Life Motivational

Plastic Free July | 5 Plastic Free Alternatives

There’s a movement going around in Kelowna and around the world and it’s about having a plastic free July. 

I’ve been truly inspired lately by people like Max Lamanna and Venetia Falconer who are doing their absolute best to have a lower impact on the world when it comes to fast fashion, plastic and food waste. 

In Kelowna, I recently started following an Instagram account all about this Plastic Free July movement and it’s pushed me to become even more aware of my plastic intake. For the past year, I’ve become more aware of my plastic use, my clothing purchases and I’m sure to compost all of my food that I can. I’m not perfect (far from it – More on this later), but I wanted to share with you a couple of switches I’ve made. If you want to focus your July on being plastic free (or plastic LESS), read along and make these same switches! 

Menstrual Cup

I’m just going to jump right into the biggest switch I’ve made when it comes to plastic and waste and it’s my menstrual cup. Since I got my period, I’ve been using tampons and I only used the ones with the plastic applicator. They were more of a smooth ride and I didn’t like the feel of the cardboard applicator. 

I debated making the switch to the diva cup for a good YEAR before I did. I struggled with the price tag, even though when I think about it, it’s way cheaper in the long run. Tampons are so expensive and we’re taxed every time we buy them?!

So, instead, I started using organic tampons with no applicator. But they were still individually wrapped in plastic and I eventually knew I needed to make the change. 

I got my diva cup from Nature’s Fare and it was $40 and it was the best $40 I’ve ever spent. I’ve had it for about 6 months now and I’m never going back. I haven’t produced any plastic waste from my period since. It’s easy to use and I don’t have the same fear of Toxic Shock anymore either. My period is painless now. 

If you’ve been on the fence about switching, let this be your final push. You won’t regret it once you get the hang of it.

Zero Waste Stores

The second tip I have is to visit a zero-waste store. In Kelowna, we have one called Farmbound Zero Waste. I say this as a tip because I believe it will give you the inspiration and motivation to continue on your journey. 

Whenever I walk into that store, I feel inspired and motivated to continue saying #NoToPlastic and buying local whenever possible. 

Some of my favourite purchases I’ve made: 

  • Reusable coffee filter for my coffee pot 
  • Bamboo cutlery set 
  • Essential oils (SO affordable. ⅛ of the price of Saje) 
  • Bamboo toothbrush 
  • Dish scrubber made out of coconut 

Reusable Produce Bags

Years ago I was looking to buy Matt birthday gifts that were focused around being environmentally friendly. In the end, I bought him produce bags off Amazon. Since then, The Market Bags in Kelowna have shot to fame and I have a couple of their bags as well!

It’s sometimes hard to remember all your bags for grocery shopping, but it’s imperative that you make this switch and say no to those plastic bags at the store. 

If you do forget your bags, this is what I do: 

  • Use no bag! Apples, lettuce, broccoli and other produce DO NOT NEED a plastic bag around them 
  • If you’re only picking up a handful of things at the store, say no to the plastic bag! Use your hands and carry your items out to the car.
  • Use the paper bags from the mushroom section. There will be those smaller paper bags in the mushroom section or the bakery. Go and get those and put your sprouts in there instead! 

My other simple tip is to just keep all your bags in your vehicle or right beside your front door. Once you make the switch, it will eventually become second nature to grab your bags when you’re on your way to the store!

Glass jars and metal straws 

This one is easy and very known in the plastic-free community. It’s probably the first thing most people will switch out when they start paying attention to their garbage bins. Say no to straws. Buy a reusable metal or glass straw. 

In my cutlery kit that I always have in my purse, there is a bamboo straw and a straw cleaner. I always say no to a straw when I’m out getting a coffee. 

Speaking of coffee, did you know that most coffee cups have a thin layer of plastic on the inside? This makes it hard to recycle, even if it is clean. Instead of grabbing a coffee on the go and throwing the cup in the trash, bring a to-go coffee cup! 

The days I forget a coffee travel mug, I’ve brought in a mason jar and asked the cafe to fill it up with coffee. 

You’ll be surprised what you can turn into a coffee cup with a little thought and imagination. 

Farmer’s Markets 

Next up, let’s talk about produce. Are you a buyer of English cucumbers with the plastic condom? Why not switch it up and buy a field cucumber. There isn’t much of a difference and you’ll be saying no to that stupid amount of plastic that isn’t necessary at all.

Do you normally buy apples in those bags? Pick them up individually in one of your reusable produce bags. 

What about fresh Okanagan cherries? Yesterday Matt and I went to BC Tree Fruits and we forgot our produce bags. I was SO bummed because I really wanted cherries, but I didn’t want to use the plastic produce bags they have available. Near the end of our visit, I realized they had the paper bags by the mushrooms, so I used that instead! I’d love for them to start putting those paper bags by the fruits instead of the plastic bags!

There is always a non-plastic alternative if you look for it! 

Going to the farmer’s market and places like BC Tree Fruits has been a huge help to our home by saying no to plastic. We eat seasonally for the most part and always try to get the plastic-free produce. 

PLEASE NOTE 

Please note I am not perfect. I’m on this journey just as much as you are. I am in no way trying to push this on anyone or shame anyone for what they’re buying and eating. I’m sharing the small things I’ve done to create a lower plastic footprint. To this day I still buy some things wrapped in plastic and I’m getting better and better each day on making those switches. 

Next Steps 

My next steps when it comes to living a more plastic-free life is to take a look through my house and see what I buy that is produced in a plastic bottle. Think about it for a second. How many things do you have that come in plastic containers? 

  • Dish soap 
  • Shampoo and conditioner 
  • Toothpaste 
  • Face wash 
  • Body wash 
  • Laundry soap
  • Salad dressings
  • Milk  

Just to name a few. 

Plastic Free July 

This month in Kelowna, there’s an initiative that’s happening called Plastic Free July. Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution .

When we are in this together, we’re helping the world we live in last a little longer! 

There are a number of locations in Kelowna that are participating and will be offering a discount when you bring in your own cup, use produce bags, etc. Pick up your own card and collect stamps. Once your card is full, head to Farmbound Zero Waste and receive 10% off your purchase.

Let’s Keep This Journey Rolling

What plastic-free alternatives have you made in your life? Let me know as I am always interested in learning more ways I can help the environment! 

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