The world has a BIG plastic problem, and unfortunately, we’re all part of it. Taking part in Plastic Free July is a great way to kick start your journey towards consuming less single-use plastic and using more reusable products. What’s great about this month is that it’s not a chore – once you start finding solutions to the huge amount of disposable plastic in our daily lives, it becomes more and more empowering to make use of them!
Here at TAMGA HQ we have been on a mission this month to not only eliminate single-use plastics from our own routine, but to find as many alternatives and tips to help make plastic-free living more accessible. Throughout the month we’re sharing these tips on our Instagram stories but we’re also gathering them here on the blog.
For the month of July, we will be sharing a three-part series that will include tips on how to ditch the plastic at home, in self-care, and on the go. Read on to find out how we’re ditching the disposables for good!
At Home in the KitchenFruit and Veggies Bags
Rather than buying fruit and veggies wrapped in clear plastic packaging bring a beeswax wrap or re-usable produce bag to the grocery store or market. You can find a great selection of beeswax wraps by Abeego, and we love the organic cotton produce bags from CredoBags. You could test out your creative side and make a fun DIY project out of it!
Peanut Butter and Dry Foods
We have a problem with peanut butter – and can’t imagine giving it up! Unfortunately, many kitchen staples come packaged in plastic - from milk, to yogurt, raisins, pasta, beans, rice and many more. This one’s easy and will actually save you money! Invest in some glass jars and fill them up at a store that sells bulk goods. You can use them for items like beans, spices, pasta, baking needs and more (like our vice, peanut butter). Ask google about a bulk barn, whole foods or natural foods store near you.
** Tip for Canadians - Bulk Barn is giving 20% off everything until July 24th if you bring your own containers!
Meat and Fish
Rather than buying meat or fish that’s wrapped in plastic from the grocery store, head on over to your local butcher or fish shop with your own Tupperware and containers in hand. Anywhere we've been to has gladly canceled out the weight of our container and put the items inside of it. If no container – ask them to use paper.
Bread and Crackers
Bread is another grocery item that often comes in paper combined with plastic (they should really get rid of that see-through plastic part!). Head to your local bakery (most grocery stores have a bakery section) and bring your own reusable bread bag or paper bag. In doing this you’ll be preventing the use of at least 150 plastic bags every year! Crackers are a tricky one, if they’re part of your daily snack routine then try making these incredible sourdough crackers. Baking bread or crackers can be tricky at first but trust us, they'll be the freshest and best-tasting you'll ever have!
Plastic-Wrapped Granola Bars & Candy
You’ve got a sweet tooth and really want a granola or candy bar - don't worry, cutting down on your plastic intake does not mean you need to miss out on the sweets. Head on over to your local grocer with your own glass jars or Tupperware. Most stores have a bulk candy section, which will help satisfy that sweet tooth. Did you know that food wrappers are the number two most common item found on beaches worldwide? Great to know that you don’t have to contribute to it!
Herbs in Plastic
Create a home herb garden! You’ll be surprised by how easy and convenient it is. A bonus, it’s also great for your budget. Whether you have a small windowsill, a deck or a backyard, it’s easy to grow your own in-season produce and herbs. Check out this link to help you with the growing process. Once you’re rolling with the herbs, consider trying your own micro-greens!
Yogurt & Milk
Another plastic culprit you might not have thought of is your dairy or non-dairy milk's, yogurt, kefir, butter, etc. If you can buy these products in a glass jar at your local grocery store or market, do so (the organic milk we buy has a deposit on the glass bottle, making it cheaper than other alternatives). What we’ve done this month is turn this challenge into a great DIY learning project! This month we’ve made our own almond milk, oat milk and yogurt, and the best part is that it’s much fresher and healthier than store-bought!
At Home Cleaning SuppliesToilet Paper & Paper Towels:
Unfortunately this month we found it nearly impossible to find these products not wrapped in plastic! Ultimately we researched a bit and found two plastic-free brands: Caboo products and Who Gives a Crap. Both come in a material that can be recycled and ordered online. One eco tip though - try to replace your paper towels with napkins, rags, and cloths that are reusable, washable and plastic-free!
Opt to make your own cleaning products this month! You would be surprised at the number of harmful chemicals that are in cleaning products. Making your own isn’t just environmentally friendly but also the healthier option. There’s a lot of recipes online with natural ingredients so have fun with it! We’ve been using soap nuts and a dishwashing block for hand washing dishes and they’ve been working great.
We all have that one stubborn pan in the kitchen that requires some scrubbing power. Rather than using the disposable plastic scrubbers (not single-use, but still a pesky source of plastic waste) use a coconut coir brush made from natural coconut fibers or a natural fiber pot brush. These can be purchased at your local natural foods store or on amazon.
Most laundry detergent is bad for the environment in general, it also comes in a plastic bottle, or a cardboard box lined in plastic (making it not recyclable). Opt for soap flakes, which are flakes of pure castile soap concentrate (which comes from a blend of pure coconut and sunflower vegetable oil), or soap nuts as mentioned above. And make sure to consider the impact of micro-fibre pollution from synthetic clothing by using a Guppyfriend washing bag! Also, ditch the laundry anti-static sheets and replace them with wool dryer balls. We’ve laid out the problem and some solutions in another blog post that you can read here.
Got some more tips on how to avoid single-use plastic at home? Let us know in comments and be sure to check out part II of the Plastic Free July series!