Plastic has made our lives more convenient in many ways, but it can make life inconvenient too. Have you ever had to clean your car of empty plastic bottles? That’s unnecessary if you use reusable cups and water bottles. Tired of running the recycling outside in the freezing cold during the winter? You could take less trips to the recycling bin if you simply bought less plastic. These are some of the reasons many people are choosing to go plastic free in 2021.
Although convenience is a good reason to reduce your plastic consumption, it’s also important to get rid of the plastic in your life because it’s strangling the environment. About eight million tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year, with 5.25 trillion pieces floating around in the water. Much of the problem can't be seen by the naked eye. Most debris sinks into the ocean, and billions of tiny microfibers infiltrate nearly everything that lives in the water.
In 2018, over 14.5 million tons of plastic found its way to the landfill. It’s much better for that plastic to end up in the landfill, but it still causes plenty of problems when it gets there. It can take a surprisingly long time for some of our most commonly used plastic items to biodegrade. For example, a plastic straw takes 200 years to break down, while a plastic toothbrush will take 500 years. That doesn’t take into account the fact that plastic fibers can wash away and end up in our oceans, plastic can injure or poison wildlife near the landfill, and harmful chemicals can leach into the groundwater.
Tired of plastic taking over your life and harming the environment? Are you ready to reduce your plastic consumption? Let Plastic Free July inspire you!
Using Plastic Free July as Inspiration
A true global movement, Plastic Free July encourages everyone to become part of the solution by refusing single use plastics. You can find resources on how to reduce your plastic consumption and see businesses that have taken the pledge.
This challenge encourages you to get rid of plastic while opening your eyes to just how insidious it is in our lives. It’s a great idea to start with a smaller challenge, like Plastic Free July rather than going completely plastic free, as it’s a challenge that sounds much simpler than it really is.
The key to Plastic Free July is to eliminate single use plastics from your life. For example, a piece of furniture with plastic feet is something that can be used for many years while a plastic takeaway cup is something you use just once and throw away. Plastic Free July is all about eliminating the plastics that we use just once before tossing them.
Building Good Habits in 2021 and Beyond
Plastic Free July is a movement that goes beyond a single month each year. The hope is that you’ll build good plastic-busting habits throughout July and continue those habits throughout the year.
If you're inspired by Plastic Free July, don't think you have to wait until next July to get started! Any time is a good time to go plastic free, and many people are going plastic free in 2021. The whole goal of this movement is to help others build good habits throughout July and continue those habits throughout the year. Eventually, those habits will continue throughout the rest of your life. You can start building these good habits whether you start eliminating plastic from your life in July, October, or April.
Ways to Reduce Single Use Plastics in Your Life
You have probably already heard of some of the best well-known single use plastic switches. For example, you probably already know to use a reusable bag instead of getting plastic at the store, and you have probably already heard about using metal drinking straws and reusable cups. That’s a good start, but there are many ways you’re using single use plastics and you may not realize it.
Other switches you can make include:
• Buy toothpaste tablets instead of toothpaste in tubes
• Buy laundry detergent sheets instead of liquid in plastic bottles
• Eat ice cream in a cone instead of a cup
• Switch to a bamboo toothbrush
• Use a plant-based loofah in the shower
• Switch to reusable period products, like menstrual cups
• Use bar soap instead of liquid soap in a plastic dispenser
• Use reusable bags in the produce section at the grocery store
• Clean with cotton rags instead of washrags that contain plastic microfibers
• Buy in bulk whenever possible
This just scratches the surface of what you can do to reduce your use of single use plastics. Do your research and try and eliminate one thing at a time. Even making just one or two changes is better than making no changes at all.
Buying From Businesses That Care About Plastic Consumption
One of the best ways you can reduce your plastic consumption is to choose where you shop carefully. Some companies not only sell a lot of plastic products, but they also package their items in a lot of plastic. When you shop, choose companies that actively avoid using plastic wherever they can.
For example, Wild Bohém is among the best boho clothing brands because they offer carbon neutral shipping, which means the impact of shipping is offset by the company, effectively canceling it out. Wild Bohém uses compostable shipping bags and tissue paper, which means they can be added to your compost pile, and boxes and inserts are made out of recycled and reused materials. Wild Bohém even plants one tree every time you place an order!
Some other eco-friendly brands you may want to consider shopping with include:
- Seventh Generation
- Beyond Meat
- Native Shoes
- Numi Tea
Whether you joined Plastic Free July, you want to go plastic free in 2021, or you just want to make a few simple changes to reduce the single use plastics in your life, every little bit counts. If we all pitch in and eliminate a little bit of plastic, over time, we can greatly reduce the amount of harmful plastic in our landfills and oceans, making the world a better, greener, healthier place to live.