Plastic Free July is a campaign that was started in 2011 to get people thinking about plastic pollution – quite similar to the Zero-Waste Movement, but it’s only a one-month long commitment. The goal is to raise awareness about the amount of single-use disposable plastic items on our planet and it challenges people to do something about it.
We know commitment can be scary, so we’ve prepared a guide to help YOU prepare for Plastic Free July and start your journey to zero waste!
Choose your commitment
One of the best things about Plastic Free July is that you can pick a challenge that works for you. There are options to do one day, one week or the whole month of July. You can also opt to remove ALL single-use plastic items from your life or just the big four: straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags and coffee cup lids. So it’s perfect for you whether it’ll be your first time… or your 10th time!
Where to start? Sign up! You can find the form over at www.plasticfreejuly.org/. (If you haven’t done so, head over there and do it now. I’ll be here waiting. Done? Great!)
Make a plan
Congrats! You’ve signed up! Now it’s time to get prepared so you don’t reach the 1st of July and realise you can’t brush your teeth, go grocery shopping or grab your coffee to-go!
Go through each part of your house and make a list of things to give up and things that need to be replaced. To help kick start things, we’ve put together some eco-friendly Starter Packs! We’ve got your plastic free essentials for the bathroom, markets, being on-the-go and more. Take a look at our new Starter Packs here!
Start the transition
To make your whole experience less of a shock, it’s a good idea to start early. If your toothpaste runs out on the 22nd June, don’t repurchase the same toothpaste with the plastic cap, find a plastic free alternative instead and start using it. This way, you’ll feel less flustered and will be less likely to slip up come the 1st of July!
You can also test run being plastic free for a day so you’re prepared for the month ahead.
Be gentle with yourself
In the same way we don’t learn to play how to play the piano overnight or grow rock hard abdominals overnight, we do not go plastic free overnight! Finding solutions take time. Creating new habits take time.
Allow yourself some time to look, learn and make mistakes. When you go to the supermarket, allow extra time to walk up and down the aisle and notice new things you never noticed before. Take the time to go to the farmer’s market or your local health food shop and see what they have to offer.
When you’re leaving home in the morning, take a few extra minutes to check you’ve planned for your day… Will you need your reusable coffee cup? Water bottle? Shopping bags?
If you forget or accidentally use plastic, don’t beat yourself up. Change is a process.
We know a month seems like a long commitment but participating in Plastic Free July is a great way to test the waters and see if it’s something you’d like to pursue for the long run. Plus… it takes 28 days to form a new habit. By the end of the month, you’ll be so used to bringing your own reusable cup to your local coffee shop and carrying around shopping bags, you won’t even remember disposables exist!