Last year was the first time #PlasticFreeJuly appeared on my radar. Once you become aware of how much plastic we use, and toss, on a daily basis, you'll notice wastefulness everywhere. You might feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem, but it helped when I accepted that it's going to be a process to change my own daily habits and hopefully influence others to do so... and they'll influence others and so on! That month of questioning my daily habits helped me make some important changes in 2018. You can read more about that here.
If you haven't heard of #PlasticFreeJuly yet, no worries! I hope this will be the year you'll consider joining in!
What #PlasticFreeJuly is:
#PlasticFreeJuly is about becoming aware of, and hopefully reducing your plastic use-- especially single-use plastic-- at home, work, even at your favorite, local cafe! It all began with only 40 households in Perth in 2011 as an initiative by the Earth Carers Waste Education Team in Western Australia. From 40 households, it's grown to be a global movement with millions of participants! So small changes can make a difference. For example, last year I learned that there's plastic in some very unexpected places like my teabags. I invested in this $15.95 tea strainer-- (the package actually comes with two, so you can gift the other to a friend or family member!)-- and it has only added another layer of beauty to my nightly ritual of a cup of peppermint tea and a good book or a quiet chance to peruse inspiration photos on Instagram. Basically, as a hectic mommy, it's become my favorite time of day.
How #PlasticFreeJuly works:
Can you identify ways in which you use single-use plastic in your daily life or see it happening around you? I've realized this year that I've gotten so much better about my plastic use as a blogger/ human but have not made as many strides in my role as a mother. What I mean by that: if we were only judging my carbon footprint, it would be minimal. I make very little laundry and wash most of my clothes by hand, drive very few places and prefer to walk, wear mostly thrifted clothes, and eat a mostly vegan and vegetarian diet. So far, so amazing... or it would be but I'm also a mom of two kids and drive them everywhere to their activities and use TONS of plastic to care for them from juice boxes to other food packaging-- not to mention all the disposable diapers, ugh. Not so great.
Here are some simple changes I'm making in my role as both a mom and blogger this #PlasticFreeJuly.
1. No more juiceboxes.
My kids are now old enough to get ice water for themselves, so I realized one simple way I can reduce single-use plastic in my home is to quite buying juice boxes. This #PlasticFreeJuly I plan to experiment with buying glass bottles of apple juice, and seeing if I can teach my kids to fill their reusable cups half with water and half with juice on those occasions when they prefer juice to water. (I also already thrift their clothes, but that's because it just makes sense. You can buy designer children's items for prices cheaper than at Target, and the clothes are often just as brand-new! And much nicer quality!)
2. Purchasing a guppybag to use in the washing machine.
Another change I can make in my role as a mother, is to start washing our blankets and towels and their clothes in a laundry bag. Elizabeth Cline, author of the upcoming sustainable fashion handbook The Conscious Closet calls making a change in how you do laundry your biggest change to make an environmental impact. When washing machines wash our clothes, the motion releases tiny particles of plastic from our largely synthetic clothes. That plastic ends up in the ocean. (Another great point, Elizabeth Cline makes in her book, is that we can conserve a LOT of energy by using cool water to wash our clothes. If tags call for hot water, that actually, only means that is the hottest temperature clothes can stand, NOT what is the necessary setting!)
I just purchased this guppyfriend laundry bag from Patagonia. It's a little pricey, though, so I'll look around for more affordable options. Check back here or on my Instagram @IsabellaDavidVintage.
3. As a beauty blogger, I'm trying to switch my products to glass instead of a bathroom filled up with plastic bottles. All my face and body oils and serums are now in glass! I just switched my body scrub from a plastic tub to this pretty glass jar. It's pricey, though, so I'm still on the hunt for a decent scrub in a glass jar with a nice scent. If you know of one, please let me know in the comments below! One product line that comes in glass bottles and that I really love AND is extremely affordably priced are Ordinary products. I love their hylauronic acid, and use it almost every night. It's available for $6.80 at Sephora here.
4. I'm also planning to contact Fresh Direct. I love ordering our basics from them every other week, and I love that they have started delivering in resubale bags! BUT... our orders are often filled with a lot of extra, pointless plastic packaging. I'd feel better about continuing to order from them if there was less plastic inside as outside our orders. You can make a difference, too: let your favorite cafe or restaurant know you prefer paper to plastic straws. I'm seeing more and more establishments in Philly opting to go for paper over plastic straws, and I can tell popular demand is making the difference!
Are there any ways in your daily life that you can cut back on plastic? It might surprise you how simple the change can be!
Plastic is terrible for the Earth. We know that now. However, we're still learning about the effects of plastic as it breaks down on our soil and in our oceans. We do know that, unfortunately, as plastic breaks down it releases toxic chemicals. More worryingly, you might have heard plastic breaks down into tiny bits called microplastics. Microplastics are tiny bits of any kind of plastic that pollute the environment and which are consumed by fish and end up affecting the food chain, up to and including our own consumption of fish. Read more about why plastic is bad for our Earth here.
Or learn more about taking the #PlasticFreeJuly challenge this July here!
In what ways do you think you might be able to cut plastic out of your life this July? I'd love to hear about it!