12.06.17

Plastic Free July: 5 Ways To Reduce Single Use Plastic In Your Life

To completely eliminate plastic use in your life does require a little research and day-to-day planning. But, when it comes down to it, reducing your plastic use is actually really easy. A lot of it involves just making different choices.

Plastic Free July is an initiative that started in Perth in 2011. The purpose of the challenge was to raise awareness of the amount of plastic we use in our daily lives and to encourage people to eliminate single-use plastic from their lives for just one month each year.

If you keep saying you want to do more, this is a great place to start and you have the support of the many people around Australia also doing the challenge. Document your changes online to hold yourself accountable and share your wins.

Some tips to make the challenge easier. Work out what types of plastic you’re going to refuse, eg coffee cups, straws, takeaway containers. Then plan how you’re going to survive without them, such as reusable coffee cups, just drinking from the cup, or bringing your own container).

plastic free

5 super easy ways you can reduce the plastic in your life

1. Carry a reusable coffee cup with you

Did you know that most coffee cups are NOT recyclable, even the biodegradable ones? Most takeaway coffee cups have a thin plastic coating on the inside to prevent the hot liquid  from seeping through. We send 50,000 disposable coffee cups to landfill, every hour. EVERY HOUR!! There are so many amazing reusable cups available now to suit every coffee lover taste and style.

2. Use a reusable water bottle

There is absolutely no need to buy disposable water bottles when there are so many great options available for reusable cups. I personally like the Contigo bottles, but you can find many styles of stainless steel or glass if you’re avoiding plastic altogether. Most cities have cold water refill stations now or you can simply refill your bottle at a tap while you’re out.

3. Bring your own food containers when getting takeaway or when taking lunch to work

I’m shocking for this one. My favourite takeaway sushi is the main culprit. This Plastic Free July I am committed to taking my own container with me for my takeaway food. The few times I have brought my own, the people in the takeaway shop had no issues with using my containers for the food.

4. Say no to plastic straws and cutlery

BYO straw and cutlery kit like these ones or simply say no straw please. If you’ve ever watched the video of the sea turtle having a plastic straw pulled from it’s nose, I guarantee you’ll never use one again.

5. Take your own shopping bags and produce bags

Even if you reuse your plastic grocery bags, they eventually end up in landfill where they only start to degrade after 700 years. Unfortunately, plastic bags don’t always stay in landfill; they often find their way to our parks, bushland, rivers and oceans where they pollute the local environment and kill animals that consume or become trapped inside them. This awful cycle will continue for over 1000 years during the bag’s degradation process. You can stop this just by taking your own reusable bag and produce bags when you shop. Keep some by the front door, in your car, your office desk and foldable ones in your handbag.

Will you take up the challenge for Plastic Free July? Tell us what you’re going to do to reduce plastic in your life in the comments below!

Image source: Unsplash

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Kira Simpson

Founder + Director of The Green Hub, an urban green living advocate and coffee obsessive. She believes there is no one size fits all green lifestyle and we can all live more sustainably in a way that fits in with each of our unique lifestyles.
  • Bridie Tanner

    This July I’m going to commit to only buying non-wrapped grocery items from stores that encourage bring your own container for things like pasta, rice and other staples.

    • That’s wonderful to hear Bridie! Do you have a The Source near you? They have so much great cupboard stuff (and chocolate!) available all plastic free.

  • Sheree Riedemann

    Bring my own container for left overs from dinners and sushi 🍣
    Saying No to straws is a must to remember as well.

    • I’m right there with you Sheree! My mantra will be “no straw please!” 🙂