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Plastic Free July: How To Go A Whole Month Without Plastic

Plastic Free July is a global yearly challenge where millions of people give up single use plastic during the month of July. It aims to raise awareness of the amount of single-use disposable plastic items in our lives and challenges people to do something about it.

All of us here at 1 Million Women will be taking on the challenge and we want you to as well! We know challenges can be scary so we're here to give you a helping hand. This guide will help you prepare for Plastic Free July and start your journey to zero waste!


Choose your commitment

One of the best things about Plastic Free July is that you can pick a challenge that works for you. You might be mostly plastic free already or maybe this is your very first attempt. There are options to do one day, one week or the whole month of July. You can also opt to remove ALL single-use plastic items from your life or just the big four, which are straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags & coffee cup lids.

Draw your own line in the sand here. Are you a big sucker for straws and takeaway coffee? Just give them up. Does your recycling seem to be filled with plastic? Try cutting that down. What do you already do? What will be too much to give up in one go? Write it down in a 'declaration' so you know where you stand and can hold yourself accountable.

You can sign up and choose your challenge here!


Make a plan

Congrats! You did it! Now it's time to get prepared so you don't reach the first of July and realise you can't brush your teeth, feed your pet or eat breakfast!

Go through each section of your house and make a list of things to give up and things that need to be replaced. The Plastic Free July website has a whole section dedicated to this so make the most of it! Some of the more challenging sections might include cleaning, shopping, personal care and pet care.

Here's a starter list of tricky plastics and their potential alternatives that will really get you thinking about your month ahead!

Deodorant: You can make your own out of baking soda and coconut oil.

Pads and tampons: A silicone menstrual cup is the way to go, or you could try out menstrual underwear.

Clothing tags: Be careful what you buy or better yet, don't buy at all!

Kitchen/bathroom disinfectant: Bicarb soda and vinegar are a dream combo when it comes to cleaning.

Online shopping: Another one to avoid if you're not sure what the packaging will be like.

Medication: Can be unavoidable but choose bulk over individually wrapped, if possible.

Beer bottle tops: This is a sneaky one that got us last year. Try beer on tap!

Chewing gum: Yep that's right, it's got plastic in it! Try to find a natural alternative.


Start The Transition

To make the whole month less expensive and less of a shock, it's probably a good idea to start early. If your deodorant runs out on the 23rd of June, find a plastic free alternative instead of using plastic deodorant for 1 week. This way you won't have to buy all your plastic free alternatives in one go and you'll be less likely to slip up come July 1!

You can also try a plastic free day as a test run so you're prepared for the month ahead.


Go Plastic Free!

We're not going to lie; this challenge won't be easy. So rally your friends and family around you to give you support and maybe even recruit them to give up plastic with you. The more of you there are the easier it will be to kick the plastic habit.

Make sure you share your journey with not only your friends and family but your whole network! The whole point is to raise awareness to shed light on the problem of plastic consumption. Post wins and fails on Facebook or organise a weekly coffee catch up with others doing the challenge to check in with each other.

The most important thing to remember is not to be too hard on yourself. Some things are literally unavoidable! If you have a plastic fail, share it as an example of how pervasive plastic has become. Even if you slip a little, don't give up and know that there are others out there doing the hard yards alongside you.


Read this next: What I Learned From Failing Plastic Free July

We're in a climate emergency and it's going to take all of us to get out of it. That's why 1 Million Women is building a global community of women committed to fighting climate change with our daily actions. To join the (free) movement just click the button below!


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