plastic water bottles - plastic free july challenge

Plastic was designed to last forever – to never break down. In theory, that probably sounded like a great idea. But nowadays, we use plastic for everyday disposable purposes. So which is it – forever or disposable (temporary)?

While some plastic is recycled, most of it ends up in landfills. Check out these statistics about plastic production and usage:

  • Did you know that there was more plastic produced in the first 10 years of this century than all of the entire previous century?
  • Sadly, it’s estimated that 8 million tons of plastic wind up in our oceans each year. This plastic endangers the lives of sea creatures and has created the Great Garbage Patch.
  • What’s more, it’s estimated that by 2050, we’ll have more plastic than fish in our world’s oceans. That’s a pretty startling projection. Remember that most of that plastic does come from people on land.

Live Plastic-Free

Can our planet sustain this rate of plastic waste? Probably not. Fortunately, we have more and more eco-warriors standing up to say no. We shared a list who have chosen to live plastic-free. These real people are just like you – and you can do what they do too.

Many of them started their plastic-free journey by participating in Plastic Free July. That annual challenge is happening right now – and you can join in. It’s an easy way to get your feet wet with a plastic-free lifestyle. You’ll learn a lot about how you live and how much of a footprint you’re really leaving on this planet.

What Is the Plastic Free July Challenge?

The Plastic Free July Challenge has a very simple principle – attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July. It is a real eye-opener for most people about how much single-use plastic they really consume.

“Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the problems and amount of single-use disposable plastic in our lives and challenges people to do something about it.”

When you take the challenge to join Plastic Free July, you’ll need to look at your consumption habits and plan how to change the ones that bring you in contact with single-use plastic.

The great thing is that the challenge is flexible. You can choose to participate for the entire month, only a week, or even just a day. It’s all up to you. However long you choose to participate, it’s likely to be an eye-opening experience for you.

live plastic free july pledge participants
Image Credit: Plastic Free July Challenge (Facebook)

Tips for avoiding and refusing single-use plastic

We come into contact with single-use plastic every single day of our lives. It’s everywhere. But, planning ahead can have a tangible impact.  Here are just a few areas to focus on for living plastic-free.

  1. Make sure you always carry reusable bags in your car. As soon as you unload your groceries, put the bags back in your car. Don’t get stuck without them!
  2. Be sure you have enough reusable glass or stainless steel water bottles and to-go coffee cups on hand. Carry enough water in your water bottles so you aren’t tempted to buy a bottle when you’re on the go. Make sure to keep a clean to-go coffee cup in your car in case you want to make a pit stop at the local coffee shop.
  3. Invest in some reusable produce bags. One area many people struggle with is the plastic bags in the produce section of the grocery store. There are plenty of reusable options on the market now. In addition, make sure you aren’t buying pre-cut produce. Save the plastic waste and cut your own.
  4. Cut back on packaged foods. Even foods that come in cardboard boxes often have a plastic bag inside. Instead, head to the bulk bins at your local grocery store, and don’t forget those reusable produce bags. They’ll work for bulk grains, nuts, and more too.
  5. Stock your supply of glass or stainless steel straws. Many people carelessly use plastic straws thinking they are so small that they don’t matter. Their impact adds up so make sure you have reusable options on hand.

These are just some of the biggies. Fortunately, when you sign up for the Plastic Free July challenge, they’ll email you ideas, tips, and recipes each week in July. You’ll likely be grateful for the support on your journey!

live plastic free july
Image Credit: Plastic Free July Challenge (Facebook)

Another thing you can do to pitch in during Plastic Free July is to pick up plastic litter. It’ll help make you more aware of how prevalent plastic is in our society, and you’ll get to help the planet a little bit more. Every piece of trash you pick up is one less potential piece that ends up in a landfill or in our oceans.

Join the Plastic Free July Challenge

Are you ready to make the commitment to a Plastic-Free July? If you are, head over to the Plastic Free July and take the challenge. Along with millions of people, schools, and organizations from around the world – we can all be part of the solution.

Feature image credit: amstockphoto / Shutterstock

By Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering, founder of Green Moms Media and essential oil fanatic, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former corporate marketing communication manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life.