Plastic Free July Trash Cleanup

It’s Plastic Free July. Are you taking the challenge?

This month millions of people across the globe are taking part in a movement to reduce their plastic waste. It’s called Plastic Free July and it was born out of a need to do something in response to our global waste crisis. The initiative encourages people to use less plastic, make the shift toward long-term environmentally friendly habits and make the world a cleaner place. Just last year, 120 million people in 177 countries took the pledge to participate in the month-long challenge.  

This year we thought it’d be fun to share some tips and tricks to help YOU participate in the challenge. Oh, and did we mention we have our very own zero waste expert on staff this year to help us out? Well, now you know! 

Photo Credit: Simply Zero

If you’re just getting started…

  • Do a trash audit: Understanding where you create the most waste is a powerful first step in identifying the areas to tackle first. 
  • Build a zero waste kit: Single-use plastics are prevalent when we’re on the go. Investing in reusables or putting into use items you already own can help avoid unnecessary waste created when we’re unprepared. Things like a water bottle, travel mug, bamboo utensils, stainless steel or glass straws, and cotton tote bags are great swaps to start with.
  • Detox your home: Not only do traditional cleaning products come in plastic packaging, they’re often laden with toxic chemicals that are harsh on our bodies and the air we breathe. Swap them for a DIY recipe like white vinegar and citrus! 
Photo Credit: Simply Zero

At the grocery store…

  • Instead of reaching for plastic produce or bulk bags, invest in and/or bring a set of reusable cloth bags…and don’t forget your totes! 
  • Can’t find berries outside of a plastic clamshell? Do a little research in your region to see if you can find a local farmer who sells them at a market or from their farm.
  • Learn to shop the bulk section sans plastic: Bring reusable bags, take tare of said bag, fill bag with food item, jot SKU on a note in your phone (or a piece of paper), make sure the cashier removes the tare weight at checkout. Done!
Photo Credit: Simply Zero

In the community…

  • Lead a cleanup: Create a Facebook event or organize an event amongst your neighbors and spend a few hours picking up trash around your community. Take it further by auditing what you find. What story does that tell about your place? 
  • Find or create a zero waste group: Change happens more powerfully when we’re working together. Do a quick search on Facebook or Meetup for a local sustainable living or zero waste group. Can’t find one? Lead the charge! 
  • Go to a town hall meeting: Is your city fighting for a plastic bag or straw ban? If so, it’s likely those issues are being discussed at town hall meetings. Make your statement by showing up or writing a letter to your local constituents. 

And at the end of the day, remember to give yourself a break. Change doesn’t happen overnight and in most places, the systems needed to get by plastic-free don’t exist. So do what you can and celebrate your wins, no matter how big or small! 

If you’re looking to dive deeper than the list written here, follow Rachel and Simply Zero this month on Instagram or Facebook for daily insights, tips, and plastic-free swaps! 

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