Plastic-free July is a global movement aimed at helping people be part of the solution to plastic pollution. The initiative provides resources and ideas to help you reduce single-use plastic waste in your everyday life – at home, work, while out shopping, and even at your local café.
The idea is that by making personal small changes to everyday habits, collectively that will make a massive difference in our communities. So far the movement has inspired over 120 million participants in 177 countries to do just that.
A sea of change
Steadily in New Zealand we’re beginning to see the impact of change. Single-use plastic bags are currently being phased out. The big supermarkets and hardware stores such as Bunnings have already initiated this, and now smaller shops such as dairies and service stations are also coming on board by not offering single-use bags at the checkout, thus removing hundreds of thousands of plastic bags from our landfills and our oceans.
But what else can you do?
Here are a few tips on what you can do to help do your bit:
- Make your own reusable make-up removal cloths. Just take some ordinary facecloths and cut out small circles the size of cotton wool pads. You can then soak these in make-up remover as you need them, or even pre-soak them and put them in a tin to add to your overnight bag if you’re going away for the weekend. Simply rinse and reuse. Much better than single-use wipes – and cheaper too!
- Take your own container to the supermarket. Supermarkets are starting to accept people bringing their own reusable container to store deli items in. This way, you get the perfect amount you want, too.
- Refill your water bottle rather than buying lots of single-use bottles. Our tap water in New Zealand is perfectly good to drink, so it’s a waste of plastic, not to mention money, to keep buying bottled water.
- Buy reusable sanitary pads. This one might not appeal to everyone but if you google them, there are many options to choose from, and they claim to be just as absorbent as the disposable versions, but as they’re made from organic cotton or bamboo fibres, there’s much less waste. Reusable nappies are another great way to reduce waste – and they’ve come a long way since our parents’ days, so they are now a lot more user friendly.
- Pet care - you can now buy compostable poop bags that are better for the environment, and if you are able, just use newspaper or a shovel to pick up your doggy doings, especially at home. You can also look out for quality pet food that comes in paper rather than plastic packaging, or bring your own container to the pet shop for bulk buy chews and bones.
- Cling wrap - reduce your use of plastic cling wrap buy using lunchboxes with separate compartments, or cover your sandwiches with beeswax wrap that can be washed and reused. You can also buy reusable storage lids that fit over different sized bowls if you have leftover food.
Hope these ideas inspire you to take up the plastic-free challenge, throughout July and beyond!
Here at Raw Nature, we’re all about the environment all year round. We only use natural products, organic and local where possible, and we love our natural containers and packaging. No plastic or nasties to be found! So you can feel really good when you buy our products – not only because they’re great for your skin, but they’re great for the planet, too.
We also donate 50c from every stick sold to the NZ Sustainable Coastlines Charity, helping to restore our coastlines, seas and wildlife.
Caroline Patterson is a freelance writer and editor who lives with animals and teenagers, and is wild about nature (and wine).