52 easy ways to ace Plastic Free July

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With the first week of Plastic Free July nearly done and dusted, you’re probably starting to get the hang of this whole “living without plastic” caper.

Some things may be driving you mad (opps, forgot the KeepCup again), while other habits you may have already seamlessly adopted (nice knowing ya, paper towels!).

It’s easy to get discouraged, especially when stepping foot inside a supermarket… those places are teeming with single-use plastic, but just remind yourself that you’ve signed up to the Plastic Free July challenge in order to make a difference.

And that’s exactly what you’re doing every time you reject a takeaway coffee cup or a plastic water bottle… Making a difference, by sending a clear message to retailers that this kind of excessive use of plastic is unnecessary.

Change will happen the more people challenge the status quo. Stay the course, and ace Plastic Free July with these 52 easy tips.

Shopping & out and about

1. Carry your reusable coffee cup/water bottle/cloth tote bags with you everywhere.

2. Take glass containers to the supermarket to use at the deli for items like cheese, olives, salads, etc.

3. Shop for your pantry staples at a bulk food store.

4. Use reusable produce bags instead of single-use plastic ones.

5. Use a stainless steel reusable straw instead of single-use straws (or simply do without a straw altogether).

6. Buy loaves of bread from a farmers’ market or bakery and provide your own bread bag.

7. If purchasing clothes, opt for natural fabrics like 100% cotton, wool or silk instead of polyester, acrylic or nylon.

8. Give up your chocolate bar/chips/pretzels habit for the month of July (or beyond).

9. Say no to freebies/promotional material that anyone tries to foster upon you.

10. Try to eat in when you can to avoid takeaway containers (or bring your own).

11. If you drink cow’s milk, buy your milk in glass bottles.

12. Carry your homemade lunch in a stainless steel lunchbox.

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Kitchen

13. Swap out paper towels for cloth towels.

14. Swap paper napkins for cloth napkins.

15. Swap cling wrap for beeswax wraps (or simply pop a plate over a bowl to store food in the fridge).

16. Swap teabags for a teapot and loose leaf tea.

17. Swap coffee pods for ground coffee and a French press.

18. Use glass jars to store food.

19. Use your vegetable scraps to make your own stock.

20. Plant a small herb garden or buy your dry herbs at a bulk food store.

21. Buy dishwashing powder from a bulk food store or buy powder in a cardboard box.

22. Ditch synthetic sponges and plastic scrubbers and opt for compostable dishcloths and wooden scrubbing brushes.

23. Use vinegar, baking soda and castile soap to clean your home, instead of mainstream cleaning products.

24. Try composting your food.

25. Line your bin with newspaper, or if you don’t deposit any food waste into your bin, let your bin go “naked”.

Bathroom

26. Replace your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo one.

27. Swap plastic cotton buds for bamboo cotton buds.

28. Use a soap bar instead of body wash.

29. Use a soap bar instead of liquid hand wash.

30. Use a shampoo bar instead of bottled shampoo.

31. Use a conditioner bar instead of bottled conditioner.

32. Use a shaving soap bar instead of shaving gel or foam.

33. Use hankies instead of tissues.

34. Use a stainless steel safety razor instead of disposable razors.

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35. Use reusable makeup rounds instead of disposable ones.

36. Stop using hand sanitiser (it’s terrible for your health anyway).

37. Make your own lip balm.

38. Use olive oil instead of bottled cleanser.

39. DIY your deodorant with a mix of tapioca flour, bicarb soda and coconut oil. Add the ingredients together in a jar and apply as needed.

40. DIY your own mouthwash with a mixture of baking soda, filtered water, two drops of tea tree oil and two drops of peppermint oil.

41. Use eco-friendly dental floss that comes in a glass tube (like this one).

42. Use a reusable moon cup instead of pads/tampons.

43. Consider “zero wasting” or “low wasting” your beauty products.

44. Find a makeup brand that has products in glass, paper or tin packaging.

45. Find a skincare brand that has products in glass, paper or tin packaging.

Laundry

46. Make your own washing detergent with soapberries.

47. Or use coconut soap laundry powder.

48. Add ¼ cup of white vinegar to your final rinse cycle instead of fabric softener.

49. Swap plastic pegs for stainless steel pegs.

50. Rethink your washing habits.

51. DIY your own stain remover with 1 tbsp baking soda, 4 tbsp dish soap and 8 tbsp hydrogen peroxide.

52. Use a reusable lint brush instead of a refillable lint brush.