The month of July has begun! In addition to enjoying things like pool days, summer camp, long awaited getaways, and (eco-friendly) 4th of July celebrations — it is also a time of year that calls attention to environmentally conscious changes that must be made. Plastic Free July started in Australia in 2011. The goal is to avoid disposable products, specifically single use plastics, during this month.
As with anything else in life, you are more likely to follow through and succeed when you have others holding you accountable. Sign up with your friends and family to take the challenge and start making a positive impact on the planet today! Not sure where to begin? Luckily, when it comes to eco-friendly inspiration and ideas, we’ve got plenty of it. Here are some small plastic-free swaps that can make a big difference.
1. Wake Up And Ditch The Disposable Coffee Cups
Most of the paper cups you receive at coffee shops are actually lined with plastic, which means they’re NOT recyclable in most facilities in the United States. You can swap it out for the beloved mason jar. It’s perfect for iced coffee drinks. And for the hot drinks, you can always use a cool looking koozie. And, of course, there’s always the reusable coffee cup. Going plastic-free with your morning dose of caffeine is an eco-friendly decision that should definitely perk you up.
2. Pass On The Plastic Straws
The next time you are about to enjoy your favorite smoothie, iced coffee or other straw-worthy beverage, sip on the fact that Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day – this would fill over 125 school buses! There are so many reasons to join the plastic straw free movement. Don’t panic or feel the need to go completely strawless. There are many practical and well-designed options available. Stainless steel and glass straws are the top picks for most adults looking to go the sustainable, stylish route. For kids, bamboo and silicone are great family-friendly alternatives.
3. Say Goodbye To Plastic Water Bottles
It is a known fact that staying hydrated is extremely important for a human’s overall health, but that doesn’t mean we need to drink the recommended half a gallon of water per day at the expense of Earth’s wellbeing. Bottles used to package water take over 1,000 years to biodegrade and it is estimated that over 80 percent of all single-use water bottles used in the U.S. simply become litter. It’s worth it to invest in a water filter or purifier to avoid such large amounts of unnecessary plastic waste. And when you’re drinking your H20 on the go, there are countless plastic-free water bottles on the market to suit every price point and personality.
4. Make Going Plastic-Free Your Cup Of Tea
From earl grey to chamomile to chai, you might be surprised to find out that most tea bags are made from plastic. A new study found that the bags can release billions of plastic particles into your cup. So, not only is it bad for the planet – it’s bad for your health too. Want to eliminate drinking tea steeped with polypropylene? Make the switch to loose leaf tea. It’s more eco-friendly, less harmful, and it tastes way better! Check out these sustainable and eco-friendly tea brands.
5. Pack A Plastic-Free Lunch
Whether you’re packing lunch for the kids, bringing your own lunch to work, or going for a nice picnic in the park, everyone needs to do their part to make smart product choices. Did you know that we use 5 trillion plastic bags per year! That’s 160,000 bags each second. Small swaps can make a big difference in counteracting all the unnecessary waste. Stainless steel lunch tiffins, paper sandwich bags and recycled utensils are great plastic-free alternatives for your on-the-go meals. BONUS:The next time you go shopping for all that delicious food, remember to bring along your reusable grocery bags.
Be a part of something greater — and greener.
Getting involved with organizations who can provide insight, inspiration and a sense of community will only serve to strengthen your ability to be a #EarthProtector. It is also extremely important to make things a part of your routine, so be sure to check out our post on how to go green with a plastic-free morning routine. We are creatures of habit and this is the best way to ensure your new and improved plastic-free choices stick. Every eco-friendly choice you make is a step in the right direction to reducing your ecological footprint.