Plastic Free July | Top 10 Tips for Reducing your Plastic Use

Plastic Free July is upon us and we’re excited! While here at Balance, we make every month a plastic free one, we are eager to jump in and spread this month’s awareness. We’re big advocates; from product to packaging, we are 100% plastic free. 

At Balance, we aim to keep harmful toxins and microplastics out of our environment by creating sustainable and ethically made garments. Our products are also completely free from nasty dyes and chemicals prevalent in today’s fast-fashion world

As an individual looking to make a difference, it can feel overwhelming knowing where to begin when it comes to such a large-scale issue. That’s why Plastic Free July is such a great place to start. This global movement involves millions of people united for the month of July against plastic pollution that plagues our beautiful world.

How Does Plastic Harm our Environment?

Image by Naja Bertolt Jensen from Unsplash 

One of the big issues with plastic is that it sticks around for ages. This waste monster simply breaks down into smaller pieces, called microplastics, making it harder to remove from the oceans. It’s basically indestructible, designed to defy nature and never decompose. 

These issues may not be something you consider while buying a disposable bottle of water on the go. But almost all plastics are made from harmful chemicals that come from the production of planet-warming fuels like gas, oil and coal. Therefore, our reliance on plastic encourages the demand for these damaging fuels.

What Can You Do? 

The good news is that anyone can get involved! You can start out small in your home, or really challenge yourself when it comes to decreasing your plastic use and waste. 

For example, the products we bring home are produced and packaged using plastic. This causes huge harm to our planet. Plastic Free July encourages every citizen to make a shift towards long-term, environmentally friendly habits in order to reduce the amount of plastic waste going around.

Why you Should Get on Board this July

Around 422 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year and 12.7 million tonnes of that is estimated to end up in the oceans. In fact, plastic makes up around 75%-100% of marine litter. 

For those who may need a little extra convincing, microplastics have been found in the fish that humans consume. And not only that; we are racing towards a world where there may be more plastic than fish in our oceans.

Image by John Cameron from Unsplash 

The chemicals added to plastic pose a huge health hazard. They have been linked to all kinds of conditions like birth defects, cancer, autoimmune diseases, infertility and behavioural issues.  

This waste pandemic makes it impossible for anyone to turn a blind eye. It affects us all, directly or indirectly, and it’s our responsibility to take care of this beautiful planet.

Our Top Tips for Plastic Free July

If you were a partaker in the Plastic Free July of 2020 you’ll already know the drill. For the newbies, how can we all play our part in this worldwide cause? Here are some of our top tips to cut back on your usage and take part in this year’s global effort.

Image by Markus Spiske from Unsplash 

Utilise Reusable Grocery Bags 

This tip may sound overly simple but that’s how any big change is brought about. Making small adjustments or substitutes to our daily and weekly routines create ripples of change in the bigger picture. 

So next time you go for your weekly grocery shop, take your reusable bags with you. You can even keep them in your car so you don’t forget. By not going home with plastic bags after each shop, you take small steps towards meaningful change. 

Switch to Reusable Fruit and Veg Bags

Image by Markus Spiske from Unsplash 

While you’re on a roll with your eco-friendly grocery shopping, why not avoid the plastic packets for fruits and veggies too? 

The human desire for convenience has come at the expense of the planet as well as the people, plants and animals we share it with. Small changes to our shopping habits, like swapping to zero waste produce bags, really can make a difference.

Avoid Bottled Water 

Image by Nick Fewings from Unsplash 

Around 500 billion plastic water bottles are disposed of every year, with a very small percentage actually being recycled. While this is a huge problem for plastic pollution, the production process of plastic also contributes massively to harmful fossil fuel emissions. 

It was estimated that in the US, around 17 million barrels of oil are used to make plastic water bottles each year. We should all consider switching to BPA-free reusable water bottles. This will benefit the earth and your health while also saving you money. That sounds like an all-around win to us!

Build an Eco-Friendly Wardrobe

Clothing is a major contributor to microplastic pollutants. Many people don’t realise that materials like polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic fibers are all types of plastic and are present in about 60% of clothing made today. 

