It may be August, but I am still trying to live that #PlasticFree life. Joining the Plastic Free July Challenge was a great way to further embrace a more sustainable lifestyle. It felt empowering to be apart of a movement that was so grand in size. According to the people behind Plastic Free July, about 230 million people worldwide signed the pledge to join the challenge this year. THAT’S ABSOLUTELY MIND-BLOWING FRIENDS! It makes my heart so happy to know that so many other people that are just as passionate about trying to make eco-friendly changes.
In addition to putting the challenge on my July Bucket List, I also used the inspiration from the challenge to launch my Plastic Free July Newsletter. Every Sunday I shared a product that I have found incredibly helpful to use during Plastic Free July with my Ambitious Fam. It actually gave me the push that I needed to implement a more general newsletter for Ambitiously Cierra, so stay tuned for that!
All this to say that I am happy that I completed this challenge. It was a great opportunity to learn more about plastic consumption and waste. I didn’t truly realize the depth of our wastefulness as a society until this challenge. I became more aware of the ways that I created unnecessary waste and the ways I could navigate around it (for example: buying more things in bulk versus in packaging that can’t even be recycled).
Here are 3 things that you need to know before starting your own plastic-free journey:
Arm yourself with the right tools
As you begin your plastic-free journey, it is helpful to have the right tools. Please note that I’m not saying that you have to run out and buy all the best, instagrammable, reusable products all at once (see funny graphic by artist Petra Hollander below). There are actually quite a few companies that help you build your eco-friendly collection of products slowly. For example, I have a Mighty Fix Subscription Box through Mighty Nest that has allowed me to try a new product for just $11 a month!
I recommend starting off slowly by increasing your use of reusable bags, straws, and glass containers. However, If you are looking for specific product recommendations, my Ambitious Fam got the first look at the products that I found helpful to use during Plastic Free July. Click here to view the last PFJ newsletter which includes all of the products that I shared!
A little preparation goes a long way
When creating any new habit, planning and preparation are the best chance at making it stick. The same is true for trying to live a more plastic-free life. Research places in your area that sell items in bulk (I found that Mom’s Organic Market offered the best variety), and plan a visit for the upcoming week. There are websites, such as Litterless, that can help you figure out places to shop state-by-state (check it out here).
Another preparation tip is to store your tools (mentioned above) in places that are more accessible so that you are less likely to forget. For example, I recently got an organizer for my car that is stocked with two reusable cups, reusable grocery bags, organic cotton produce bags, and reusable straws! This way, I have absolutely zero excuses when I am out and about.
Lastly, think about what you have coming up throughout the week where you may run into plastic use. For instance, if I am going to be going away for the weekend, I pack my S’well bottle (and another cup w/straw because I’m weird and only like water in my S’well), travel cutlery (I have this set with chopsticks!), and a container/Stasher bag. This way, if I eat out or have leftovers, I have the plastic-free tools that I need.
You don’t have to be perfect
I know that I’ve said this many times before, but I think that it’s so important to reiterate. When I talk to people about reducing their plastic waste I often hear excuses about convenience, needing too many reusable bags per shopping trip, or just the overwhelming belief that they would have to make too many changes. Y’all. I’m not saying that you have to go from 100 to Zero waste in a day. Just make one change. Decide that you can live without single-use plastic straws, can skip the plastic plates at a company function, or whatever it is, and stick to it for a couple of months. Before you know it, you’ll be thinking about other ways that you can reduce because you’ll be building self-awareness. So, start with one thing, and watch the change ripple out.