Last summer I participated in a challenge to go Plastic Free for the month of July. In reality, I didn’t really go plastic free but I did spend the month using far fewer single use plastics.
This year, I invite you to join me in taking the Plastic Free July Eco Challenge. With a wide range of challenges, it’s as easy or hard as you choose to make it.
The Plastic Free July Eco Challenge is inspired by an initiative founded in Australia. It is a 31-day, global challenge to reduce plastic use and refuse single-use plastics. Throughout the EcoChallenge, you earn points for completing actions you select. You can also share your progress, challenges and thoughts with others participating in the challenge.
To make things even more interesting, you can form a team to compete with friends, family or coworkers. The fun competition and inspiration from others will make reflecting on your plastic use a little easier and a lot more fun.
To join the challenge, visit plasticfree.ecochallenge.org and click “Join.” You can sign in with Facebook or Google or create a login with your email address by filling in your information and clicking the “Join Now” button.
Once you have signed in, you can choose to join an existing team or create your own team. There is also a short video that will walk you through how to use the website. The video is optional but very helpful.
When you are ready, choose the actions you’d like to take during the month of July. You can pick just one or two or many. There are daily and one-time challenges available. Your selection can be adjusted throughout the campaign if you choose to add or delete one.
#SkipTheStraw and #ChooseToRefuse
Even if you are not interested in competing in the EcoChallenge, I hope you will consider participating in other ways. There are lots of small changes you can make that add up to a big impact.
One big contribution you can make is to skip the straw. Whether you are eating out at a restaurant or getting your favorite iced latte, choose to not use a straw or bring a reusable one with you. If you get an iced beverage from Starbucks, you can request their cold brew lid, or as I call it the adult sippy cup. It is similar to a lid for a hot beverage but with a larger opening and doesn’t require a straw. Or go one step further and bring your own coffee cup from home.
If you pack lunch for yourself or your family, make sure you choose reusable containers and utensils, not single use plastic bags or plastic cutlery. I was recently excited to fine Target now carried my favorite reusable ziploc bags, (re)zip, in store.
You can also choose to refuse plastic bags at the store. In the produce section, you can use reusable produce bags you brought from home or skip them all together. When shopping the bulk bins, some stores allow you to use reusable containers from home. They generally also offer to get the tare weight for you at customer service so the container weight can be subtracted at checkout.
And you can always use reusable shopping bags at checkout. I keep a stash of bags in my car at all times, just in case I have to make a stop on the way home. I’ve found most cashiers are pretty used to this practice these days.
How will you go Plastic Free for July?
Do you have other ideas in mind? Let me know how you plan to reduce your plastic use this July, and hopefully every month after.