It’s July and in the world of sustainability, that’s an important month. Plastic Free July is a thing, and I’m so excited to participate this year.
Plastic Free July: Why I Am Participating
One of the reasons I was so excited to move to Australia after 2.5 years of full time travel was to be able to nest, build a home, and decrease my carbon footprint even further. I’ve seen the effects of plastic on our planet and I don’t want to contribute further.
plastic covered beaches in Vietnam
While traveling, I knew that going vegan, using public transportation, avoiding plastic bags whenever possible, and carrying a reusable water bottle are ways that I was helping the environment. But I wanted to do more.
Lifestyle changes that I’m so looking forward to while settling down include: starting a herb garden; shopping bulk; devoting time to finding the best natural and eco-friendly skin, makeup & hair products; and increasing my health by having more control over what I am able to make.
plastic water bottle floating in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
When I moved to Australia, one of the first items on my agenda was to visit a naturopath and take a saliva test for my hormones. After getting my results back, I saw that I had high levels of estradiol in my body. This could be due to so many things. My naturopath gave me a ton of lifestyle factors that could be affecting this, but one that really stuck out to me was using plastic. I had no idea that the chemicals used to make plastic could actually be disrupting my hormones!
This is one of the biggest reasons I am so excited to participate in Plastic Free July. I really look forward to spending a month figuring out ways to avoid using plastic. Not only will this help balance out my hormones, but it makes such a difference to the planet!
ingredients for my Chocolate Banana Oats – from the bulk store
The Effects of Plastic on Our Planet
Did you know that all of the plastic that has ever been created is still on this Earth? Plastic takes 500-1000 years to break down. That means that it will live on this Earth for at least 5 times our lifespan, maybe even 10. And that’s not even the worst part. Plastic doesn’t ever decompose – it just breaks into tiny pieces of microplastic, which leeches into our oceans and affects the marine life. If you’d like to know more about this, I’d highly recommend watching the documentary A Plastic Ocean, available on Netflix.
The manufacturing of plastic, as well as it’s destruction, pollutes the air, waters, and land of our Earth, while affecting our bodies and the lives of other animals on the planet. Now seems like a great time to try out a month of no plastic.
What do you say, want to join me?
Plastic Free July: How To Prepare
To prepare for Plastic Free July, I took inventory of my garbage bin. I looked at what I was throwing away, and started to look for alternatives. I found a bulk store just a couple of train stops away and made a few simple swaps.
Here are the main changes I am making:
- Switch out conventional skin care for simple, natural products from my kitchen
- When my hair products run out, try package-free shampoo & conditioner bars
- Make my own cold cream face wash
- Swap out grocery items typically packed in plastic for items not packaged in plastic, examples:
- Buying bunches of kale instead of plastic bags of spinach
- Swapping plastic-packaged frozen berries for acai powder from the bulk store
- Bringing my jars to the bulk store to stock up on oats, lentils, and cacao
- Getting gluten-free pasta from the bulk store instead of the supermarket
- Using acai powder from the bulk store in smoothies instead of plastic-bagged frozen berries
- Look for package-free versions of things I currently use
- Shop the farmers market before the grocery store
Some resources that helped me out were:
- Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson (it’s the book club read for this month!)
- this Ted talk
- and this Ted talk
Instagrammers doing amazing work in this field:
During this month, look forward to:
Healthy recipes using bulk-store ingredients
Plastic-free and eco-friendly tips I learn along the way
A new section on the website devoted to sustainability
Sign up below if you want to try Plastic Free July as well (or just get semi-monthly emails about sustainability).