It's Plastic Free July! Did you know that 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the ocean every year? We depend on the ocean for our oxygen supply-- the photosynthesis of phytoplankton generates over half the world's oxygen. Microplastics pollute the food we eat from the sea and hinder photosynthesis of phytoplankton. When we ruin the ocean, we threaten our existence because everything is interconnected. Thankfully, as we become aware of the problem, we can address it. Everyone needs to chip in to help rid our world of plastic waste. The best place to start is to reduce the plastic we bring into our homes on an individual level. Can you pick up any of these habits today?
1. Choose organic, natural fibers in fashion and home textiles. Avoid sequins and glitter.
2. Opt for loose / bulk produce and grains, easily found in farmer’s markets and farm stores. Bring your reusable bags or basket, or reuse old plastic bags if you don't have access to those. We love Olliella's handmade baskets.
3. BYO cup, tote bags, reusable straw, OR choose paper cups and bags for when you forget your reusables. Mermaid Straws are beautiful reusable metal straws.
4. Make your bathroom plastic free! Try solid shampoo, conditioner, and body soap. (Hello, HiBAR!) Ditch the disposable razors for this beauty by Oui the People. And forget the plastic contraption for applying deodorant-- check out this all-natural deodorant in paper packaging from Lalin Et La Sirén.
5. Check out beauty brands packaged in paper or glass. Jacq's and Urb Apothecary are great places to start.
6. Eat at home to avoid take out containers. Reusable takeout options exist locally in Portland, New York, Toronto, and San Francisco. Reuse & repurpose takeout containers when you get them.
7. As your plastic storage containers break, replace them with glass or stainless steel containers. Not only do they last longer, they are healthier for you to eat from. Try Ikea's glass / bamboo combo or just reuse glass jars instead of recycling them.
8. Adjust your mindset. If you think, “What am I going to do with this when it breaks or when I’m done with it?” it may change your decision-making process as you shop.
9. Read up. Kate Nelson aka @plasticfreemermaid has a new book out called I Quit Plastics: And You Can Too. It's full of handy recipes for homemade products and Kate is the boss babe of living plastic free.
10. Keep re-using the plastic you already have, especially if you don’t have the privilege and access to buy metal, wood, or fabric alternatives. Check out these 5 tips and accessible alternatives from sustainability ambassador, Dominique Drakeford.
You've got this! Don't hold back-- brag about your lifestyle changes to your friends. The more we reject plastic as consumers, the more pressure there will be on brands and manufacturers to find alternatives. Our grandparents and great grandparents lived without plastic and so can we!