Plastic free July – 20 things you can do NOW to avoid plastic

We are in the middle of plastic free July and by now you certainly already got some ideas about what you can do in your daily life to cut out plastics. We, however, have put together our favourite tips, easiest swaps and smartest changes that you can start with right now, to complement your ideas going forward.

So, thank you for making the decision to make the world a little healthier in this plastic free month and beyond. Get ready for some changes, get out of your comfort zone and have fun!

For all things that you should replace or leave out, we recommend the following: Finish them first before you throw them away. Please don’t waste anything unused. With plastic straws, for example, this means that if you still have some at home, finish using them first, for them to serve a purpose. But don’t buy any new ones afterwards.

Are you ready? Here we go!

1. GET RID OF THE PLASTIC STRAWS

A plastic straw is the most unnecessary single-use item, in our opinion. We know that refusing a plastic straw doesn´t save the whole world. But starting with it is easy and leads to questioning more and more plastic items. If you are out in a restaurant or bar, simply tell the waiter or waitress that you don´t need a straw. If the waiter expresses incomprehension, inform him in a friendly manner about your plan.

If you don’t want to do without the stylish addition, we have three great variants for you in the shop: bamboo, stainless steel or silicone straws. Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments.

2. Examine your trash

Simply collect your waste for a week (ideally wash it) and go through it after a week to check what you have actually thrown away. By consciously dealing with your garbage, you become aware of your (unnecessary) consumption. Pay close attention when throwing it away: How many plastics are you throwing away? How many single-use items are in your trash?

The point here is not to change something in your behaviour directly, but to create awareness for your consumption and your behaviour. Get a clear picture of the amount of trash in your household.

3. Bring your own water bottle

A great opportunity to do without plastic and always have something to drink with you is to have your own water bottle with you on the go. As soon as the bottle is empty, you simply refill it with water or the drink of your choice. We have some great bottles for you made of stainless steel or glass with natural water filters. 

4. Say “No” to freebies

Put a sign “Please do not leave any advertising mail” on your mailbox today. If someone wants to hand you pamphlets or flyers, kindly decline.

5. Prepare your meal

It’s lunch break and you run to the nearest supermarket just to get something to eat. Far too often, we use the packaged items, which are not necessarily always the healthiest options either.

Prepare a healthy sandwich for the next lunch break today. Store them in a stasher sandwich bag or wrap it in a waxwrap.  You will see how much you look forward to your lunch break.  

6. Banish the plastic bags when shopping

From today swap the plastic bag for the stylish tote bag. Have all your reusable bags, including fresh produce mesh bags or cotton bags close to your door or in the car to have them ready to go when it´s time for grocery shopping.

7. Change your toothbrush

Exchange your toothbrush for the sustainable bamboo toothbrush today. If you want to go a step further, order our toothpaste bits with it or make your dental care completely plastic free with our plant-based floss and all-natural mouth wash.

8. Switch to solid soap

Solid soap bars are not only better for your skin, but also for our Mother Earth. Swap all your liquid soaps for solid versions, even shampoo bottles can be swapped for a shampoo bar. But only when you have finished all your liquid soaps 😉

9. Pick up trash while jogging

Plogging is a combination of jogging with picking up litter and a whole trend in Europe. Why not bring it to South Africa? Take your jute bag with you, lace up your jogging shoes and start the day with an easy run, during which you clear your surroundings of ugly rubbish. This is not about speed, but about helping your environment and at the same time doing something good for your body.

10. Use sustainable cleaning products

There are many reasons to rethink the cleaning regime in your household additionally to the plastic packaging that conventional products are coming in. Many ingredients in conventional products are carcinogens, neurotoxins, mutagens, teratogens, or endocrine disrupters, and therefore hazardous chemicals. It is worth it to swap them for natural cleaning products. You will also save money by buying eco-friendly all-purpose cleaners that do multiple jobs. It’s much more stress-free to have just a few products that take care of your general cleaning needs, than a whole collection of toxic products for every single surface. There are a variety of natural products that serve multiple purposes like oxygen bleach, citric acid (read more about it here) or our Mare & Itis Kitchen Cleaner. They can be purchased packaging free (your chosen amount filled up in a paper bag) or in a reusable glass bottle.

11. Say no to disposable cups

Tons of take away cups are thrown away every day after just one use. There are great, stylish and green alternatives for many of these single-use items. From today, do without take away cups by bringing your own cup or mug and ask whether you can also have the drink you ordered filled into your own cup. In our shop you can find lots of bamboo takeaway cups with different patterns. 

12. Bring your own container for bread and meat

When it comes to meat and bread, it is relatively easy to bring your own container, according to our experiences. When you buy bread, buy it from an artisan bakery or freshly baked from the supermarket. Bring your used paper bags so that you do not need to take new ones or make sure to have a cotton bread bag with you. When visiting your local butcher, bring your own food containers and ask kindly to put meat, minced and sausages in them. This keeps food fresh and helps us avoid any unnecessary plastic and polystyrene packaging.  It may happen, that the staff doesn´t understand the first time. Just kindly explain your reasons and they will understand and get used to your containers after a few times.

13. Bye, bye tampons and hello menstrual cup

Have you tried the menstrual cup before? You read up about how to use a cup here. Using the menstrual cup correctly takes some practice – but it’s worth it! We explain further questions as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the menstrual cup here.

14. Dry your laundry in the sun

Instead of throwing your laundry in the dryer, hang your laundry outside. A very simple alternative to save energy! Try out these amazing stainless-steel pegs that are not only stylish but also last forever and are completely plastic free.  

15. Invite your friends and serve homemade snacks

Sweets and crisps out of the bag sweeten our evening far too often and are somehow a bit impersonal. Organize a great evening with friends (adhering by the current lockdown level regulations 😉 ), where you can prepare your own snacks, or a movie night where you prepare your own culinary delights yourself. It also tastes much better than the elastic in the bag!

16. Go shopping consciously

The next time you go shopping, stop just before paying and scan everything in your shopping cart: which of the things in your shopping cart do you really need? are there unpackaged alternatives for some of the groceries? Swap out if necessary or put the things you don’t really need back on the shelf.

17. Go to a farmers market

Support the people and shops in your city and go regional and seasonal shopping at the weekly market. Try to make your purchase as plastic-free as possible.

18. Get involved in your city's environmental projects

Perhaps you have already attended an event in your city on World Clean Up Day and cleaned up your park or closest beach together with great people. Maybe an important appointment stopped you – now is your chance to give it back twice. Find a project that is committed to the environment in your city and register your support.

19. Compost instead of throwing away/reuse food to replace plastic products

The banana peel, for example, contains so many great nutrients in the peel that it would be a shame to simply throw it away in the organic waste. Throw your organic waste on the compost. If you don’t have one, you can start with the Bokashi system. Find out more about it here.  

20. Find out about the environment and donate a small amount to an organization of your choice

Sit down, get comfy, do research, learn about different organizations, and choose your favourite one. You are much more likely to stand behind the organization and its goals when they align with yours.

Should you find yourself in financial difficulties or bottlenecks, then use other possibilities to support projects or organizations. It doesn’t always have to be money that opens doors 🙂

Be sure to write us your experiences and thoughts on you plastic free July in the comments below! We are looking forward to your experiences and stories.

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