Plastic-Free July!

In the green community on the Internet, July is a plastic-free month. Basically, it's a month where you try to avoid all the one-use plastics as much as humanly possible. Click here to join the challenge!

Why do we want to go plastic free? Plastic is not biodegradable, can release toxins when heated, and are really bad for aquatic life and aquatic birds. Even though plastic can be recycled, it takes a lot of energy to do so.

I know it can be really hard to completely shut out plastic out of your life so suddenly, but I've come up with several easy solutions we can all adopt to minimize as much plastic from our daily lives as possible. I've kind of touched on this subject before, so if you haven't read that post, here it is!

Such red!

1. Use renewable shopping bags!

In Toronto (and probably other cities as well), many grocery stores will charge 5 cents per plastic bag, so it would be a good idea anyways. The next time you go shopping, bring some reusable bags with you, and say "No thank you" to the ones offered!

Quite a lot of times, when I'm stopping by at the shops, I'm already carrying a school bag, so I just end up putting whatever I picked up in there. The reusable bags are also quite easy to come by, as I usually end up finding lots of them at promotional events. As you can see from the picture, I appears I have many red ones :)

2. Plastic-free food storage

Food storage can be done without plastic wrap. In my opinion, I think it's so wasteful to use that stuff. You use it for a day or two, then throw it away forever. Ugh! Instead of using plastic wrap, you can use glass jars or containers, stainless steel, and even paper! For more ideas on food storage, read this.

3. Plastic water bottles, WHY?!

Same idea as the plastic wrap, but EVEN WORSE. If infuriates me so much to see people carelessly buying cases upon cases of water being bought, and then people only half drinking it before just leaving it to rot (jokes, plastic doesn't rot). The sole reason of the entire bottle of water is to hold 2 cups of water, and then most likely never to be used again. Most of it isn't even recycled.

I know that there are some countries where tap water is literally so dirty that you cannot safely drink it. But, in my glorious country of Canada, as well as many other first world countries, we have the privilege of clean drinking water. Why don't we use that to our advantage?? (Also, would it help in some countries to boil the tap water? I don't know... That's what my mother used to do in China) For more info on bottled water, watch this.

So much energy is put into making the bottles, then shipping the bottles out to put on shelves, only to find that a majority of it comes from the tap anyways. What a waste! And let's not even begin on what happens to it after you're done with it.

The solution? So easy! Use reusable water bottles! It only takes max 30 seconds more out of your day to fill up a reusable water bottle, but will give you a lifetime of happiness, just knowing you didn't contribute carelessly to the destruction of the biosphere. (I am so cheesy, I apologize)

4. Travel mugs

This one is kind of like the water bottles. Cafés like Tim Horton's, Starbucks, McCafé (and probably 95% of all other cafés) all have cups with plastic lids, plastic lining, and sometimes even use plastic straws! So much plastic going towards a drink that you can finish in like 10 minutes! If you buy yourself a coffee 5 times a week, that'll be 20 lids, 20 cups, and maybe 20 coffee stirrers/straws each month! Why would you do that when there's such an easy solution?

Starbucks (and maybe other places) even encourages the use of reusable travel mugs. Every time you buy a drink with a travel mug, you get a 10 cent discount on your drink (that's 26 dollars a year, if you drink 1 coffee 5 times a week)

If you're looking for cute travel mugs, Starbucks themselves have some, and I also really like the ones by KeepCup.

5. Bar soap

As I was doing my readings for this blog post, this one surprised me a little at first. But it makes so much sense when you think about it. Every time you buy another bottle of hand soap, shampoo, shower gel etc, you're buying another bottle of one-use plastic. On the other hand, most soaps come in paper packaging. This one is actually going to be kind of hard for me, though, as I prefer liquid soap to bar soap. But, I would gladly make the change.

In the picture, I have the shea butter one from Dove, and while that's a good one, my FAVOURITE one by Dove is the green tea and cucumber one (sounds strange, but don't hate it till you sniff it). If heaven were a scent, it would smell like the Dove green tea and cucumber scent.

In regards to shampoo and body wash, Lush actually has shampoo bars and body soap that you can buy! I'd never even heard of solid shampoo before this, but apparently, they can last even longer than regular shampoo.

6. BYO Cutlery

Buy here
When I was at university in my first year, I carried around with me a spoon and fork so that I wouldn't have to continuously use new plastic ones every time. I would recommend you guys do this too, makes for a very guilt free meal :)

7. Biodegradable plastic 

Like I said before, usually, I would say use reusable cutlery, but, if you're throwing a big party and you don't have the muscle or time to wash 50+ sets of forks, spoons and knives, you can always spend a little more and go the biodegradable plastic route. (Or use the good ol' bamboo chopstick haha) This should be used as a last resort, though, even though some plastics are labeled as biodegradable, they are often not 100% safe for the environment.

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