How to shop during plastic free July

How to shop during plastic free July

Are you concerned about the current state and future of our planet? You’re not alone.

We all want to live in a beautiful environment that sustains us, our future generations and the beautiful animals that surround us. Which is why, this year more than 2 million people are participating in Plastic Free July, and you can too!

This July, we have good news. Both Coles and Woolworths have announced they’ve banned single-use plastic bags across Australia. Coles also offers plastic recycling, while Woolies says they’ll be reducing unnecessary plastic packaging on 80 more product lines, and ban the sale of plastic straws by the end of the year.

All positive shifts, but are they enough, and what can we do to help?

5 trillion plastic bags are produced every year, and while Woolworths was responsible for a chunk of it (3.3 billion), none of this includes packaging or the thousands of other retail outlets around Australia. It is progress, but we need to do more.

With “over 100 million marine animals killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean,” and only 9% of plastic being recycled, that’s 91% that’s still put into landfill.

While the two supermarket chains have banned single-use plastic bags, Woolworths and Coles have introduced more durable, and reusable (still) plastic bags made from 80% recycled plastic for 15c each. Unfortunately, it is plastic, and most of them (91%) will still end up in landfill. Sure, it’s an improvement, but far from a sustainable solution, so we need to do out part.

Here’s how:

Bring your own reusable bag(s)

Not only at the grocery store, but while shopping for clothes and other items. Many of these reusable bags can fold up into your wallet or hand bag.

Buy fresh bread

Either in paper bags or store it fresh in your own reusable bread bag.

Switch straws

Straws are one of the biggest contributors to landfill, but have a simple solution, use alternative straws. Such as bamboo, glass, and stainless steel straws.

Second-hand clothes

Second-hand clothes are a way to reuse and reduce plastic production because a lot of synthetic and “hybrid” materials are made from plastic.

Buy in bulk

You can buy nuts, dried fruit, seeds, flour, spices, legumes, coffee, grains and more from bulk bins.

At bulk foods stores, groceries, farmers markets, health food stores and online with brands that use paper, glass and sustainable packaging.

Eat more plants

Moving towards fresh produce and away from packaged foods is a way to reduce plastic pollution as well as your waistline.

Use your own water bottle

It’s becoming increasingly accessible to refill our water bottles on the go. Either at work, or at a restaurant, and now in Melbourne, we have three filtered, re-fill water fountain art sculptures - one in Alma Park, and two at District Docklands - with more to come.

So you can take your own water bottle wherever you go!

Opt for soap bars

They’re usually in paper or have zero packaging.

Reusable coffee cups

According to Sustainability Victoria, every year Australians dispose of 1 billion coffee cups per year, with only a few councils who collect them for recycling.

To help reduce this, either opt to buy your own or find a cafe who uses biodegradable coffee cups.

Now we’d love to hear from you.

What’s one sustainable change you’ll commit to this July?

Let us know in the comments below!

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