It is the end of my Plastic Free July challenge! One whole month dedicated to reducing my plastic use and rethinking my habits. It has not been easy because so many businesses, grocery stores, and restaurants rely so much on this stuff!
But never fear friends, I have adopted even more habits that you can implement to help our oceans and environment.
If you haven’t already read about my first two weeks taking on this challenge, click here.
Plastic Free Journal
I was like a kid in a candy store when I walked into Lush. Soaps, oils, bath bombs, face masks, and so much more sprinkled around the store. Right above the checkout stand is their new program which highlights how they reduce their waste. When customers bring 5 empty black pots (see diagram below) back in, they receive a free face mask as a result of bringing the black pots. Who doesn’t love a free face mask? 🙂 They take the Lush pots, grind them down and reuse them for new products. It’s a great way to reuse and recycle.
Excited to see this recycling program and getting to know the staff, I left with shampoo and conditioner bars. You can read about my experience using them here.
I took a trip to the Farmers Market with my reusable bags and found lots of beautiful locally grown fruits and veggies.
I purchased some beautiful peaches and we walked through the rest of the market and sampled delicious sauces, wines, honeys, and even pickles! Everything was so delicious I wanted to take it all home. One downfall was that everything was served in plastic containers. I thought to myself, how can I avoid plastic next time?
The solution? Bring my own mason jars to take home my Farmers Market goodies.
* Tip — Grocery store dressings, sauces, and canned veggies come in the perfect size jars. Also instead of just tossing them away, you can keep them and reuse them to store grains, coffee, snacks — pretty much anything you want!
I had to pick up glasses from the eye doctor and decided to bring my old frames with me. Pleasantly surprised to find out that my doctor would take my old frames back and recycle them! Love this idea because it allows someone else to reuse the frames. Next time you go to the eye doctor bring your old frames with you in case they can be recycled.
–> (How cute does Cabby look smizing for the camera?!)
Day Twenty One:
I had a girls night and we cooked dinner and went to the movies. Some of my friends still shop with plastic produce bags. How can I change this? I encouraged my friends to bring reusable bags and showed them how easy it was to replace plastic.
Day Twenty Three:
I went for a coffee meeting at a new shop. I asked her to use my Keep Cup and asked if others had brought them in as well. Sadly no one had so they didn’t offer any discount (I’ve found that other coffee shops will typically offer you a discount on your order, so it never hurts to ask!). Either way, I think she was happy to hear about my efforts. One takeaway from this…
Bring your Keep cup or reusable coffee cup every time you’re heading out to grab a drink and introduce the idea to vendors to offer customers a discount when they use their own cup. 🙂
Day Twenty Four:
Happy National Tequila Day! I met up with friends and we dined at a Mexican restaurant. They didn’t have a straw in my drink but when I asked for my leftovers to be wrapped up for me to take home, seems like they only had styrofoam. What did I learn from this?
Bring my own reusable container. I found a great container from U-konserve that’s small, secure and it even fits in my purse!
Day Twenty Seven:
I ran some errands and found plastic bottles and beer cans on the ground. The sad thing about this was that the rubbish bin was maybe 20 ft away. Its just disappointing people are so lazy that they can’t even recycle. Finally I picked them all up in my reusable bag and walked them to the bin. This is probably the easiest green habit you can adopt. Pick three pieces of garbage up where ever you see it. Be apart of #take3forthesea
Day Twenty Eight:
My family had another BBQ and I knew it was going to be full of plastic items. Rather than complaining about having too much plastic I just made sure to have a recycle bin nearby so I could sort the trash appropriately. To my surprise, everyone was happy to recycle too! Stay tuned for some additional tips on how to reduce your plastic use at events! 🙂
Nearing the end of my challenge, I wanted to add a few more items to help my cause. I went to Whole Foods and I was so excited to see all of the reusable options! Whole Foods can be a little more expensive but the beauty about reusables is you just need to buy them once and they should last forever. Consequently I like to look at it like an investment and another step towards reducing my plastic use. Meet my new produce bags and bamboo cutlery.
And there you have it, the end of the Plastic Free July Challenge! It’s really made me aware of my plastic use and I plan to continue to find new ways for myself and for others to change old habits. I hope this has inspired you all to do the same. Certainly to take the first small step toward a more plastic free lifestyle. And finally the ocean is a beautiful place and it’s time to change our habits in order to keep it that way.