Plastic Free July

Today kicks off the annual Plastic Free July movement, which aims for millions of people to be part of the solution to plastic pollution, enabling us to have cleaner streets and oceans and beautiful communities.

This year is the 10th year for the movement that has now inspired over 250 million participants in 177 countries, according to Plastic Free July's Facebook page.

It’s not about being perfect (there is no failing with Plastic Free July) but rather starting by looking at the plastics in your life (look inside your bin, fridge or pantry) and choosing to refuse one single-use plastic.

I shared this in a blog post from 2018 about Plastic Free July:

Did you know that every piece of plastic that has ever been created still exists in some form on our Earth today? Despite recycling efforts, only 9% of that plastic ends up in new products.

Think about that, and think back on all of the single-use plastic you've used in the past. The toothbrushes you used as a child still exist, even if you threw them away 25 years ago. That Styrofoam takeout container from a restaurant 10 years ago is still around somewhere, whether it's in a landfill or somewhere out in nature. The thousands of straws you've used over the years are all still on this planet. Plastic doesn't biodegrade, it photodegrades, which means it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, either in a landfill or out in the world as litter and pollution.

Here are some ways to be plastic-free this month (and after that!):
  • Use reusable shopping bags
  • Use reusable produce bags
  • Shop at your local farmer's market if it's open, and skip the plastic bags (but don't forget your mask)
  • Use reusable straws, or skip the straw altogether
  • Make coffee at home
  • Use glass food storage containers instead of Ziploc bags and plastic wrap
  • Consider purchasing items in cardboard packaging rather than plastic packaging (like toothbrushes)
  • Buy canned drinks instead of bottled
  • Avoid products with plastic microbeads (like face washes)
  • Ask a restaurant not to include plastic utensils with your to-go order (although plastic and Styrofoam food containers are being used more widely as restaurants do more takeout orders, it is so important to support our businesses. Order your food, but skip the unnecessary extras.)

I'll be sharing more about my favorite ways to be plastic-free throughout the month, with a focus on ways that don't have to cost extra money.

I'd love to see some of the plastic-free swaps you make this month!

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