Simply putting clothes through the wash can release thousands of tiny plastic fibers into the water system, which eventually make their way into the ocean. Many of these textiles are only partially recyclable, with 85% ending up in landfills where they will remain for hundreds of years.

Image by Hannah Morgan from Unsplash

That’s why we at Balance the Label are passionate about sustainable, low-impact garments that are both beautiful and kind to our planet. Instead of buying into fast-fashion, why not support ethically, locally-made brands or even try your hand at thrifting. Buying second-hand clothing is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to shop, and it’s fun! 

Swap Out Bottles for Bars

Image by Aurélia Dubois from Unsplash 

Making these simple plastic substitutes can start in your bathroom. Aiming to replace your liquid soaps with eco-friendly soap bars will go a long way towards cutting down your personal plastic usage. 

Studies have shown that liquid soap requires five times as much energy to formulate and 20 times as much energy to package, compared to bar soap. This seems like a pain-free swap to us!

Start Composting

Image by Lenka Dzurendova from Unsplash 

So much of the food that ends up in our garbage is recyclable or compostable. Practicing this saves landfill space. 

It also saves money, resources and improves soil quality. But most importantly, it would drastically cut back the use of plastic trash bags in the home which is ideal! 

Environmentally Friendly Menstruation

Purchasing environmentally friendly period products can make a huge difference. Switching out your store-bought sanitary items for eco-friendly tampons and pads or reusable menstrual cups will go a long way towards lasting change. 

Image by Amy Murrell from Unsplash 

Many women don’t realise just how toxic their mainstream sanitary products are due to the plastic and chemical ingredient profiles. Pads are reportedly 90 per cent plastic, and one pack is thought to contain the same amount of plastic as four grocery bags. Even the absorbent parts of tampons contain a thin layer of plastic. 

The average woman uses around 11,000 disposable menstrual products in a lifetime. That is a shocking amount of single use plastic for one person in this area alone. Fortunately, living in a proactive age of awareness means there are many eco-friendly menstruation products on the market to switch to!  

Reusable Wool Dryer Balls vs Dryer Sheets 

Are you looking to have fluffy, soft laundry without the nasty chemicals and toxins? Well, look no further – wool dryer balls are the secret weapon!

These compact little spheres are a natural, reusable alternative to conventional fabric softener or dryer sheets which are a sneaky, single-use plastic. These sheets were designed with the intention to be used once and then tossed out, where they will remain in the environment forever. 

However, their rounded counterparts are sustainable, renewable and good for the planet. Made with sheep’s wool, they work by bouncing around between clothing to keep fabrics from bunching up or wrinkling. They also cut drying time in half and boost softness with no added static. It sounds like a no-brainer to us!

Pack Litterless Lunches

Image by S’well from Unsplash 

If you’re a parent to school children, or you’re a working person who enjoys a packed lunch, there are easy and sustainable changes you can incorporate.

Instead of wrapping your sandwiches and snacks in plastic wrap or something similar, replace it instead with reusable packaging and containers. This way you can ensure that less litter goes into the trash can and into landfills and oceans thereafter.

Reusable Takeaway Cups

Around 500 billion single-use coffee cups are thrown away each year around the world. These cups range from full plastic to plastic-lined paper cups with plastic lids. They end up in landfills and remain there for hundreds of years.

So why not be part of the solution and avoid takeaway cups? Whether it’s your post-workout smoothie or your morning cuppa joe, bringing a reusable takeaway cup to your favourite cafe is the sustainable way to go.

Image by Jasmin Sessler from Unsplash 

Final Thoughts on Sustainable Plastic Swaps

Armed with these tips and tricks, you’re ready to reduce your plastic footprint. And we hope that you find it so simple and rewarding that you decide to follow these guidelines all through the year, contributing to a better world!.

Together we can implement small alternatives that lead to large-scale change, and that’s what we aim to achieve here at Balance. Let’s all go plastic free this July!

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