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The ‘Plastic Free July’ Challenge: Five ways you can reduce plastic waste this month

Plastic Free July® is a global initiative to reduce plastic pollution, driven by an Australian charity! The campaign has grown from humble beginnings in 2011 to inspire more than 100 million participants in 190 countries.

Those who take on the challenge can choose to refuse or reduce single-use plastics during the month of July, with many going on to form new habits that last a lifetime. A wide variety of resources are available on the Plastic Free July® website for individuals or organisations who are keen to get involved.

For our latest blog, we have explored five simple switches you can consider if you’re looking to take part in Plastic Free July® for the first time.

Avoid takeaway coffee cups

Plastic Free July

Many disposable coffee cups contain plastic and are not recyclable in most locations. Although compostable cups exist, they are not often actually composted due to logistics and space. In Australia, governments are looking to phase out many single-use plastics in the near future, and disposable coffee cups are at the top of this list.

Why not get ahead of the curve this month and purchase some reusable coffee cups? There are many varieties on the market including ceramic, glass and stainless steel. Once you get into a routine of keeping it on your desk at work or in your bag, you won’t go back!

Substitute cling wrap for sustainable food storage

Plastic Free July

Plastic wrap is a common kitchen item, but there are many other sustainable options you can try to keep your food fresh. As cling wrap is such a lightweight product, there is a high chance of it blowing into our natural surroundings and placing wildlife at risk.

Durable reusable containers are a good starting point; other options include silicone container toppers, or even reusable cloth covers or wax wrap. You might also like to consider washable cloth bags for food storage, as a replacement to zip-lock bags.  

Find plastic-free alternatives when produce shopping

Plastic Free July

A lot of progress has been made in the organics sector to reduce single-use plastics, but plastic-wrapped or packaged fruits and vegetables are still common for now.

This month, why not opt for loose fruit and vegetables instead of pre-packaged varieties, and just transport it home in your reusable shopping bag? If a bag is essential, the best options at present are made from paper or repurposed netting. You are more likely to find such options at your local farmers market or organic produce store.

Swap liquid soap for bar soaps

Plastic Free July

Single-use plastics are common in the bathroom, and one item that you can easily switch out this July is your shower gel or other bottled products. Bar soaps for many purposes (such as face washing, shampoo and shaving) are now available, and they can often be purchased in bulk without packaging at organic stores.

Cardboard-packaged options are also readily available, where you can easily add the packaging to your compost once finished with it.

Choose reusable water bottles

Plastic Free July

Single-use plastic water bottles are a common sight when out in the community, and it couldn’t be simpler to switch to reusable alternatives this July! Socially-responsible and environmentally-friendly options include glass, stainless steel or aluminium.

If you forget your reusable bottle, you can find a water fountain, purchase a glass bottle for reusing, or even ask for a glass of water at a café or restaurant. Taking up this one small challenge can help to reduce the large number of plastic bottles dumped in landfills every year.

The above are just a few simple ideas for reducing plastic usage, but there are many more options for those looking to adopt a plastic-free lifestyle. Make sure you check out the ‘Get Involved’ page on the Plastic Free July® website if you are looking for inspiration;  you will find 48 great ideas for home, work, events, community and more!

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