It’s Plastic Free July! But you aren’t sure how you can (further) reduce your plastic consumption? We’ll help you with 31 tips on how to say “no” to plastic and develop a positive mindset at the same time. Let’s sea!
Why Plastic Free July?
It is currently assumed that the amount of plastic waste in our oceans will exceed the mass of all fish in the world’s oceans by 2050. So the less plastic packaging and materials we use in everyday life, the less plastic ends up in our oceans.
It all started in 2011 in Perth, Australia, when Rebecca Prince-Ruiz started a Facebook campaign with initially about 40 supporters. Within nine years, her movement has reached around 177 countries. More than 200 million people took part in Plastic Free July 2019.
Anyone can participate in Plastic Free July. Officially the challenge starts, as the name suggests, in July. But of course you can start a similar challenge at any time. You can register onine via the Plastic Free July homepage or just join in. The goal of the challenge is to save as much plastic as possible during July (and hopefully afterwards, as well).
Maybe you have been planning to live a plastic-free lifestyle for a long time, but you didn’t know where to start? Great, then the following tips are sure to inspire you. Please note: It’s not about getting everything perfect right from the start or buying everything new immediately! Just pick out a few tips that you can implement well and have fun doing so. It’s a step by step process. ☺️
Food and Drink
Bye-bye cling film: Beeswax wraps replace cling film and bread wraps and look great doing so. This means you can keep food fresh for a long time in an environmentally friendly way. By the way – we’ll launch a cool Bracenet beeswax wrap together with gaia!
- Sustainable takeaway during your lunch break? Next time, just bring your own reusable container and have the food filled into it. Our experience shows that this works almost always without any issues. (At the moment, however, hygiene regulations may prescribe otherwise).
- Keep calm and drink tea? Unfortunately, drinking tea is not always plastic-free. In fact, many tea bags contain a heat-resistant plastic called polypropylene. This means that large amounts of microplastics from these tea bags end up directly in your drink. So be careful when buying tea, either buy loose tea or look out for fully degradable bags.
- Coffee capsules made of aluminium or plastic? We’re not a fan – not only does it cause a lot of rubbish, but it’s also unhealthy for you. An excellent way of saving money, protecting your body and the environment even though you own a capsule coffee machine is to use reusable coffee capsules, for example made of stainless steel.
- Serve sustainable drinks! Why take another quick trip to the petrol station to buy ice cubes wrapped in plastic, when you can make them yourself in a stainless steel mould? It’s more convenient, cheaper and you can enjoy your drink ice cold without having a bad conscience.
- Plant your own herbs: whether in a pot on the windowsill, on the balcony or in your own garden, your own herb garden saves a lot of plastic and brings a lot of joy, because you can watch it grow.
- A really easy tip to buy fruit and vegetables without plastic is to bring your own reusable bags. You don’t have any matching ones yet? Then stay tuned, because we are currently developing a Bracenet shopping bag out of ghost nets.
Less plastic in the bathroom
- Instead of reaching for shampoo in plastic packaging, try solid shampoo. You can now buy this almost everywhere without (plastic) packaging. Our tip: Get your hair used to solid shampoo first before you try it directly with a soap bar.
- One item that is very easy to replace and that you probably use every day is your hairbrush. Hairbrushes made of natural materials are not only better for the environment, but also for your hair and scalp than plastic brushes.
Microplastic and liquid plastic: You may have heard that microplastic is found in some care products. Another problem is liquid plastic, which is added by some manufacturers. The app CodeCheck tells you immediately whether plastic is hidden in your products.
- Say goodbye to make-up tissues wrapped in plastic! Washable make-up remover pads are the answer. Buy them once or sew/upcycle them yourself and use them for the rest of your life.
- You have probably heard that you can replace your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush. But what about toothpaste? Nowadays there are a lot of alternatives. Next time you might want to use toothpaste tabs, toothpaste powder or toothpaste in a glass. These sustainable alternatives usually also last longer than the toothpaste in a plastic tube.
- Bye-bye body hair: Conventional razors are usually made of plastic and quickly end up in the trash. Try to use a safety razor for your next shave. Add a piece of plastic-free shaving soap to your kit and you will create practically no garbage.
