Plastic Free July Tips

Plastic Free July was actually the reason that Little Eco Lady came to fruition. I happened to be in Australia during Plastic Free July, I had never even heard of it. I guessed it was aimed at reducing plastic, but that was as far as it went. I decided to start an Instagram account to document my zero waste journey.

My first night in Sydney, Australia at the Vivid light show

Once I got back to the UK, I soon realised that zero waste is a pretty unachievable goal in our current society. That didn’t stop me from reducing my waste as much as possible though. That looks different for everyone, it even looks different for me depending what else is going on in my life at the time, how I’m feeling mentally, how I’m feeling physically. It’s affected by so many things, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about that.

I know that sometimes the thought of a lifestyle overhaul can feel a bit overwhelming. Personally when I have too bigger goal, I don’t end up doing anything, as I don’t know where to start. So I have come up with 3 tips that I hope will help you to embark on your zero waste journey.

My first piece of plastic on day 1 of Plastic Free July

So, here are my 3 tips that I wish I knew before starting Plastic Free July:

  1. Use what you have

It can be pretty depressing once you start to realise just how much plastic is in your life. I hear you. You may get the urge to get rid of it all, and replace it with more environmentally friendly options. Please don’t. If you still have a bag of disposable razors left, use those up before buying yourself a safety razor. I’ll let you into a secret – I got the below razor shipped from the UK to Australia during Plastic Free July (face palm).

Got a plastic dust pan and brush? use it until it breaks. Awareness is the most important thing, so once you have become aware of the issue, that’s half the battle. Maybe use the time to spend some time researching what you’ll buy when it breaks, helping you to find a good quality product and avoiding impulse buying.

My safety razor that I didn’t need at the time that I got it

2. Do a bin audit

What’s a bin audit I hear you say? Basically the day before your rubbish is due to be collected, cover your floor in newspaper. Put your waste into categories. That could be plastics, paper, aluminium etc. You might prefer to separate, bathroom, bedroom, kitchen waste. Whatever feels right for you. Then look at what’s in front of you. Is it mainly food waste? Is it takeaway packaging? Make a note, and start to try and think of switches that you could make. Don’t panic, as I said earlier – just starting to become more aware will make a huge difference. If you don’t know what the problem areas are for you, then how can you address them? Remember to include recyclable products too. I quickly learnt when I started this journey, that when it comes to plastic – recycling isn’t really a sustainable solution. More on that in another blog.

My first bin audit when I arrived back in the UK

3. Have fun

I know trying to reduce your plastic waste doesn’t sound like an enjoyable experience, but you’ll get far more from it if you treat it as an experiment as opposed to being too serious about it. Of course, it’s a serious matter – we are in the midst of a climate crisis, with our earth and our future at stake after all, but I personally find that I make far more lasting changes if I’m gentle with myself. Just get curious. It’s a journey, not a check list. I started this two years ago, and it’s still evolving and adapting – life doesn’t stay the same after all, and neither does our journey to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Enjoying taking my reusable bottle on Sydney’s coastal walks

To give you what I hope is some inspiration. Pretty much all of the changes that I made during my first Plastic Free July are still in place in my life. Except now I don’t even think twice about them, they’re a habit. It took very little time for me to overwrite my old habits with new ones. Especially with the more I learnt, and the more passionate I became.

Here’s the link to the official Plastic Free July website, where you can sign up and find out more about the challenge – Register for the official Plastic Free July Challenge

Good luck! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, I’d love to hear below whether you found these tips helpful?

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