Zero waste chef and author of More Plants, Less Waste Max La Manna shares his tips for Plastic-Free July.
We are kicking off Plastic Free July with a few simple and easy tips to living a life with less waste. This week sees the start of the movement, encouraging people to consider their everyday plastic usage and to consider small lifestyle changes which help to reduce their impact.
“Going plastic free this July can be about selecting one or two single-use plastic items to refuse.
A small change can make a big impact.”
There is plenty of discussion surrounding the topic of plastic, especially focusing on how we are drowning the planet in our own plastic waste. The knowledge that every piece of plastic that has ever been created still exists on the planet is commonly understood; however with recent studies indicating that humans are ingesting a credit card size worth of plastic a week (around 2,000 tiny pieces of plastic), plastic free July is necessary for both our planet’s and our own health!
Single-use plastic is seemingly everywhere, but the conversation surrounding plastics is becoming more and more optimistic thanks to brands and organisations focusing on reconsidering plastic waste for alternatives uses. This July, we are encouraging everyone to consider these alternatives, leaving them out of your shopping trolley and opting for plastic-free options. Saying no to plastic is easier than ever, especially with these simple tips on how to best live plastic-free:
Simple Plastic-Free Tips
- No Plastic Water Bottles – Over 1 million plastic bottles are consumed per minute. Perhaps one of the easiest swaps is remembering to bring your own bottle with you wherever you go – much like a mobile phone or wallet. Once you start, it will soon become second nature.
- No Plastic Cutlery – I’m 99.9% certain that in your home you have reusable stainless steel cutlery. Taking this with you when you head off to work during the week or out on a picnic with friends and family means easily avoiding disposable plastics. When getting lunch to-go, kindly remind them that you won’t be needing their single-use cutlery.
- No Plastic Bags – It’s estimated that 4 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide annually. Only 1% of bags are returned for recycling. Pop some reusable bags in the boot of your car or handbag so that they’re always on hand when you’re out and about.
- No Plastic To-Go Cups – Plastic likes to hide in products that you may have never have thought about, like coffee cups. Most cups, despite looking like paper, have a very thin lining on the inside making them very difficult to recycle and so they end up in landfill. 500 billion plastic cups are disposed every year, while 16 billion coffee cups are disposed of. Bring your own cup with you for your morning oat milk latte.
- No Plastic Straws – In the US alone, 500 million plastic straws are used every single day. When you’re ordering drinks, simply staff know that you’d like “no straw, please” and carry reusable straw with you when you can.
Extra Steps to try…
- Use The Bulk Section – Shopping for ingredients without packaging may seem like one of the most difficult challenges, but if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with a nearby bulk store, you can purchase plastic free ingredients from nuts and seeds to pasta and rice.
- Go To The Farmer’s Market – Buying plastic-wrapped or packaged fruits and vegetables may be convenient, but unfortunately it creates waste. Head to a farmer’s market or organic store where plastic packaging is less often used. Not only does this limit the plastic-wrapped groceries you’re buying, it can also be a lovely weekend ritual.
- Avoid Snacks In Plastic Packaging – Snacks are always a matter of convenience and so are often wrapped in plastic. Avoid the temptation of pre-packaged treats and instead make your snacks fresh at home.
- Pick Up Litter – Whether this is on a small scale of picking up five pieces when you’re out and about walking or running, or taking part in an organised beach clean. There is such a satisfaction in picking up litter in your community or at the beach. Just be sure to bring a pair of gloves!
- Make Your Own – Cartons used for milk and juice are made by combining cardboard, plastic and foil, making them incredibly difficult to recycle. Opt for glass jars or, if you have the time, try making your own. Plant-based milks can be made from blending nuts and grains with water, stock from food scraps.
Planning a picnic anytime soon? Here’s Max’s guide to planning a low waste one.