July is all about being free. School is out for the summer. We take time off of work. But this July, we’re taking being free to a whole new level.
Plastic Free July was started in 2011 by the Australian organization Plastic Free Foundation. Today, Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution. In 2019, more than 250 million people across 177 countries participated in going plastic free.
Plastic Free July proves that we as individuals can have a massive and positive impact when we all work together. At Lotus Sustainables, our mission is to eliminate plastic from shopping. But Plastic Free July inspires us to refuse to use plastic whenever possible.
From coffee cups to shopping bags, plastic is a convenience most of us take for granted. Plastic Free July challenges us to break out of our plastic patterns and rethink the way we consume.
By now you are probably interested. But still a little nervous. Giving up plastic for a month can feel a little like giving up the internet. How will you get anything done?!
Fear not, our fellow Sustainables! We are here to guide you through going plastic-free. Tip #1, you don’t have to go cold turkey. You can still participate in Plastic Free July by giving up just one or two single-use plastic practices. Who knows! After a full month of refusing to use plastic, you may find great alternatives that can become new habits forever!
So how can you participate in Plastic Free July?
Here are our top 5 plastics picks to refuse to use this July. Let plastic-freedom ring!
1. Disposable Coffee Cups
We know what you’re thinking: “Hold the phone. Single-use coffee cups are not recyclable?!”
While these cups often boast that they are made from recycled materials, they themselves are not recyclable. This is because they are made from different types of materials (paper and plastic) fused together. Think: once fused, it can’t be reused.
Luckily, single-use coffee cups are one of the easiest plastics to avoid! This July, get in the habit of bringing a reusable coffee cup with you in the morning. We know there is some extra work involved because you’ll have to wash the cup when you’re done instead of just tossing it in the trash. But we think that fresh air and clean oceans is a small price to pay for 30 seconds of suds and scrubs.
What if you forget your reusable cup?! All is not lost! Take a few extra minutes in your day to relax at your favorite coffee joint, instead of speeding off with your to-go cup in tow.
Or, skip the coffee that day. This is a great way to guarantee you’ll never forget your reusable coffee cup again.
2. Plastic Water Bottles
Did you know that oil is the number one ingredient in plastic? … Did you know that every year we use 17 MILLION barrels of oil just to make plastic water bottles?
Plus, plastic bottles contain harmful BPA chemicals that leach into the water.
Bet that single-use plastic water bottle doesn’t sound so thirst-quenching now, does it?
The fact is that drinking from plastic water bottles is not as healthy for your body or the planet as sustainable alternatives like glass and stainless steel.
This Plastic Free July, do your body and the planet a favor. Refuse to use plastic water bottles. A simple switch is carrying a reusable alternative with you throughout the day. Or keep an insulated stainless steel water bottle in your car so it stays cold while you’re on the go.
If you forget your bottle, find a drinking fountain. Or borrow a glass from the office or a shop. And if you’re tempted to drink from a plastic bottle, just remember all that oil. Yuck.
3. Plastic Straws
“No straw, please!” It’s easy! Say it with us now. No straw, please!
Americans use 500 MILLION plastic straws every single day. That’s 175 BILLION straws a year. And guess what. That’s right. Plastic straws cannot be recycled. Gasp! That is a lot of trash.
Small and lightweight, plastic straws are more likely than other trash to get away from the pile and into our waterways. Once straws make it to the ocean, they become an even bigger problem. Everyday, animals mistake the straws for food, choke on the plastic tube, and die.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Going plastic-straw free is easy! All you have to do is say, “No straw, please!” Be sure to say this when you order your drink. Even if the straw remains wrapped in paper, once it is served to you, it becomes plastic waste.
More good news is that most drinks do not require a straw to drink and enjoy. But if you just love to sip, you are not alone. Straw-lovers everywhere are taking to reusable alternatives made of bamboo, stainless steel, and glass.
Most reusable straws come with a cleaning brush to keep them fresh. And for ultimate convenience, this reusable straw even collapses into a carrying case that attaches to your keychain. So wherever you go, you’re ready to refuse to use plastic straws. (Excuse me, is that a reusable straw in your pocket or are you just happy to see us?)
4. K-Cup Filters
Custom. Made to order. Just right.
We get it. Single-serve coffee is awesome. …Well, awesome for you. Horrible for the environment. Those little plastic pods add up to a whole lot of plastic pollution.
Not to mention, those little guys are expensive! When you refuse to use plastic K-Cups, you are not only saving the planet, you are saving money too. That’s what we call a win/win.
Don’t worry! You don’t have to fire your personal barista (a.k.a. Kurig) to go plastic-free. Simply purchase a reusable K-Cup filter and a bag of your favorite coffee. Then, each morning, instead of popping in a pod, scoop some ground beans into your reusable filter and brew as usual.
Trust us, no coffee tastes smoother than zero-waste coffee.
5. Plastic Shopping Bags
We love shopping! What we don’t love is what shopping does to the environment. We’re talking about green enemy #1, plastic bags. That’s why we design reusable, time-saving, life-organizing products that are soooooooooooo much better than basic plastic bags.
Can a plastic bag keep your ice cream cold?
Or hold up to 50 pounds?
Can a plastic bag be machine-washed?
Or be carried over your shoulder.
Nope. A flimsy plastic bag can’t do any of those things. But our Lotus Trolley Bag can!