Plastic Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution! The Plastic Free July website has loads of very helpful ideas for reducing general plastic consumption, and particularly single-use plastics. This year they have a really helpful calendar called 31 Days of Plastic Free Choices which shares some popular ideas for reducing plastic waste.
For me, Plastic Free July it's a chance to focus on my personal plastic-free pledge, to reduce my plastic consumption even further, and to celebrate my plastic-free successes so far!
I've been inspired by the Plastic Free Choices calendar, and have come up with a few ideas for each week in July to get you thinking about reducing your plastic footprint, in particular how to reduce your plastic waste when raising a family and have little ones.
Here's the calendar with some highlighted which I will explore next!
Week 1: Switching from bottle to bar
Changing from plastic bottled shampoos and conditioners to bar shampoo and solid skincare has been one of the best plastic-reducing decisions I've ever made! It's a really good habit to get into, and is super easy. After a while, you forget that you ever bought plastic bottled items. Over 552 million plastic shampoo bottles reportedly get discarded every year (YIKES!) so we need to start changing this trend.
I really love the AWARD-WINNING hair care products from The Solid Bar Company. They offer brilliant value, and a great range which are suitable for all the family. I use the sweet orange shampoo for my son and I love the frankincense one. Not only are they plastic-free, but they are good for the environment and for our hair in other ways too...
... Rebecca from The Solid Bar Company, which sell exclusively solid skin and haircare, says "Our salon approved shampoo bars are pH balanced (not made with soap ingredients or other surfactants that are too alkaline) and our Conditioner bars contain actual cationic ingredients to condition your hair, close the hair shaft, reduce friction and create shine. These bars also contain luxury proteins, keratins, pro Vitamin B5 and plant-based silicon alternatives – all luxury hair loving ingredients that you’d find in top end salon products that we have gone to great lengths to find in palm-oil free, vegan and biodegradable forms, giving you a fantastic hair experience without compromise."
Week 2: Reducing plastic in the bathroom
When I had my son, I realised very quickly that there are a lot of products on the market for baby bath times that are entirely plastic. It is very hard to source alternatives, in my experience!
BATH TOYS: I found that great alternatives to plastic bath toys are totally plastic-free NATURAL RUBBER toys! My son still loves to play with his natural rubber toys in the bath, and he turns 5 this year! Bath time is so much fun with these toys; they encourage sensory development and imaginative play, too.
BATH SPONGES: When I was little, we always had a sponge in the bath, but I didn't realise at the time that they were entirely made of plastic! I don't think that there were many alternatives. These days, we are lucky to have plastic-free sponge options! My son loves this little Plastic Free Natural Konjac Sponge, partly because it is pink (!), partly because it fits snuggly in his little hand, and partly because it's really soft! And we also use this Plastic Free Bath None Sponge, which is a handmade, eco friendly, plastic-free, reusable alternative to a disposable bathroom sponge.
Week 3: Considering cloth nappies
Trying out cloth nappies (or washable nappies) can make a serious reduction to your plastic usage. It's not for everyone, and I know it's a real commitment. I used washable nappies that were given to me by my sister after she'd had her children, and handed down from our aunty to her before that, so they are well used nappies! As it should be! I really encourage anyone to give it a go, when you get into a rhythm with it, it's easier than one might fear!
And (yet another horrid statistic...) an estimated three billion nappies are thrown away every year in the UK, accounting for 2-3% of all household waste. Blimey.
In the Plastic Free Baby shop I offer various plastic-free nappy options - some washable nappies on the market are actually made of polyester so be careful of that (can shed microplastics when washed!). I sell prefolds, flat cloth nappies, and muslins, which can be combined with reusable wipes as nappy boosters.
Week 4: Choosing reusable menstrual products
The average person who bleeds uses 4 plastic, single use pads a day on average. The average period lasts for approximately 5 days, so that's 240 single use, plastic pads going into landfill each year! (another YIKES!) Trying out a reusable menstrual product, such as these reusable menstrual pads, is a good eco-friendly alternative - these are plastic free, machine washable and even biodegradable!
Just a few ideas to get you going (or keep you going, depending on where you are in your plastic reduction journey!). Let me know how get on with Plastic Free July.
And before you go! Plastic Free Baby is running a giveaway this Plastic Free July.
Enter our GIVEAWAY to be in with a chance of winning TWO PRIZES… plastic-free goodie bags - one for baby/toddlers and one for mummy! With goodies from women-led eco businesses! The total value of the prizes is £67.80!!
To be in with a chance of winning, just… head to Instagram and follow the giveaway instructions! The competition closes at midnight on Friday 29th July 2022
Happy Plastic Free July, everyone!