"With the last few months blending into one, all of a sudden it is July (how did that happen?) and it's time for Plastic Free July, a global campaign which encourages people to cut down on single use plastic."

A blog by Maya of Sustainer Container

By 2050 scientists estimate that there could be more plastic in the sea than fish, so now really is the time to reconsider all of the plastic waste we produce.

The first step is to start being mindful of the single use plastics you use, and notice how the products you buy are packaged. Once you can recognise which single use plastics you use the most, you can start trying to reduce your use of single use plastics by swapping to more sustainable products. Here is a list of some simple (and inexpensive) swaps you can make to cut down on single use plastic:

1. When you are out and about, it is easy and convenient to pick up a bottle of juice without even considering the single use plastic packaging. Instead, get into the habit of taking a reusable water bottle with you when you leave the house.

As well as helping the environment, stopping or reducing the number of plastic bottles you buy will also help your bank balance in the long run. Similarly, most people enjoy picking up a coffee, but again take-away coffees also come in single use cups. Instead, consider bringing a keep-cup with you, plus many coffee shops now offer a discount if you bring your own cup!

keep-cup

2. As well as picking up drinks when out and about, it is also tempting to grab a bite to eat. However, many snacks and take-away lunch options come packaged in single use plastic, much of which cannot be recycled. Instead, consider bringing a packed lunch in a tupperware box or wrap a sandwich in a beeswax wrap. Beeswax wraps are a reusable alternative to clingfilm and can be washed and reused. If you prefer a salad or something more substantial such as pasta, pop it into a tupperware box. Bamboo cutlery packs are a great alternative to plastic cutlery, they can be reused and come in a hessian pouch to keep your cutlery clean in your bag. Bringing your own lunch will also save you money and is usually healthier than food that you pick up on the go.

3. Swapping from bottle to bar of soap is one of the easiest swaps to reduce single use plastic. Friendly Soap bars smell divine (seriously, they smell so good) and come in a recyclable cardboard box so are 100% plastic free. Plus they are also vegan and cruelty free! In particular, the Travel Soap smells delicious (Lemongrass, Lavender, Teatree and Peppermint scented) and is also a 2 in 1 shampoo and soap bar.

You can give a shampoo bar a go, further reducing the plastic you use, but if shampoo bars aren’t for you (although I’m sure you will love your Friendly shampoo bar), you can still use it as soap.

friendly soap - travel bar in nyc

4. Other bathroom products which can be easily swapped to reduce single use plastic are your toothbrush and toothpaste. Your plastic toothbrush can be easily swapped for a bamboo toothbrush.

As well as being better for the environment, I also find my bamboo toothbrush has softer bristles which are kinder on my gums. Plastic toothpaste tubes can also be swapped for toothpaste tablets which come in a refillable tin. You just chew the tablet and then brush like normal, meaning using toothpaste in a different form doesn’t take long to get used to.

5. Stationery probably isn’t your first thought when you think about going plastic free, but pens are also a form of single use plastic. Swap your plastic pen for a refillable bamboo pen which can be refilled over and over again with an ordinary Biro pen insert.

Although these pen inserts are plastic, by using a refillable bamboo pen you are significantly reducing the plastic waste you produce when writing. To further reduce the environmental impact of note-taking, use a recycled paper notebook.

6. One of the main ways single use plastic is used is to wrap fruit and vegetables in the supermarket. If you find loose fruit and veg hard to find try looking at local fruit and vegetable shops and zero waste shops rather than large supermarkets.

A produce bag is a great way of protecting loose fruit and veg that you buy, rather than using a single use plastic bag.

produce bag

I hope you have found these plastic free swaps useful, what are your favourite alternatives to single use plastic?

Use the share buttons below to tell us about your Plastic Free July swaps

For more tips to reduce your plastic waste and to hear about my Plastic Free July journey, head over to my blog.

About the author:

Maya is a recent graduate and also the founder of SUSTAINER CONTAINER – selling beautiful, reusable boxes filled with a selection of environmentally-friendly alternatives to everyday products. The boxes are available for less than the cost of buying the products individually, making your sustainability journey more affordable. Our Everything Eco Boxes contain everything you need to start your eco warrior journey and become plastic free.