“Every year, 11 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean on top of the estimated 200 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments. That’s like dumping one New York City garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute of every day for an entire year!"
Plastic Free July is a campaign that started in Australia in 2011 and has grown into a global nonprofit organization with more than 100 million participants around the world. By choosing to make simple swaps for one month, you’ll figure out small ways to make a big impact on our planet, hopefully turning them into good habits. Passion Lilie is here to help with some of our favorite ways to reduce your single use plastics.
The first thing to know about Plastic Free July is that you can do it! Let’s start small. We can make a few simple swaps in our everyday lives and significantly contribute to a cleaner and healthier planet. In this blog post, we will explore some effective and easy-to-implement sustainable swaps to help you embrace Plastic Free July and beyond.
Create a Reusable Kit:
The top four single-use plastics are plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups, and straws. Set an achievable goal to eliminate these plastics from your life during Plastic Free July by creating a “reusable” kit to keep in your car. Grab a washable to-go container, cutlery, straw, coffee tumbler, and a water bottle to keep in a reusable tote bag.
For your cutlery and straws, we recommend using lightweight alternatives like bamboo or stainless steel, which can be easily cleaned and used multiple times. Stop by Passion Lilie's French Quarter store to grab some bamboo cutlery and straws for your reusable kit. When picking out your reusable shopping bags, opt for sturdy and lightweight bags made from natural fibers, such as cotton or jute. These bags are not only durable but also biodegradable.
We always advocate for using things you already own (get your use out of all those Tupperware containers!) but if you need to purchase items for your reusable kit, we love Stojo collapsible cups, containers, and straws because they’re ethically made and save tons of space. You can build your own bundle in their online store, and grab a Passion Lilie tote (or several) to hold your Plastic Free July kit and to use instead of plastic grocery bags!
Another tip: Baristas say that bringing your own cup is a great way to reduce the billions of coffee cups that end up in landfills, but the BEST way is to sit down in the café and enjoy your coffee there, in a cup that can be washed and reused. We know that this is not usually possible with our fast-paced American lifestyle, but when it is feasible, what a pleasant change to make!
Swap soaps and household products:
An easy (and enjoyable!) way to make a difference during Plastic Free July is to cut down on the packaging that comes with home and body cleaning products. Did you know that many of the brands that position themselves as “green” are actually owned by giant conglomerates that are contributing to some of our worst global crises? Take Seventh Generation, for example. It’s owned by Unilever – a massive corporation that contributes to deforestation, exploits child labor, and creates toxic products.
Instead of buying body wash in plastic bottles, opt for bars of soap in recyclable packaging. We love Bayou Soap Company for an all-natural, environmentally friendly, and delicious smelling soap. These bars are not only eco-friendly but last longer, saving you money in the long run.
You can reduce plastic through other cleaning products as well. In New Orleans and many other cities, businesses are popping up with eco-friendly cleaning products that you can refill when you run out. The cost is ultimately comparable to brands like those you’d find at Target, but in return you’re getting truly clean, sustainable products. You’ll be supporting small businesses with fair labor standards and investing in a closed-loop, circular economy that eliminates the need for single-use plastic waste. Our New Orleans go-to for green cleaning products is Vintage Green Review. They also provide 100% carbon neutral shipping with reused, plastic-free materials – a great option as you’re thinking about reducing your plastic waste.
Opt for beeswax wrap:
Have you ever thought about how much plastic we waste by wrapping our leftovers and packing lunches? Beeswax wrap is a sustainable swap here to help with that. If every American household swapped plastic wrap with beeswax wrap, we’d save a staggering 212 million square feet (4.8 million acres) of plastic from the planet each year. Grab a roll and cut it to fit anything you need, then just wash when you’re done and reuse when you’re ready. You can reuse beeswax wrap for an entire year! When it starts to lose its grip, beeswax wrap can be composted or used as a natural fire starter.
Choose a bamboo toothbrush:
Here’s one you might not have thought of! Billions of plastic toothbrushes end up in landfills every year. This Plastic Free July, swap your toothbrush for one made of sustainably sourced bamboo.
Think about it. Why would you make something that you’re going to use for a few minutes out of a material that’s basically going to last forever, and you’re just going to throw it away. What’s up with that?-Jeb Berrier, Bag It movie