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plastic free july

A to Z of Hints, Tips and Swaps for Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is almost here! Started back in 2011 with just a handful of people in Western Australia, Plastic Free July has grown to reach millions of people across more than 150 countries. All you have to do to join the Plastic Free July challenge is to 'Choose to Refuse' single use plastic across the month of July. It's easy to do, and every small step makes a difference.  To get you started, I've come up with an A to Z of things that you can do to meet the challenge:

plastic free July swaps

A  -  Agreena wraps. Silicone wraps that take the place of glad wrap. They stretch over the top of bowls and plates and reseal them. You can use them as sandwich wraps or to keep single things fresh in the fridge, like a half a lemon. Or use them to replace baking paper in the oven. Genius!

BBiobag. Can't get your head around lining your rubbish bin with newspaper? Or like me, never buy the newspaper? Well, Biobags are completely compostable. Much better for the environment than plastic rubbish bags.

C - Coffee cups. Reusable ones, of course. Say no to the takeaway cups and go with one that you can use over and over.

D - Drinking cups - stainless steel ones that you can take with you; or D is for deodorant in tins or jars; or D could be for decanting bulk packs into smaller jars at home.

E - Eggs - okay, so this is a bit of stretch, but I buy my eggs at the farmers market. I buy lots of fruit and veg, too, and it's all plastic free. And did I mention that they are the most delicious eggs ever, laid by happy hens who are watched over by alpacas and maremma dogs?

F - Filter jug. Get yourself a filter jug so that you can have filtered water at home, and then you can fill your reusable water bottle up for getting out and about with. A filter jug also works a treat with a Soda Stream so you can have fizzy filtered water if that's your thing (it's definitely one of mine!).

G - Glass baby bottles and sippy cups. Okay, so these aren't usually single use plastic items, but glass is better for your baby by far.

H - Hair brush. You can skip the plastic entirely by choosing a wooden hair brush or comb.

I - Insulated food jars. Brilliant in winter for warming soups and stews. "I" could also be for individually wrapped snacks (just say no!).

J - Jars. Save all your jars and use them for storage, for dinky salads for lunch, for making salad dressing. Or even for making your own jam from all the extra fruit at the end of summer.

K - Keepleaf. This great brand will keep single use snaplock bags and sandwich wraps out of the bin! Cute, easy to use and easy to wash, too.

L - Lunchboxes. From stainless steel to long lasting plastic, nothing cuts down on single use plastic day to day like a lunchbox.

M - Milk. Okay, so I'm back to my local farmer's market. But how good is this - Schultz Organic Dairies sell milk in glass bottles. With the cream on top, too, I'm happy to add!

N - Nappies. Even if you used a cloth nappy just once a day, think how many disposables you could keep out of landfill!

O - Oranges, apples, lettuces ... Use a produce bag instead of grabbing a plastic bag, or instead of buying prepacked fruit.

P - Personal care. There are so many plastic free alternatives for personal care these days. Try Natracare or Organyc for plastic free single use tampons and pads. Or go with a Lunette menstrual cup.

Q - Quinces. My neighbours have a quince tree, and they don't cook them up, but I do. And then I go all old school and share them around as poached fruit, jam and jelly. And of course I store them all in my saved jam jars. Delish!

R - Refuse, reuse, reduce, rot and then finally - recycle.

S - Straws, shampoo bars, shopping bags. Plastic straws are a scourge. Go with stainless steel, bamboo or even paper. Shampoo bars are my new love - no plastic, they last forever and my hair loves them! Shopping bags - I won't let anyone leave the house without a shopping bag.

T - Toothbrushes. There are so many biodegradable toothbrushes on the market now that there's just no excuse for using a plastic one.

U -   Um - umbrella? Okay, so now we're at the tricky part of the alphabet. But my point here is to buy good quality things that will last, rather than buying throwaway items. I bought a windproof umbrella years ago, and I still have it (thanks to my name in permanent marker on it!)

V - Volume. Buy in bulk and save on packaging. Although I have to admit that it did take us a while to get through 15kgs of porridge oats, it was totally worth it. And I do love porridge!

W - Waterbottles and Wipes. Don't buy water. Just don't. And for wipes - get biodegradable ones, because the non biodegradable ones are made from plastic cloth. Or better still, make your own wipes.

X - X Ray Fish. Okay, so this has absolutely nothing to do with anything but my children had an A to Z caterpillar train that had animals for each letter. Much to my amusement, X was an X Ray Fish. Never caught one of these myself, but who knows? Or you could have X for Xylophone - sustainable toys that can be handed down for generations.

Y - Yo Yo bags. Otherwise known as boomerang bags. My local farmers market always has a stash of bags that you can borrow or you can hand in.

Z - Zzzz. Because you'll sleep with a clear conscience if you can manage even a few of these…

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