How to Participate in Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July starts today! If you haven't ever participated in Plastic Free July (or even heard of it), don't worry! I'm here to guide you along on your month long adventure!
Plastic Free July is a month long campaign designed to promote the reduction of plastic production, use, and disposal. It started back in 2011 in Australia and now has millions of participants from around the world. What's great about this campaign is that there are no "rules" in order to participate, only recommendations, challenges, and guides. This will be my fourth year participating in Plastic Free July! In the past, I have attempted to go completely plastic free in my purchases for the whole month. That meant I tried not to purchase anything that contained plastic whether it was recyclable or reusable. And let me tell you, it was a little hard!
But don't feel intimidated by that because most people only select a few items to try to avoid (e.g. plastic water bottles, straws, or take-out containers), at least at the beginning of the month. It can be very helpful to participate in an online challenge to keep you on track all month long, especially if this is your first time trying to avoid plastic at all. Below I've listed quite a few online campaigns and guides that can help you stay motivated and teach you about plastic avoidance! Participating in Plastic Free July is a great way to start your journey towards zero waste :)
Zero Waste Wisdom - 31 Ways to Ditch Plastic for Good
Last year I published a guide in honor of Plastic Free July with 31 ways that individuals can swap out plastic items for reusable ones. The guide discusses changes to make in your home as well as DIY options, our relationship with waste and recycling, and bulk shopping. For those of you that don't want to have to check your email daily for updates on challenges or visit a website regularly, just save this list and start with whichever one inspires you! Feel free to try to include a new step every day or just pick a few to sustain for the whole month!
Balm Baby - Switch to Sustainable Campaign
This Plastic Free July campaign is especially good for those people that might need a little more than just internal motivation to start switching away from plastic products. Balm Baby!, along with many other sponsors, provide give-aways and prizes to participants showing sustainable switches in the home. To participate, sign up online, join their Facebook group, and post your photos to social media to be entered! They also provide participants with suggestions for switches to make during their two week long challenge. Their official "competition" isn't open this year yet* but you can follow them on Instagram to stay updated and join their Facebook group or their Facebook event for now!
*07/04/18: Their sign-up is officially active! You can read about their challenge here or sign up directly here!
Plastic Free July - Tips and Quizzes
The official Plastic Free July website is a great place to find information about the general campaign, plastic free living, and sustainable options. First off, make sure to sign up to be "counted" as a participant this month! By signing up, you'll also receive emails with suggestions for plastic free alternatives all month long. They also offer a quiz to help identify where you are producing the most plastic in your home as well as an Action Picker for ideas!
Going Zero Waste - Campaign for Kids!
Kathryn Kellog, author of the blog Going Zero Waste, published a 31 day zero waste challenge specifically designed for kids! Although originally published for Zero Waste October in 2017, it works wonderfully for Plastic Free July as well! Each day Kathryn introduces a new way to reduce waste at home and at school and specifically discusses the ways in which kids can implement these practices. If you sign up for her website, an eBook is also available as a guide for teachers that may want to implement these lessons in their classrooms.
How are you participating in Plastic Free July? Are you following a program, guide, or campaign? Or simply reducing plastic in your life as much as possible? I look forward to hearing about all our challenges and successes throughout the month!