The plastic-free or zero-waste journey is a personal one in which we each walk our own path at our own pace, meeting each other along the way to reach a universal goal. Each individual action and person can make a difference in the future of the planet, not to mention the perk of having less waste in our own homes and daily lives. Plastic-Free July is a perfect place to start or evaluate your journey.
Plastic-Free July is a global movement that encourages people to be more aware of their plastic use in the hope that we might create and sustain a cleaner and safer environment. Part of this involves habitually choosing to refuse single-use plastics like shopping bags, coffee cups, cutlery, and straws etc. and supporting others including friends, co-workers, and business owners to change their behaviour towards plastic too. There are a few ways you can do this in your daily life…some of them may seem a little daunting at first but once you make them a habit you’ll look back and wonder how you ever lived any other way! Here are just a few ways to go plastic-free:
Plastic-Free does not mean you have to throw out every bit of plastic you own and never buy plastic again. The aim is to reduce single-use plastics until they’re phased out, which is easy enough to get started with if you look at the things you use every day at home, or when you shop, travel, or eat out. Are there plastic items you can reuse? Look around your bathroom and kitchen; when that shampoo bottle is empty you can refill it, or maybe go packaging free altogether with a shampoo bar. Cleaning and laundry products can also be refilled using the same bottles over and over again and you can even try making your own. Reducing waste by refusing it is way better than recycling in the long run…the state of our beaches, oceans, and wildlife can attest to that.
Soft packaging is not currently recyclable in Ireland. Bringing your own jars/tubs/bags and filling them with dried food like oats, grains, nuts, fruits, and seeds etc. not only reduces plastic going to landfill, it also means you can pay for as much or as little as you need – once again producing less waste. Bring your own bags and opt for packaging-free fruit and veg…oranges do not need to be wrapped in plastic!
See all of the household products and dried foods that we refill in the shop here -> Refill at Small Changes
BRING YOUR OWN
When you’re out and about, whether at work/eating-out or travelling it’s really handy to have your own refillable water bottle, a cup for hot or cold drinks, a reusable straw and some cutlery wrapped in a cloth napkin all tucked away in your reusable bag. Single-use cups and straws are the devil, and a lot of places are now set to replace them with alternatives, we’ve been offering compostable cups for years, but the best option by far is reusable. If you make a habit to keep those few reusable items in your bag you’ll be shocked by how many single-use items you were using. A lot of places take part in the Conscious Cup Campaign whereby you get a discount on specified drinks when you bring your own cup. We offer 50c off our fresh juices and smoothies. Many places also offer free tap refills for your reusable water bottle…which is especially good to know in this weather! See more on Refill Ireland.
SWAP YOUR BRUSHES
Finally, your toothbrush. Switching from plastic to a fully biodegradable bamboo toothbrush can divert 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes from landfill. The same can be done with dish brushes etc. These biodegradable options are better for the environment, are better quality and they make your home look that much prettier!
We offer all of the above reusable options at Small Changes. We ask that customers bring their own reusable bags for shopping and containers for refilling. We do have compostable alternatives for bags and cups but bringing your own is the best option for the planet. So, are you in? If you want tolearn more about Plastic Free July and the plastic free movement take a look at plasticfreejuly.org , voiceireland.org , and foe.ie/sickofplastic for helpful tips on both beginning and sustaining a more plastic-free life and how you can encourage others to take the journey too. It’s genuinely a great feeling when you open your cupboard or fridge and see jars of beautiful food instead of plastic packets. Enjoy your journey and hopefully, you’ll visit us along the way!
Content creator and collaborator from Dublin. JR also builds wordpress websites for independent businesses and entrepreneurs.