushes made with wood and natural fibers.
23. Plastic Spoons and Spatulas:
Instead of plastic cooking ware opt for wooden or stainless. These items last a lot longer than their plastic counterparts and you don't have to worry about them melting under high heat.
They make reusable k-cups or you can also brew coffee in a non-trashy way like pour-over, drip, and lots of espresso machines are zero waste too.
Try making your own non-dairy milk! Nuts are pretty easy to find in bulk bins so you can whip up a quick batch of plastic-free, non-dairy milk. My favorite non-dairy milk alternative though is oat milk! It’s super cost effective and easy to make. Check out this video to see how.
26. Bulk Shop For Pantry Staples
When you go to the grocery store it is REALLY hard to avoid plastics. One of the best ways to avoid this is to visit a local refill shop for pantry basics like rice, oats, dried beans, spices, etc. You’ll save some money and even upgrade your kitchen style if you invest in some cute glass refillable containers!
27. Tea Bags:
Did you know that most tea bags are plastic? Instead, opt for a cup of loose leaf tea made with a reusable tea strainer. My favorite sustainable tea brand is Arbor Teas they ship loose leaf tea in backyard compostable packaging. Drink up!
Swap your plastic tupperware for reusable containers. Plastic tupperware doesn’t last very long and if you use it in the microwave it will leach toxic chemicals into your food. There are lots of great alternatives out there made from glass, stainless steel, and even bamboo.
Instead of plastic ball point pens opt for a fountain pen. You can buy ink in a glass bottle so you can refill your pens. Once you're through the ink you can recycle the glass bottle! They’re sustainable and oh so chic on your desk.
30. Cleaning Products:
31. Synthetic Clothing:
Did you know that a lot of our clothes are made from polyester - which is plastic!? Synthetic clothes like polyester, fleece, spandex, acrylic, etc shed micro-plastic particles in the wash which make their way out to the ocean.
Grab a guppy friend washing bag to prevent micro-plastic pieces from making their way out to the ocean and opt for natural fibers like cotton, wool, silk, hemp, bamboo, tencel, and viscose when shopping.