#MondayBlogs, #MondayMusings

5 Ways to Go Plastic Free this July & Beyond | Monday Musings | Monday Blogs

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

– Anne Marie Bonneau aka The Zero Waste Chef

 

After much deliberation, starting 1 July, 2022 , the Indian government finally kicked off the ban on a few single-use plastic products. Yes, not all. We still have a long way to go. But banning the following products might just be a good start to begin with:

Earbuds, Cigarette packs, Straws, Packaging Films, Sweet Boxes, Plastic Flags and Banners, Invitation Cards, Candy and Ice-Cream Sticks, Cutlery like plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives and trays, Polystyrene for Decoration, Balloon Sticks and PVC Banners under 100 microns. 

 

cloth-bag-quote
Use Cloth Bags – I have one of these. 😉
Photo Credits: Pinterest

 

Would you like to go plastic free too around your home, work spaces, school, shops and cafés?

 

What’s Plastic Free July?

Plastic Free July is a movement to educate and activate people around the world about the plastic pollution crisis. Started by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz
the Founder of Plastic Free foundation,
this movement was founded in 2011, to create a world free of plastic waste. 

 

Quoting their website:

Plastic Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities.

Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics?

Plastic Free July provides resources and ideas to help you (and millions of others around the world) reduce single-use plastic waste everyday at home, work, school, and even at your local café.

Our movement has inspired 100+ million participants in 190 countries. You making a small change will collectively make a massive difference to our communities. You can choose to refuse single-use plastics in July (and beyond!). Best of all, being part of Plastic Free July will help you to find great alternatives that can become new habits forever.

If this calls out to you, you could join the Plastic Free July movement to begin with and then choose to go beyond.

 

5 Ways to Go Plastic Free 

I started my plastic free journey about 3-1/2 years ago. Yes, fairly late, but to begin a journey is what really counts. Someone rightly said, “It’s never too late to start.”

I have realised in the past few years that every small step counts. You can’t change everything in one go. But what matters, is to make those small changes, slowly but surely. This will go a long way in cutting down your plastic consumption.

I have had quite a few moments of despair when I felt absolutely helpless, trying my best to be environmental friendly. One being this one.

We were on this long road trip with our reusable steel and glass bottles without a drop of water left. The summer sun was beating down on us. I had no choice but to buy a single-use plastic bottle which would only add up in a landfill eternally. The guilt could have been over-powering like in the past, in a situation like this. But I had no choice but to remind myself that we would eventually recycle that bottle for our bio-enzymes (floor cleaners) that we make at home.

So if you choose to start this journey, be kind to yourself and do the best you can. Just like Anne Marie Bonneau says – “We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

Without further ado, here are 5 things you can do to make your July and beyond (if you choose to) plastic free:

 

1. Carry Your Cloth Bags

There are a whole lot of foldable options available in the market that you can just keep in your purse or bag. Even the cloth bags that you get in many stores here in India, aren’t recyclable and are made of polypropylene, a type of plastic that is no better than plastic. 

 

Meme-Mira-Reusable-Cloth Bag
Credits: Mira Petrova, Aware Animals This is so me!

You can make your own recyclable cloth bags at home. My mother in-law makes lovely ones; even with an old pair of jeans and they are so trendy. You can ask your local tailor to help you makes a few, if you aren’t needle friendly like me.

Handmade-cloth-bag-embroideried-blue
This one’s more like your knick-knack carry bag. Made and embroidered by my MIL.

A lot of companies like Beco here in India, have some fantastic cloth bags. Lot of stores, especially organic ones give us cloth bags that we can re-use and recycle. Beco also has a whole range of plant-based, chemical free and environmentally free products as well. (No, I have not been paid to put this post up by them.) I have been using their products for sometime and can vouch for them.

 

2. Carry your Water Bottle:  When you step outside of home carry your refillable glass/steel bottle, so you don’t have to buy a single-use plastic bottle. Yes, in that road trip I just mentioned we forgot to carry enough to keep us going. Make sure you do, when you head out for long road trips.

steel-bottles-enameled
Steel Bottles with enamelled designs

Also make sure to ask for filter water at cafe’s, instead of opting for the sparkling water or mineral water. It’s mostly safe to do so.

