Plastic Free July: How to Reduce Your Daily Amount of Plastic

We’re almost at the end of July, and this month is plastic free July or zero waste July. The point of this challenge is to raise awareness on the amount of plastic and garbage we use and produce.

I first learned about the Zero Waste movement about four years ago. I came across an article about Lauren Singer’s Zero Waste lifestyle. Apparently, since 2012, Singer has not sent any waste to the landfills. About a year or two ago, she started her own company, The Simply Co. where you can obtain plastic free laundry detergents. Not only are they plastic free, but also harsh chemical-free.

I’ve tried the Zero Waste lifestyle a couple of times, but for some reason it never sticks. This month, I decided to give it a try once again.

July 1st, there I was relaxing on the grass, in front of the lake, eating potato chips out of a plastic bag, drinking water from a plastic solo cup, and surrounded by various plastic bags filled with food.

I realized that perhaps the best way for me to start my zero waste lifestyle is through acknowledging and being constantly aware of when I’m using plastic and what I do with the plastic afterward. It’s halfway through the month, and I have consciously been tracking down how much plastic I use and have reduced the amount. However, I am not even close to achieving a zero waste lifestyle.

Everything that we buy has plastic or comes in plastic. For example, when I buy bananas, I may opt to put them in my purse, if I don’t have my reusable shopping bag, but the bananas come prepackaged in plastic. All of my hair products come in plastic containers, although I recently bought a conditioner that comes in a recycled bottle, but the list goes on, really.

Now, what’s my obsession with reducing plastic?

The truth is, plastic is terrible for our food, our bodies, and the environment. However, we can’t seem to get rid of plastic due to how useful we seem to think it is (companies are also there to make a kill in the plastic industry, but more on that in another post).

Most plastics are made out of carbon and hydrogen, which is derived from natural gas or crude oil. And most plastic containers are made with a harsh industrial chemical called BPA. This industrial chemical has been linked to affect the brain, prostate glands, and the overall health of children. For adults, BPA has been linked to high-blood pressure.

It takes plastic around 450 years to decompose. We will all be dead before any of the plastic that we’ve sent to the landfill decomposes. Millennials, we are treating our one and only planet we have as a trash can. I am contributing to this. We all are.

Now, I may have not participated in plastic free July, but I can assure you that July is not the only month in need of plastic reduction. I propose we begin a zero waste lifestyle.

This has nothing to do with being a hippie or a tree hugger. This has something to do with your well-being and the well-being of future generations. A zero waste lifestyle just needs a bit of sacrifice, such as, adjusting our everyday behavior.

Reject the napkin that’s given to you at the bakery, tell the lady at the cashier to keep the plastic bags, carry your own water bottle or reuse the same plastic bottle, dish the disposable plates and cutlery. These are small changes that result in positive impact.

Think of it like this, while you made feel like you’re the only one living that lifestyle, others are watching you. Three years ago, I was the only vegetarian in my family. Today, we are two vegetarians and a vegan. The rest of the omnivores are not as interested in hamburgers anymore, and there’s always moaning and groaning when we run out of veggie burgers.

So, are you in?

–Ecorealista

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