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Welcome to Plastic-Free July, Earthlings!
What is Plastic Free July you might ask? Starting in 2011 the Plastic Free Foundation launched this month-long challenge to raise awareness for our global plastic waste problem and to encourage people to get more involved in this movement. While it began in Western Australia, led by PFF founder Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and a small team of local officials, this challenge has grown to an international level over the past 9 years. In 2019 about 250 million people joined the challenge, and for 90% of those people it led to a sustainable change for months to come. The challenge is to consciously avoid single-use plastics during this month (and beyond).
Here at The Earthling Co., we especially love Plastic Free July as it’s mission aligns perfectly with our company’s overall goal, to globally reduce our plastic consumption and impact on this Earth. To begin this exciting month, we have put together a list of guiding principles and tips for those looking to join in on the challenge of eliminating plastic from their daily lives.
Known as the 5 R’s, the principles of zero waste are helpful to keep in mind throughout this month. These principles can save you time and money along the way!
Start small like saying no to plastic straws, utensils, or plastic bags.
See what plastic you can eliminate/replace from your day to day habits, like shower products, new clothes, and plastic packaging.
You can use take-out containers for storage and organizing. Plastic bags can be reused for dog waste and litter box liners. Don't be afraid to get creative!
If you have any rigid plastics, like containers or jugs from your kitchen, these can be recycled. Soft plastics, like plastic bags or plastic wrap, often can’t be curbside-recycled but many grocery stores offer recycling options. If your local grocery store does not, Terracycle has a great recycling program that helps you recycle just about anything!
Besides food scraps, did you know plant trimmings, newspaper, and printer paper can all be composted as well? Composts can range in size and are often odorless, so they make great additions for most living situations. Try starting a compost today!
While the principles are great to keep in mind on a daily basis, we understand that it can still feel overwhelming in the beginning. Here are some useful tips for getting started:
Take some time in the beginning of your journey, to understand your personal habits. It can be helpful to keep a notes page on your phone or keep a journal noting what plastics you could easily do without.
Ask one of your friends or loved ones to take the Plastic-Free July challenge with you and hold each other accountable. Everything is easier with a support system!
With COVID measures in place, it can be more challenging than usual to shop plastic free. You can combat this by: asking for no bags at checkout, only shopping when you need essentials, or shopping at local farmers markets.
While replacing your favorite products with zero-waste alternatives may seem risky at first; you are doing yourself and the planet a favor in the long run. Don’t know where to find alternatives to your favorite everyday products? Start here!
Using less plastic looks different for everyone, just like all of our lifestyles. Not everyone can keep their yearly plastic waste in a jar, and those who can, didn’t get there overnight. It takes conscious effort, practice, consistency, and time. While no one is perfect, all that matters is that we all try our best. In the brilliant words of Anne Marie Bonneau, “we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
If you’ve made it this far, you have all the tools you need to get started on a Plastic-Free July and beyond. You’ve got this!