During Plastic Free July, these are our 5 easiest plastic free swaps any family can make.
There is nothing like the perfect July; holidays, ice cream and … less plastic.
I recently took on the challenge posed by Plastic Free July, a movement that has swept the world and inspired 250 million participants in 177 countries. Ultimately it trades on a message that I truly believe in – we don’t need a handful of people living wholly plastic free, we need millions living imperfectly.
I am definitely from the imperfect tribe. I mostly remember my reusable bags for the supermarket shop but I will also sneak in a Mars Bar at the checkout – polypropylene (or the wrapper to you or I) you are a fossil fuel nightmare.
So when I say, plastic free July, I mean for me anyways, a plastic-reduction-where-I-can month.
There were few silver linings of Lockdown but I did find, like many, I was forced to slow down. While life was hectic at home, I was juggling a new baby, toddler and my business, Covid slowed our pace and made me think harder about the way I was living and indeed, how to minimise effort with maximum results.
Now we’re talking! Min Effort, Max Results! The latter for me is key. I like results, I like instant gratification and I don’t want to have to work too hard for them!
- Take reusable bags shopping. You do it already? Brilliant, you are winning already! I told you it was simple. Tiny trick – ask your children be in charge of remembering them, they are bizarrely militant when given a task. I am browbeaten by my 2 year-old!
- Bamboo Toothbrush. You are buying toothbrushes anyway, just choose a plastic-free one! It is THAT easy. Plastic toothbrushes cannot be recycled, there are billions of them discarded in landfill. If you wonder why they are so bad, let me redirect you to the experts at the National Geographic. Buy them from any major supermarket for yourself and your kids. If you want to support an independent business, even better, do! (Inserting a shameless shout here for PomPom, we do sell a Year in Bamboo Toothbrushes for Kids)!
There is a lovely meme which says “but it’s only one toothbrush says 7.6 billion people!” This is the smallest change with the biggest impact. If nothing else, just.do.it!
- Beeswax wraps. Skip the cellophane. OK, OK, I know, it is not technically plastic, provided you buy cellophane and not sandwich wrap, but do the environment a favour and skip it. There are so many alternatives now and beeswax wraps are just great. They can be washed and reused, they fit all your food (except raw meat) and they look so jolly and charming in your fridge or in a lunchbox or on a picnic. Naturally you can make them, I did just to see if I could but I promised easy, so definitely don’t bother (or do and let me know, would love to hear how you got on!). Just buy them.
- Shampoo Bars. This may tip you over the edge but what if you took the first step for your kids, if you can’t ditch the Head and Shoulders for yourself. Buy them the shampoo bar. Experiment on them. They most likely won’t notice or care. Once you see that the shampoo bars can lather, do wash, leave their hair silky smooth, you might consider it for yourself. I was so sceptical but they work. I buy a few at a time, so I don’t have to think about it more than once a year but then, I’m lazy like that!
- Plastic-Free Toys. “But my kids love Lego and wooden toys are so borrrrrring.” Sure. I hear you but not all your kids’ toys are Lego and they don’t need to be all made of plastic. One of my all-time favourite discoveries about parenting was that little secret of independent play. My kid was attached to me, I couldn’t pee alone. Independent play is rarely sparked by battery operated toys because they only do one thing, so the child gets bored and moves on. Give yourself a break and try out some of those Instagrammable looking toys – see what happens! s. Biobuddi has beaten Lego to it and made sugar-cane plastic free Lego, just saying.
And for a bonus point? Reusable Facemask. It is mandatory for adults that we all have to use them to shop in store, buy a couple and chuck them in the wash when you need to.
As I write to you with a ’99 flake in my hand – remember those? I am transported back to childhood, am amazed Mr.Whippy still exists but am loving it! – July is definitely not over yet! Embrace the sunshine and small change.