The water by my house in Florida Keys (pre Hurricane Irma) - normally cleaned this up once a week filling up a whole trash bin worth of plastic
The water by my house in Florida Keys (pre Hurricane Irma) - normally cleaned this up once a week filling up a whole trash bin worth of plastic
Plastic Free July is quickly approaching...

For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a movement started in Australia that challenges individuals to do one of the following:

  1. Not use the top four consumed plastic items (bags, bottles, straws, and coffee cup tops)
  2. Avoid single-use plastic packaging
  3. Go completely plastic-free for the month of July

Even if you don't 100% succeed, the purpose of the challenge is to make you think about the plastic consumed on a daily basis and hopefully teach you ways to decrease your usage.

This will be my fourth year taking the challenge. Since the first time taking it in 2015, I have personally used (with the exception of the week after Hurricane Irma when we didn't have drinkable water in the FL Keys) less than 10 plastic bottles. Out of the top four items, straws are probably my worst because I forget to tell waiters not to bring them half the time.

For the first year ever, I am going to be taking challenge #2 instead of #1 - not using any of the top four items and trying to avoid single-use plastic packaging. I already know there are a few things I won't be changing at least until I run out of them for example with toothpaste and my toothbrush. I did however already get a few things like new deodorant and reusable produce bags to prepare.

If you are interested in taking the challenge, you can learn more about it here with Plastic Free July. You can even check out their list of things to avoid and the impact of those things here.

If you are not interested or are one of those people who think "I recycle so it's okay if I use plastic," check out these "fun" facts about plastic:
  • More than 1 million plastic straws are used every day 
  • More than 1 million plastic bags are used every minute
  • Less than 3% of plastic bags are recycled
  • 99% of sea turtles have plastic in their body
  • More than 700 animals in our oceans are affected by plastic
  • Most disposable coffee cups are not recyclable
  • 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are in our oceans and by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish
  • Less than 30% of water bottles are actually recycled - learn more about water bottles in this super fun Ted Ed Video
While Recycling is great - it is not enough.

Hopefully, this will at least make you think next time you go to the store and forget your reusable bag in the car or are throwing away your 8th plastic bottle of the week.

A couple tips when working to minimize your plastic use are:
  • Always have a few reusable bags in your car or a compact one in your purse
  • Bring a cup or tumbler if you plan to grab a coffee - most coffee stores will use your own and even give you a discount for saving a cup
  • Start carrying your reusable water bottles with you - pretty sure I have one on me 85% off the time
  • Purchase some produce bags off of Amazon to use instead of the plastic ones at your grocery store
  • Bring a bag to pick up trash on walks - you can even use the Clean Swell app to track your collecting which goes into a database for the Ocean Conservancy
  • If you are struggling with how to not use plastic on certain items, research what you can do - for instance, Lunch Skins are an awesome alternative to plastic bags you would use for sandwiches, fruit, chips, etc.
Some products to help you:

At the end of July, I am going to do a blog post with an update on how much plastic I used, what my biggest issues were and how I avoided main plastic items so stay tuned!

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