Become a Part of the Plastic Pollution Solution

Plastic has become a huge part of everyday life, and if you look around, chances are you can spot at least one item made of plastic in your immediate surroundings. In fact, 9.1 billion tons of plastic have been produced since plastic was introduced in the 1950s. As this number grows daily, many eco-conscious people look for ways to reduce their consumption of plastic, which breaks down into tiny toxic particles that contaminate Earth’s most precious resources: our soil and waterways. This is detrimental to our environment, health, and the health of the animals that share our planet. This is where Plastic Free July comes into play, a worldwide annual initiative to help minimize the impact of plastic pollution by pledging to go without plastic for the month of July. In this article, we will dive into what Plastic Free July is, how to get started, and provide ten eco-friendly tips so you can participate in the movement!

What is Plastic Free July?

Plastic Free July is a movement that was started by the Plastic Free Foundation in Australia that has inspired more than 100 million participants in 190 countries across the globe. Their goal is to make it easy for anyone to join the solution to plastic pollution so that streets, oceans, and communities worldwide can be kept clean. The program provides tons of resources on the latest plastic-free ideas to get you started, with options tailored for individuals, schools, offices, businesses, events, and more.

Here at BARC, we are always dedicated to inspiring an eco-conscious culture in Northern Michigan and are excited to help share other helpful information in this article so you can take the steps you need to go plastic-free this July!

10 Eco-Friendly Tips For A Plastic-Free July

Participating in plastic-free July is a great way to do your part in reducing plastic consumption and contributing to a more sustainable environment. Here are some tips to help you have a successful plastic-free July and be a part of the plastic pollution solution:

1. Make A Plan

When you set out to achieve something, no matter how big or small, it’s important to start by making a plan. This means setting specific goals and identifying areas in your life where you are used to using plastic. Once you’ve identified these areas, you can make a plan of action for the month that’s manageable, measurable, and achievable.

2. Swap: Reusable Bags

Did you know that five trillion plastic bags are produced worldwide every year and can take up to 1,000 years to disintegrate? Luckily, plastic bags are one of the easiest things to swap out. Carrying reusable shopping bags with you is a simple yet effective way to reduce plastic waste. We recommend always keeping a few in your car and a foldable one in your purse so you are always prepared.

3. Swap: Reusable Water Bottle

Every minute, humans use approximately 1.2 million plastic bottles. These are one of the biggest offenders and easiest swaps. We recommend carrying a reusable water bottle wherever you go, so you can avoid purchasing plastic water bottles when you’re thirsty. You can refill it from taps or water fountains.

*Bonus Tip: Add a water filter to your cap for easy filtration on the go.

4. Shop at a Farmers’ Markets

The typical grocery store uses a lot of plastic packaging, and it might seem impossible to avoid. However, the summer is a great time to look into shopping elsewhere, like a local farmers market. Shopping at farmers’ markets is a fantastic way to reduce plastic waste, support local producers, and make more sustainable choices. Since most of these items are going to be straight from the farm, you won’t have to deal with all the unnecessary plastic packaging. Just remember to bring your own reusable grocery bags too!

5. Bring Your Own Coffee Cup

For coffee lovers, heading to your local cafe or Starbucks has probably become an integral part of your routine. Unfortunately, this usually means grabbing a coffee in a plastic cup. We recommend bringing a clean reusable cup and having the barista use that instead. At some places like Starbucks, this will actually save you money to buy more of what you love: COFFEE.

6. Swap: Reusable Cleaning Product Containers

You will always need cleaning products, but that doesn’t mean you need to keep buying ones in single-use plastic containers. Tons of great brands now make glass bottles with cleaning tablets so you can easily support a sustainable lifestyle. We recommend brands like Blueland that work hard to make cleaning a plastic-free experience!

7. Dine In Over Take Out

Takeout might seem like a convenient idea, but it usually leads to a ton of unnecessary waste. We recommend taking a moment to dine in at your favorite restaurants. If you decide to take out anyways, you can always say no to disposable cutlery/straws and carry your own reusable cutlery set and stainless steel or bamboo straws with you instead.

8. Attend or Throw A Zero Waste Event

Zero-waste events are a fantastic way to avoid single-use plastic while having fun this Summer! Check out the BARC event calendar to see what incredible events we have planned for July and beyond. If you want to throw your zero-waste event, we would happily help; just fill out the form here.

9. Use Your Voice: Share Your Plastic-Free Journey

One of the most impactful ways to make a difference is by sharing your plastic-free journey with others. By openly discussing your efforts and experiences, you can inspire and motivate those around you to join the cause. Talk to your friends, family, and coworkers about the importance of reducing plastic waste and the steps you are taking to achieve that goal. By showing others that sustainable choices are achievable and rewarding, you can encourage them to change their lives.

10. Support Eco-Friendly Non-Profits like BARC

After you’ve swapped plastic with the alternatives mentioned above, we recommend looking into ways to support non-profit organizations in your community that are working towards sustainability. This is a great way to get involved, find like-minded individuals, and move on to the next step of your eco-friendly journey. You can donate financially or donate your time, depending on what works with your lifestyle.

Remember, transitioning to a plastic-free lifestyle takes time, but you can start by having a plastic-free July! We encourage you to rise to the challenge and let us know how it goes. Feel free to tag us on Facebook or Instagram while on your journey toward a plastic pollution solution!