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Plastic-Free July for Beginners

July 02, 2020 3 min read

Plastic-Free July for Beginners


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.

Guiding Principles

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!


Plastic-Free July for Beginners

1. Refuse what you don’t need.

Start small like saying no to plastic straws, utensils, or plastic bags.


Plastic-Free July for Beginners

2. Reduce what you do use.

See what plastic you can eliminate/replace from your day to day habits, like shower products, new clothes, and plastic packaging.


Plastic-Free July for Beginners

3. Reuse whatever you can. 

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!


Plastic-Free July for Beginners

4. Recycle what you can’t refuse or reduce.

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!


Plastic-Free July for Beginners

5. Rot what’s left over. 

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!

Tips & Tricks

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:


Plastic-Free July for Beginners

Take note of what you bring into your home and use daily. 

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.


Plastic Free July for Beginners

Find an accountability buddy. 

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!


Plastic-Free July for Beginners

Adjust to COVID restrictions.

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.


Plastic Free July

Rethink some of your favorite products. 

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!


Plastic-Free July for Beginners

Be patient with yourself and others. 

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!