Tomorrow is the start of July which means it's Plastic-Free July! Plastic-Free July is a global challenge where you refuse single-use plastics for the whole month of July. Last year over 250 million people participated! That's an incredible amount of single-use plastics avoided!
Now, I know going a whole month without single-use plastics might seem daunting but here are some tips to kick off your challenge on the right foot.
1. Do a quick trash audit
Take a look at your trash can. What are the repeat offenders? Is it chip bags (so gloriously crunchy) or maybe granola bars? Whatever you see most in your trash, set up a plan to avoid those during July. Maybe you can try making vegetable chips or granola bars instead of buying individually packaged single-use plastic versions. Which brings me to the next tip...
2. Learn to Make/Bake
One of the best ways to avoid food packaging is to make your own food. When I started getting into plastic-free living, I made my own tortillas.
They're really easy to make and they taste amazing hot off the pan. Besides saving in plastic packaging, by making my own tortillas I knew the ingredients and could control what went into the food I was eating. The other added benefit is that the food you're making won't be full of preservatives because it doesn't have to last on a shelf!
So, back to the chips and granola bars wrappers. Can you try making chips or granola bars? Who knows, you might love them even more than the store-bought version!
3. Skip the Snacks
Alright, so maybe the kitchen isn't your strong suit and a mandolin seems like a death trap. Maybe skip the snacks all together? I know. We're stuck at home and the snacks in your pantry are calling your name. But let's face it, most pantry snacks are loaded with sugar, saturated fats, and a long list of ingredients that aren't the best for your waist-line. Not to mention, they're usually individually wrapped. By skipping the snacks for the month of July, you'll be doing your health and the Ocean a favor!
4. Be Proactive with Takeout
With COVID-19, unless you cooked it, it's hard to avoid single-use plastics while eating. Even with restaurants re-opening, some are switching to disposable plates and utensils for in-person dining. But the best you can do is be proactive. If ordering online or over the phone, ask for no bag, utensils, condiment packets, or whatever extras.
You could also try ordering foods that are generally packaged in paper or cardboard, like sandwiches, or pizza.
5. Use a Reusable Face Mask
Finally, please don't buy a box of disposable face masks. They are generally made of plastic and have been washing up on beaches all over the world. Instead, use a reusable mask, preferably made of cotton or another natural fiber that won't shed plastic microfibers when washed.
Or even better, you can sew or fold one from a bandana. Here's a quick video that will show you how: