Want a Challenge? Try Plastic-Free July!
Plastic. It is EVERYWHERE. Plastic has become a convenient and widely-used material in almost all aspects of our lives- from toothbrushes to shampoo bottles to food packaging.
This summer, I was eager to try to step away from all that plastic. That's when I stumbled upon the challenge of Plastic Free July.
In doing some research, I found out that millions of people take part in this challenge each year. I was really hesitant if I could do it- but I was determined to at least give it my best shot.
I know, I know, it's only July 6th. BUT... that means you still have plenty of time to give this challenge a try and that's why I'm sharing some of my favorite sustainable plastic-free swaps!
Let me be clear, you do NOT have to buy expensive products to practice sustainability. When I first started my sustainability journey, I felt pressured to buy all these ridiculously expensive products but... I'm on a college student budget and that just isn't possible for me. And that's ok!
Here are my favorite & affordable swaps:
2. Reusable silicon bags- an AMAZING alternative to ziplock bags (Stasher bags are my absolute favorite). Another great swap is using other reusable bags, many of which are even more affordable than stasher bags! Zöe found a set of reusable bags- 3 snack bags and 3 sandwich bags for just $11!
3. Old Jars- You do not need to buy new jars! This seems like a no-brainer as a swap but you'd be surprised by the amount of people I've talked to that think they need to buy all-new/matching jars or containers. Save and reuse your old jars from jams, pasta sauces, pickles, nut butters, you name it! Just wash and reuse!
4. Glass Tupperware- I also have old plastic Tupperware- yes, it is plastic but am I going to throw it away to just get glass ones? No. That is part of sustainability- REUSING things that you already have!
5. Another easy swap is to switch out your plastic bottles of soaps, shampoos and conditioners for bars. At first I was worried that bars of shampoo would not make my hair feel as good as my normal shampoo, but wow was I wrong. There are so many available options and I honestly love how my hair feels with them! I'm adding a few of my favorites below in case you're interested in making the switch!
You can find these (and more options) at the Zero Waste Store (linked at the end of this post).
For hand soaps, I usually just buy a bar at farmers markets or my local bulk store. This one is my absolute favorite- it smells amazing and is hand-made in Milwaukee. I encourage you to look for soaps at places like farmers markets or local shops to support artists near you!
6. A couple other easy swaps we have found this July is making our own oils/face masks!
For Plastic Free July, we made a charcoal face mask- simply fill a jar halfway with activated charcoal and the other half with 100% pure bentonite clay. When you're ready to use it, put a teaspoon of powder into the palm of your hand and then add water until it turns into a thin paste. Apply to your face (avoiding your eyes) and let sit for 15-30 minutes, then rinse off with water.
In one of our earlier posts, we talked about the many uses of dandelions. Returning to that post, we have been making our dandelion oil for Plastic Free July. Dandelion-infused coconut oil can be used as an anti-inflammatory rub for joints, as well as a face moisturizer. In studies, dandelion flowers have been shown to aid in regeneration of new skin cell growth and protect against sun damage. On that post, we have other uses for dandelions, including pesto, tea and green juice- which I'm linking here.
Dandelion infused coconut oil:
7. Lastly, we've touched on this in one of our other posts but this month I will be trying my best to shop at bulk stores and getting my produce from local farms or CSA programs. Buying in bulk cuts out a lot of plastic packaging that you typically find at normal grocery stores. If you're unsure whether or not there's a bulk store near you, check out Literless- it helps find zero waste stores in every state :)
I hope these tips help you out!
For more info and resources, check out the official Plastic Free July website: https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/resources/
If you're looking for more plastic-free items I also love to shop at the Zero Waste Store. They have amazing products and most importantly, they're sustainable!
As we always say, Keep Cutting the Crap!