This is another important topic that is hardly talked about enough: Period products! Tampons, sanitary pads and panty liners are disposable products that cause huge amounts of waste. The menstrual cup is a sustainable and healthier alternative to sanitary pads and tampons.
- Be active and be loud! There is so much you can do. Sign petitions, participate in demonstrations, sign up for a beach or city cleanup. You’ll find it feels good to be an active part of change.
- Do you know how much waste you produce every day? It can be hard to know how many bags of garbage we are responsible for every week or month. Analyze your garbage exactly over the course of a week or two. Where does most of the garbage come from? Where can you start to reduce it?
Do you sometimes take on too much and would like to do everything at once? Relax! It is natural to feel overwhelmed and powerless sometimes. It’s important to remember that every step counts and that it is a process. We describe in more detail here, why that is so important.
Have you ever been really annoyed when you bought something that was wrapped in a lot of unnecessary plastic? Talk about it! Many companies are willing to make a change and take their customers’ feedback to heart. Download the ReplacePlastic app. With this app you can scan the barcodes of products to automatically tell manufacturers that you would like to have plastic-free packaging.
- We can achieve greater impact together, and it’s also more fun to work on these topics with others! Talk to your circle of friends. Who would like to join you in the Plastic Free July challenge?
- Do you really need this? And if you do, do you really need to buy it? To avoid unnecessary consumption, you can get into the habit of questioning your purchasing decisions in advance and reduce spontaneous purchases. Maybe you can also borrow the product from friends or family. Sharing is caring!
- There are many great fashion labels today that produce fairly and sustainably and often ship without plastic packaging. But you don’t want to do without other fashion items? Then try and see if you can find them second hand. You can always find the latest fashion on eBay or other second hand portals. This saves new resources and packaging.
- In the fashion industry, not only the packaging can be made of plastic, but also the clothing itself. Many of our trousers, shirts and sweaters are made of plastic fibres such as polyester, nylon or polyacrylic. With every wash, tiny plastic particles – called microplastics – are rinsed into our waste water. Our tip: avoid synthetic fibres!
Bio-plastic is no solution: this term is neither precisely defined nor protected. It is often referred to as plastic made from corn starch or other natural raw materials. After use, bioplastics usually end up in residual waste. In the organic waste they are sorted out again, because they take too long to rot in the composting plant. In its ecological footprint, bioplastics are therefore no better than conventional plastics and do not represent a more environmentally friendly alternative. So: Bio-plastic remains plastic. BUND also recommends refrain from plastic as much as possible, whether it’s organic or not. Where plastic is difficult to avoid, the most sensible option at the moment is recycled plastic.
Avoid black plastic: Shower gels, fine cosmetics, but also trays for meat or vegetables, all these products are increasingly offered in black plastics. Unfortunately, plastic sorting machines struggle to detect black or deep blue plastics, which means they are often burned as waste.
- Use social media to keep yourself informed. There are many influencers (or also Sinnfluencer, Ecofluencer, Greenfluencer) on Youtube and Instagram that critically inform you about sustainable topics and provide you with tips.
- Dishwashing liquids, laundry detergents, cleaning products or deodorants: The World Wide Web is full of DIY instructions for plastic-free alternatives. So grab your friends and simply make your product yourself. This way, cleaning up is much more fun!
- Did you know that tire abrasion (mainly) by cars is considered one of the main causes of microplastics? So, leave the car behind more often and discover the world with more environmentally friendly alternatives.
No idea what to gift or wish for? Ask for or make a donation to an environmental organisation next time. With Ghost Diving or Healthy Seas, for example, you can directly support marine protection as well as the recovery of ghost nets. This is sensible, plastic-free and fun!
- A plastic pacifier for your baby is so yesterday. Fortunately, there are also some made of natural rubber that are free of toxins and allergies!
- No advertising please: Advertising in the letterbox causes several thousand tons of paper and plastic waste every year. So a small sticker on your mailbox has a big effect. You can easily check the latest offers from your supermarket or favourite stores online.
- Another plastic giveaway at a trade fair? Politely decline and point out that you would like to receive environmentally friendly alternatives next time. 🙂
These were 31 tips for your Plastic Free July! We are excited to see what we can all achieve together. By the way, your Bracenet is an ideal daily reminder right around your wrist for plastic free decisions.
If you have feedback, questions or other exciting tips, let us know!