Even when I travel, I ask the hotel staff to give me filter water in clean, refillable bottles, instead of the packaged water bottles. Believe you me it works and I’ve never fallen sick drinking that water. Just that you may have to remind the hotel staff as they tend to forget and are not used to guests asking as often. The good thing is lot of places now, especially the environment friendly ones, have already started replacing packaged water for refillable ones. 

 

3. Skip that straw, Skip that Cutlery:

Even though you may be drinking from a paper straw; do you really need a straw is my question? Drink your juices, cocktails straight from the glass, I say.

Having said that I don’t advocate taking away straws from people with disabilities who need them. But for those of us who can drink without a straw, let’s do so; and if we are so hung up on using straws, let’s buy reusable metal or bamboo straws, please. 

Also when you do a take-away or order your food online, tick off the “send cutlery” option. I have noticed many places have started sending wooden cutlery, but my question is why would you need that too in the first place, if you are home. Plastic cutlery of course is a complete no-no. (those either ways are banned now.)

wooden-paper-cutlery-cup
Credits: Clair @Unsplash

Agreed if you are on an outdoor picnic or a drive in take-away you might need the cutlery, else there is no such need. Even though it’s always a good idea to skip that take-away coffee, or meal and just grab it their at the restaurant if you are physically present. Saves a lot of packaging material. 

Then there are inspiring advocates like Vani Murthy/Worm Rani who carry their own cutlery wherever they go, or travel!

Some cafe’s in India, like these in Bombay that include Star Bucks and Blue Tokai, even offer you a discount if you bring your mug.

Also Blue Tokai’s coffee take-away cups are made of paper and corn starch. Yes, I’m a big fan of their coffee, but what really makes it worthwhile is when I order take away at home, the coffee is delivered in cups that are pretty, reusable and recyclable to boot. 

 

4. Switch to Shampoo bars and Soap bars:

These have been our family’s life saviours. They are also packaged in eco-friendly material. They have helped us cut our plastic intake drastically in the last three years. Also they last so much longer. The switch from body wash to soap bars has also been a great move for us personally.

soap-handmade-green-grass-
Hand made Soap Bar.
Credits: Pixabay

There are a whole lot of shampoo bar options available in the market, and chemical free ones to boot. Give them a go. A friend of mine has a great line of soaps, shampoo bars and beauty products (minus plastic) at Soul Craft and another one makes these gorgeous, environment friendly soaps at Earth Child soaps. They are also couriered in recycled boxes.

 

5. Switch to Bamboo:

Bamboo tooth brushes and bamboo ear buds are a perfect replacement to the use and throw plastic ones. Especially ear-buds, which are just a one time use. We have some great ones in the market if you look. Also available in organic stores that stock eco-friendly products.

bamboo-toothbrushes-glass-jar
Credits: The Humble Co, Unsplash

We have made the switch to tissues, kitchen rolls and toilet rolls that are made from bamboo, as they bio-degrade at a much faster rate then regular toilet/tissue/kitchen roll that take years to break down completely. I have found all of these at Beco. 

 

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

 

Are you joining hands with me and signing up for Plastic Free July ?

You know, right; every drop in this vast ocean of humanity counts.

Yours does too!

Let’s do it for our future and the generations that come after us. They will be eternally grateful to us for not ignoring this call to beat climate change, to live sustainably and to treasure this planet that has been gifted to us on a platter.

Love, light and laughter always,

Natasha

 

Feature Image Credits: Markus Spiske @ Unsplash

 

Linking up with my lovely friends Sandee  for Happy Tuesday, Cathy and Alana for Monday Mewsic Moves, Corinne for Monday Musings and Trent for Weekly Smiles

 

 

24 thoughts on “5 Ways to Go Plastic Free this July & Beyond | Monday Musings | Monday Blogs

  1. Hello,
    Wonderful post and great tips. Hubby and I do all we can to use less plastic and recycle any trash.
    We do need to protect and save our planet. Take care, have a happy day and great new week!

