Plastic Free July - a month-long challenge to reduce or completely stop your single-use plastic to show how simple it can be - has come to a close, but what if you could take the new habits you formed and implement them every month? The point of the challenge, after all, is to make us aware of just how much plastic we use on a daily basis and, then, to give us the tools to slowly reduce our daily waste.
We thought, why can't Plastic Free July be every month?
Of course, completely avoiding plastic in our world is almost impossible, but with a few easy habit changes, you can drastically cut down on your single-use plastics and reduce your footprint and live a healthier (and more budget-friendly) lifestyle while you're at it.
Here are a few of our zero waste essentials that you can put to use even when Plastic Free July comes to an end:
Image via Yuhme
A Reusable Waterbottle:
We shared in our last blog post that Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year. You have to stay hydrated, of course, but adding to that number every day is doing more harm than good. Instead, consider investing in a reusable water bottle that you can toss in your car or purse and always be ready to hydrate no matter where you are.
We love Yuhme for their beautiful designs and easy to carry shape, but also for their claim of being the "world's most eco-friendly water bottle". Their bottles are made from ultra-renewable sugarcane that is CO2 negative and fully recyclable. Furthermore, each bottle purchased provides 6 months of clean water for communities in need.
Reusable Sandwich Bags
Whether it's packing lunches for work or school or packing a quick picnic, ziplock bags are common household staples. The truth is though, that these single-use items are rarely recycled, and most can only be recycled at special centers that recycle plastic bags. A much more convenient and earth-friendly option is to purchase a few reusable food storage bags that you can use over and over and over.
Stasher Bags are perfect for storing sandwiches, carry on travel essentials, chips, bulk items at a grocery store, or anything that you'd use a ziplock bag for.
Beeswax Wraps for Saving Leftovers
As an easy substitute for plastic wrap, beeswax wraps, like these ones from Wonderful Things, can be used to wrap unused fruit, placed over bowls or leftover dishes, or even to wrap a sandwich. You simply use the warmth of your hand to stick the papers to the dish and rinse it off when you're done.
A Reusable Coffee Mug
Much like water bottles, we go through an insane amount of disposable coffee cups every year, many of which aren't recycled or are unable to be recycled due to a thin layer of polyethylene on the inside to help insulate the drink. As an alternative, simply buy a mug you can take with you on all of your coffee shop adventrues and you'll never have to waste a paper cup again.
We love KeepCup because they're sturdy, and the lid can be sealed so you can put the cup in your bag or car cup holder without it leaking or spilling.
Reusable Shopping Bags
Plastic shopping bags are another daily source of waste that is easy to reduce by bringing your own reusable shopping bags. Reusable shopping bags come in many shapes and materials, but we're partial to our Carry All Totes or Market Totes.
Reducing your daily waste doesn't have to take a month-long challenge. We love how implementing small changes like these simple swaps can make a huge difference in the long run.
What eco-friendly swaps are you making?