Navigating Plastic-Free July During a Pandemic
Plastic Free July is a key initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation that allows us to work towards our vision of seeing a world free of plastic waste. From humble beginnings in 2011, the award-winning Plastic Free July campaign is the result of years of hard work.
It is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Sign up to take the challenge here.
This year, Plastic Free July may look a little different. We have encountered some challenges in minimizing our plastic waste during this global pandemic. Normally, we would be able to bring our own bags and containers to the grocery store, and implement other non-single-use reusables into our daily lives. But as COVID-19 is still among us, disposables are not only the norm but are the only option in many settings (in order to prevent cross-contamination.)
We recognize that these efforts are essential to keeping our communities safe and to minimize the spread of COVID-19 (as it has not gone away yet!) However, there are some things you can be doing to minimize your plastic waste:
Refuse Singe Use Plastics When Dining Out
When dining out or carrying out, make sure to refuse the single use plastic cutlery, straws, and paper napkins. You can also request to go without a plastic to-go bag as well! Even better: cook at home and meal prep! Take out usually means lots of single-use waste.
Offer to Bag Your Own Groceries
Many grocery stores are banning reusable bags at the moment to prevent the spread of illness, but I've found that some places are allowing them as long as you bag them yourself and they don't go behind the counter. Even better: visit your local farmers market!
Buy More Naked Produce!
Pay attention to not just your bags at the grocery store, but the actual packaging your food comes in. Skin the pre-rinsed and pre-chopped broccoli and buy a crown of naked broccoli. Pro tip: don't put your produce in those plastic sacks provided in the produce aisle, there's no plastic needed! Just wash them when you get home.
Skip the To-Go Latte
Many cafe's normally let you bring your own travel mug... well not anymore. Unleash your inner barista and craft your latte at home! Zero waste, and better for your wallet.
Choose Glass or Metals
Grabbing a new olive oil or tomato sauce? Opt for the one in glass or metal versus plastic. It may be a little more expensive, but it will show brands that we prefer their goods be packed in a more sustainable way. Pro tip: make sure that cans and other things packaged in metal say BPA free liner to ensure that the metal isn't lined with any sort of plastic.
Switch to More Sustainable Home + Beauty Products
If you've been anxious to switch to a new and more natural product, there's no better time than Plastic Free July to make the switch! Small swaps like switching to a Bar Dish Soap or a facial cleanser packaged in glass rather than plastic can greatly reduce your footprint.