  2. Excellent post, Natasha! I appreciate the acknowledgment that all steps count, and we don’t have to be perfect, but can do better. I’ve got to stop buying the reusable bags at the grocery store (I have plenty) and use cloth more. I had not thought about plastic flags and banners, but I’m sure there will be a new niche for alternatives. Way to go, India!

  3. My United States state (New York) banned plastic shopping bags two years ago. We just banned styrofoam. Avoiding plastics is a great idea but we have to be careful that we don’t replace plastics with something whose manufacture pollutes just as much as plastics do, or uses more water in its creation than plastics, or, uses materials that have to be imported from halfway across the globe (just like plastics)…you get the point. I applaud India for taking steps in the right direction – now, we in the United States have to do the same. For your musical selection, it’s interesting how much “Heal the World” reminds me of “We are The World”, which Michael Jackson co wrote with Lionel Richie.

    1. You have such valid points here, Alana.
      That’s absolutely pertinent to keep in mind.

      Those are very relevant things to keep in mind.
      I remember growing up seeing barely any plastic. Now we are flooded with them. Every darn thing, from sachets, to candy wrappers, to packaging of every single product, and more.
      What really warmed the cockles of my heart recently is all the take away we ordered came in eco friendly packaging. It is heartening yes, but in the long run that’s something to indulge once in a while, as how many trees will we cut to make paper packaging and cutlery.

      “We are the world” is my all time favourite. I’ve shared it multiple times on my blog. I did think of putting it up, then changed my mind. I can listen to it and watch the video endlessly. 🙂
      Thank you for hosting #MMM

  4. Whilst there is no ban on plastic bags in the UK, retailers are forced to charge for them which makes people less likely to throw them away unnecessarily. It’s a start but there’s a long way to go. I applaud you for doing your bit to bring this problem to the fore, Natasha.
    Keith’s Ramblings recently posted…SnapsMy Profile

    1. I wonder why they would charge for plastic bags, instead of replacing them with sustainable cloth bags and charge for them instead. Wouldn’t that be a far more smarter option?

      I hope the new leadership may comes up with some creative ways to sort this out. Boris Johnsons’s father is a huge wildlife -eco enthusiast though.

      Thank you, Keith. I hope I can make a small difference, however imperfectly in this vast ocean of change.:)

      Yes, I was super chuffed to hear on your blog that you have chosen to take up this challenge too. Yay!
      Danke, danke Keith. 🙂

  5. We use cloth bags and are doing our best not to spoil our environment. But I really wish people would learn not to throw bottles by the side of the road. Many people going in big cars do this!! Garbage disposal is a big problem too. There are many rivers in our place. Once we were horrified to see a person throw garbage into the river!! I feel children should be taught about keeping the environment clean right from the beginning in school.
    Thank you for this post.

    1. Thanks Lakshmi for sharing these.

      KIds these days are far more aware, I noticed. Or, at least the kids I know.
      Schools have started including sustainability and climate change as part of their curriculum. Yet, I know the awareness needs to be amped up manifold, even in small town and the rural areas. That’s where India’s major chunk of population resides.

      Yes, it’s infuriating to see people throw single use plastic out of their vehicle windows. Our water bodies across the worlds have been taken for granted for way too long, and all the chemical waste from factories and even plastic dump ends up there.

      It’s really sad how the marine flora and fauna are being destroyed due to these callous actions.

      I’m not too sure if people are aware that masks need to be cut off from the string before being discarded. Or that milk pouches need to be used by slitting them and not snipping away the plastic, as it causes huge micro plastic pollution which is never going to be recycled and extremely hazardous too.
      Here’s a video on how to do the same.

      Here’s a video that explains how to snip the milk bags or sachets.

      https://m.facebook.com/thebetterindia/videos/heres-how-you-can-cut-milk-sachets-to-minimise-plastic-pollution-if-done-correct/274607228079569/

      Thanks for sharing your views.
      Good day!

