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June 12, 2019 3 min read

Have you ever heard of Plastic Free July? It's not quite the end of June yet, but we thought a plug for this awesome month-long challenge would be timely and a great way to continue building a community around the waste-free movement (something we're super passionate about here at MAIKA). 

Plastic Free July began in Australia in 2011 and has since grown to include more than 170 countries and countless participants who pledge to limit (or, ideally, eliminate) their plastic use for an entire month to see just how much of an impact they can make. Although thinking about eliminating as much plastic as possible for a whole month seems daunting, we hope these tips will provide you with a starting point to confidently reduce waste in your life -- during Plastic Free July and beyond.

Of course, you don't have to participate in the challenge to reduce your plastic use. In fact, if you're up for committing to plastic reduction year round, that's even better! Plastic Free July can serve as an introduction to low waste living if you're new to it, or, for those who have been at it for years, it's an excuse to "up the ante" and see where you can reduce waste even more. 

What do you say? Will you join in

1. Swap your single use cups for reusable ones

If you're like most Americans, you grab a cup of coffee in the morning (and/or as an afternoon pick-me-up) and refuel with some kind of plastic bottled beverage throughout the day. Whether its Gatoraid, iced tea, or water, plastic bottles can easily be avoided -- and disposable coffee cups too -- through remembering to bring your own. Carry a reusable water bottle and coffee cup with you whenever you go out to eliminate the necessity of a plastic bottle. 

2. Keep to-go containers on hand for takeout

Eating out can become very wasteful when you need to take leftovers with you. Instead of relying on the traditional styrofoam or plastic containers to store your leftovers, bring a tupperware or glass container with you and ask for your leftovers to be stored inside. 

We LOVE this simple zero-waste car kit from @jazzyhwang

3. Make a "zero-waste car kit"

Most waste happens when you're on the go, so why not throw together a quick and easy zero-waste kit for your car? Keep your reusable mug and water bottle, some cloth shopping bags, a few cloth napkins, and a set of cutlery from your kitchen in a basket or bag in the car so you're ready when you need to prevent waste. 

4. Skip the straw

Another easy swap is to simply ask for no straw at restaurants and bars. If you love using straws, buy a stainless steel or bamboo one and add it to your zero waste kit. 

5. Reuse things you'd normally toss 

You know those old jars from spaghetti sauce or the containers that lunch meat comes in? Most would simply toss them (or recycle them) when they're done using them, but reusing them is the most sustainable option. Keep your old containers to store leftovers, dry food, spices, veggies in the fridge and more!

What else are you planning to do to reduce your waste this summer? 

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