Plastic Free Tips for a Plastic Free July!

✏️ By Anna Vallery, Conservation Specialist, Houston Audubon

It is the last week of Plastic Free July, so most participants are now pros at identifying single-use plastic items in their life that can be replaced or avoided. To round-out the month, we wanted to share a few tips that Houston Audubon staff felt helped them on their plastic-free journeys. Even though there is only one week left of the challenge, you can take the things you learned this month and apply them throughout the year. Many small actions can result in a big impact!

Here are five tips we wanted to share with you!

1. Choose paper or glass instead of plastic

Paper products are biodegradable and glass products are much easier to recycle than plastic products. Many household goods, like detergent, dry food, and bread, can be just as easily purchased in paper or glass packaging. Love soda? Buy it in a can or glass bottle. Even foods like yogurt often come in a glass option. So, next time you’re at the store, keep your eyes peeled for plastic alternatives!

2. Switch to bar soap

Hand soap isn’t the only soap that comes in bars. You can now find bar versions of shampoo, conditioner, and dish soap without any plastic packaging! Some favorite brands recommended to staff and friends of Houston Audubon are HiBAR’s shampoo and conditioner, Ethique shampoo and conditioner, and Dr. Bronner’s bar soap. For dish soap, check out No Tox Life’s Dish Washing Block.

3. Change your coffee habits

By changing your coffee habits, you can cut massive amounts of single-use plastic! In 2014 alone, enough K-cups to circle the Earth 10.5 times went into landfills. By ditching coffee pods, you can help limit that amount of single-use plastic from being consumed. Getting a coffee to-go? Remember to bring your reusable cup and straw (pro tip: leave an extra one in your car so you don’t forget). And while you’re at it, try to purchase Bird-Friendly Coffee to support conservation-minded coffee growers.

4. Keep reusable grocery bags in your car

The hardest part about avoiding single-use plastic is remembering to bring your reusable items. To always be prepared, you can keep your reusable bags in your car. When you’re done unloading your groceries, take a few extra seconds to immediately put your bags back in your car. If you do happen to forget, ask for paper bags instead of plastic. Doing curbside pick-up? In the notes, request that your groceries be brought out unbagged and placed directly in your trunk. Skipping a bag entirely is always an option!

5. Talk to others about your plastic free journey

Talk about Plastic Free July and your efforts to limit your use of plastic to friends, family, shopkeepers, coworkers, and even the people sitting next to you on the plane! By talking to people about attempting to go plastic-free, they will start to make connections and potentially make changes at home. All of these small changes can end up making a huge impact for our wildlife and, hopefully, show companies that plastic-free options are in demand and the right thing to do.

If you want to learn more tips and get more advice like this, we recommend joining our Plastic Free Houston Facebook group! You’ll find folks there asking questions and sharing advice throughout the year. Have more tips you’d like to share? Feel free to comment here or post in the Facebook group! Enjoy the last week of Plastic Free July, everyone!

Learn more about Plastic Free July at www.plasticfreejuly.org!

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