  6. Such wonderful ways to love the earth. We only have one earth.

    Thank you for joining the Happy Tuesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Happy Tuesday. Love and hugs sweet Natasha. ♥
    Sandee recently posted…Happy TuesdayMy Profile

  7. Single use plastic is the worst, but pretty much all plastic needs to go. I’ve been trying to cut as much as possible, but it isn’t easy. I do think more places need to do bans – the more bans there are, the more people will innovate and come up with eco-friendly replacements. The more viable replacements, the easier for everyone, the more people will switch. Of course all of the grocery stores around her sell “cloth” bags that are made of plastic. Better than single use, but not by much! And they don’t last like cotton.
    Keep spreading the word.

    1. Actually Trent, those “cloth bags” sold as a replacement to plastic fibres are equally terrible.
      They have micro-plastics and again they aren’t recyclable. Unfortunately, many people don’t know of this.

      Also yes, more bans might help as you rightly pointed out. At least people will come up with sustainable solutions. It’s just that I’ve seen even after all the bans there are people who will continue to flout the rules and that is way too unfortunate.

      There are also now many zero waste grocery stores across the world that encourage people to carry their own jars, containers and bags. I hope that culture picks up more and more going forward.

      Have a marvellous week, Trent.

  8. In Florida there were no restrictions on plastic bags. Here in Connecticut there are no plastic bags available in the markets and there is a surcharge if paper bags are requested as well as for any items in recyclable bottles (with refund when returned). It takes getting used to, but after only a few shopping trips it has become second nature.

    1. That just so heartening to here, Ken.

      Wish more places and states adopt this policy too.
      Yes, it takes a little getting used to, but before we know it; it does become second nature.

      Wishing you good health and well being always.

  9. I am totally with you on this Natasha. Unfortunately, here the ban on one time plastic is nowhere to be seen. A few years back too, when this ban was imposed, use of one-time plastic trickled back into the system. Unless the law enforcers are very strict about implementation, it will sadly not work.

    I have ticked 1,2,and 3 from your list. Yet to incorporate 4 and 5.
    But the amount of plastic that has made inroads into our lives is huge. Sadly huge multinationals too use plastic for their packaging, while they can definitely be trendsetters and opt for other eco-friendly material. I fail to see why people turn a blind eye to the damage it is causing to our environment.

    Yes, there are few conscientious people who are doing their bit. Kudos to you for being one among them. Keep shining your light and have a blessed week ahead ❤️

    1. Thanks dear Radhika. Wish more people like us join the #noplastic brigade.

      I believe you are doing great with your efforts.

      Yes, I hear you on how the bans haven’t worked in the past. It has to be enforced in a more streamlined manner and of course in ways that are far more stringent.

      You are so right about all the multinationals flippantly using plastic in all their products. They are the change makers and can make a world of difference by making the switch and encouraging others to follow suit.

      Everything is packed in plastic, including aggarbatti/incense boxes which are lined in plastic and then they hold the aggarbattis also in plastic inside the box, all the biscuits, namkeens; and then there are tetrapacks, though there are a few eco-friendly ones now too. It’s an endless list, but we can at least start with the basics.

      I remember when we were growing up, there was barely any plastic. Toothpastes came in metal packaging, soft drinks in glass bottles, candies in paper wrappers, except the chocolates.

      Hopefully things will turn even though slowly, but it’s going to take a long time to avert the damage that has already been done.

      You have a glorious new week, and keep inspiring others with your words and thoughts.
      Much love, Radhika. <3

  10. I go with you: less plastic. 🙂
    I have only had textile bags for shopping – I have never liked plastic bags.
    I try to do my best in “my square”.
    I understood that in 2021, along with the plastic bottles from the oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, tons of medical masks were collected… 🙁
    Thank you, dear Natasha! <3 The same for you: love, light and laughter. <3
    Big hug. <3

    1. Totally so, I just wrote in a comment above how the marine life is being disastrously impacted by our callous use of plastic and then dumping it into water bodies.

      I’m so glad you are tuned in to this beautiful cause, dear dear Di.

      Bless you, and I send you loads of good vibes, and tons of love, hugs and good wishes for a glorious week. <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge