Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July is a global campaign and movement that is open to everyone around the world to take part. It encourages everyone to be a part of the solution to the plastic pollution crisis. Participants are supported and inspired to reduce plastic in their everyday life and focus on more sustainable options. The major message is to refuse single use plastics and combat the rising levels of plastic in the ocean.
For some inspiration you can read my experience in being Plastic Free for a Day in 2020 here.
Beginner Plastic Free
If you are just starting on your journey to reduce plastic then first and foremost, welcome! A lot of people feel really overwhelmed when they go to start to reduce waste because it is so intertwined in our everyday lives. From the plastic bottles that fill our bathroom cabinets to the shrink-wrapped plastic throughout the kitchen, plastic is everywhere. But do not despair because you are not alone on this journey, with the battle against plastic pollution having ramped up in the last few years the plastic free alternatives have been seeping into the mainstream. Here are a few really simple ways that you can begin reducing plastic:
Bamboo Toothbrushes - Next time you are changing over your toothbrush ditch the plastic handled toothbrush and opt for one made from bamboo. Bamboo is both biodegradable and sustainable!
Reusable Water Bottle - Stop buying bottled water when it is free from the tap! Get a good reusable water bottle which you can refill over and over again, also look up the Refill App on Google Play or the Apple App Store and you can find all your local places offering free refills!
Reusable Travel Mug - For the next time you are craving a Starbucks or Costa, remember to take your own travel mug as they can make your favourite hot drink without the disposable cups!
Reusable Shopping Bags - Single use carrier bags are the scourge of the ocean and so unnecessary! There are a number of great alternative reusables bags that you can use instead such as back packs, tote bags and canvas shopping bags.
- Beeswax Wraps - It's time to stop throwing money away and replace your roll of clingfilm/ plastic wrap in the kitchen with beeswax wraps. Beeswax wraps are all natural wraps that can be used to cover or wrap food to keep it fresh. They are washable and can be used over and over again, they'll last around a year and once they have been worn out you simply cut them up and pop them in the compost.
Proficient Plastic Free
To those of you who have already dipped their toes in and have begun making some basic plastic swaps around your home and in your day to day lives. It can sometimes be difficult to work out your next step, well not to worry we have a few tips to take you one step closer to being plastic free:
Shampoo/ Conditioner & Soap Bars - Soap bars, as well as shampoo & conditioner bars, remove the need for plastic bottles and pumps. Most shampoo bars will come in a cardboard box with minimal packaging and they work just as well as your normal liquid shampoo/ conditioner. It can take a trying a few different brands as some are more suited to different hair types.
Toothpaste Tablets - So you have probably already switched your toothbrush from a plastic handle to a bamboo one, but what about your toothpaste? Did you know that there is a plastic free replacement for those too! Toothpaste Tablets come in reusable glass or plastic containers that you can get refilled, they are just as effective when brushing your teeth but no more frustratingly non recyclable toothpaste tubes!
Plastic Free Shopping - When it comes to shopping for groceries it can seem almost impossible to avoid plastic and to one degree or another, depending on your diet, it can be very difficult. There are a few ways you can work to reduce plastic during your weekly shop, the first is by visiting local markets/ farmer markets where fresh produce is usually available in paper bags or you can take your own containers. Another is to look at plastic free alternatives in supermarkets, as people are becoming more conscious of plastic waste, brands are starting to shift to plastic free alternatives, so take a look and see if there is a glass or cardboard packaging alternative for the food you are buying. And to take it one step further, don't forget that you can use the Terracycling scheme for some food packaging, learn more about that here.
- Stainless Steel Razors - Many of you may have already taken the big step of moving to a stainless steel safety razor, but we do understand that they can be a little intimidating. These razors are just as safe to use, if not potentially safer, than your standard disposable/ plastic razor, the biggest benefit is that the razor will last you a lifetime and the blades that you change can be recycled! If you have already started using safety razors, then take a look at the other products you use when you shave, do you use shaving foam/ cream? You can switch from the canned ones to bars which will reduce plastic and give you a natural boost too.
Advanced Plastic Free
Now, if you have been a long term member of the plastic free community then you have likely been working incredibly hard to cut single use & pointless plastic out of your life. It takes a commendable amount of effort and commitment to continuously reduce & avoid plastic. You should be incredibly proud of yourself for sticking to it, even if you slip up from time to time, working through it and doing your best it what will make the difference. We do have a few tips for if you want to take it to the next level, but we won't be too surprised if you have already implemented them:
Fast Fashion Choices - When it comes to choosing new clothing and outfits take a moment to check and see what they are made from and check the quality. You want to be investing in clothes that are going to last and are made from more natural materials. Clothes made from polyester and other manmade fabrics are known to release microfibres into the water as they are washed. There are washing bags and filters available that can reduce the amount of these microfibres released in a wash.
Homemade To Avoid Plastic - If you are like me and have a sweet tooth it can be hard to avoid plastic when it comes to your favourite snacks. But I have found that many of my baking supplies can be bought at refill shops and as I greatly enjoy baking I have taken to spending some extra time during the week to make my own sweet treats, all of which are plastic free! The same goes for dog treats, I am going to start experimenting with recipes for healthy dog treats that I can make at home whilst avoiding plastic. This step takes a lot of commitment and isn't always going to be an option for everyone but the more you can try to do to reduce the better it is for our planet.
Shop Local & Support Small Business - This is in place of online shopping. More often than not when you are shopping online with large retailers and international shops your parcel will arrive with plastic, this is generally because they want to protect the products from water damage or because they are fragile. If you shop locally you can cut out all the plastic packaging plus you'll be supporting your local shops which likely need some support after the last few years. If you do shop online then you can reuse any plastic packaging for if you need to post anything in future, or there are some companies that now take thin bags such as the postal ones to be recycled.
For July 2021 we are excited to announce that we are going to be supporting Shark Trust once again! In 2020 we were able to donate over $260 to their No Limits campaign and this year we cannot wait to support them again.
Not only do they research and highlight the problems facing shark species but they actively work to find real-world solutions to these problems. From lobbying for species protection through legislation and conservation action to implementing sustainable fishery management and responsible trade.
You can learn more about Shark Trust and support them directly here.
Free Bamboo Cutlery With All Orders
As part of our Plastic Free July campaign we are offering a free pack of bamboo cutlery with all orders placed at Ocean Helper.
This reusable Bamboo Cutlery set is crafted from sustainable bamboo and can be reused over and over again, once it has come to the end of its life they can be broken up and put in your home compost to biodegrade.
PLUS this month we are very excited to be supporting Shark Trust again, 10% of profits will be donated to them from every order this month.
*Please note this offer will not work with discount codes.