We’re not quite sure what happened to June, but it’s apparently July already. Here at Invisible Company, we try to encourage our community to live as close to a zero waste lifestyle as possible for all months of the year but for those looking to get started on their own journey, July is a pretty great time to start as it’s now officially Plastic Free July!
What is it all about?
Originating in Australia, the Plastic-Free July campaign is now in its 10th year and its message to eliminate single-use plastic remains as important as ever. Last year, 326 million participants took part in 177 countries so, by making even small changes to your daily routine you can still help to collectively make a huge difference this month.
Image Courtesy of Plastic Free July
To get you started, we wanted to share a few of our favourites.
BYO Bottle, Bag, Box
Bring Your Own Bottle, Bag and Box
Probably one of the easiest swaps to make, which can then become a long term habit, is to always make sure you have your three Bs with you; a reusable bag, bottle and box! Reusable bags come in a variety of styles these days and often roll up into a convenient size to carry in your daily bag. Likewise, reusable bottles can be found to purchase almost anywhere and many cities now provide filtered refillable bottle stations.
Bringing your own lunch box may take a bit more getting used to and you may get some funny looks from restaurant staff but it’s an easy change that makes a huge difference and a lot of venues actually offer a discount if you bring your own box - win win!
Say No to Plastic Cutlery
We know it’s not always easy to cook your own meals and takeaway or delivery options can just be so much more convenient, especially when living in a city. So try and make sure you select the ‘no cutlery’ option when ordering as disposable knives and forks and even chopsticks just aren’t necessary! Even if you’re ordering to the office, just keep a set of reusable cutlery on your desk - simple.
Whilst some restaurants are now using eco-friendly food containers, the majority of them are not so if your food arrives in plastic containers, try to reuse these as much as possible.
Stay Green, Even on a Staycation
With travel sadly being a thing of the past at the moment, more people are making the most of the local hotels or airbnb’s in their area and booking staycations instead. Whilst these are great for the mind and provide a much needed change of scenery, hotels can often be responsible for providing guests with numerous amounts of single use plastic in each hotel room, such as toothbrushes, combs, shower gels and razors etc.
Say No to Hotel Amenities
Many hotels are actually making big improvements in this area which is great, but it’s still a good idea to bring your own reusable amenities on your staycation just in case and request no additional amenities be brought to your room. Don’t forget your reusable water bottle too in case your hotel only stocks plastic bottles.
You Can Stay Under My Umbrella - But Your Plastic Bag Can’t
If you, like us, live in a tropical city then summer time mostly means one thing - rain. Lots and lots of rain. To combat people entering malls / offices / shops with dripping wet umbrellas, many venues offer umbrella bags made of single use plastic as a solution. These are typically thrown away the same evening and it’s truly a devastating sight to see rubbish bins overflowing with hundreds of these bags (and often broken umbrellas too).
Say No to Plastic Umbrella Bags
Firstly, try to get yourself a high quality umbrella that isn’t made from cheap plastic and that should actually last you a few rainy seasons! Durability is also part of the sustainability movement! Secondly, just don’t use a plastic bag! Many umbrella’s often come with their own bag, or bring your own to keep in your bag instead. On a positive note, it’s becoming increasingly common to see innovative environmentally friendly umbrella drying stands replacing plastic bag dispensers.
Whilst the above tips are relatively straightforward to implement and then turn into positive habits, avoiding single use plastic entirely can be much more difficult. So why not set yourself some bite size challenges which can still help reduce your overall usage. Here’s a few more ideas to get you started;
- For Girls and Ladies, Ditch the Tampons or Pads
We know reusable period cup may be the last thing on your mind when it comes to feminine care, but by using reusable menstrual cup instead of single use tampons or period pads, you will have already made a huge difference to reduce the plastic waste.
- Try One New Product a Week or Month
With so many eco-friendly product alternatives out there, it can become overwhelming to select what to use and therefore easier just to resort to your old ways. Keep things simple, try one new thing a week or month! Start with a household cleaning item, such as a reusable/washable sponge, laundry pods or perhaps a beauty item such as a bamboo toothbrush, reusable cotton pad.
- Visit a Bulk Store
If you’re new to the zero waste life, there may be a lot of stores you haven’t visited yet to help you go waste free. Why not bring some jars/bags/bottles with you to fill up and go visit a bulk store to buy anything from baking supplies and snacks to detergents and shampoos.
Remember, Plastic Free July is about giving people the tools and knowledge they need to change their habits and to help spread the word as to how each of us as individuals can make small changes to make a big impact. It’s not about being perfectly plastic free, it’s about trying! So give it a go and let us know how your Plastic Free July is going.
Follow us on Instagram @invisiblecompany_ for more tips as the month goes on!