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4 Things You Can Do for Plastic Free July


Now that it is summer, millions of people are gearing up to participate in Plastic Free July. This annual month-long challenge was created in 2011 in Australia and has since grown enormously; it's now considered one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world, with 250 million participants expected this year.


The appeal of Plastic Free July is that it shrinks a daunting task – cutting plastic out of one's life – into a single month, making it more accessible and achievable than if it were open-ended. There's a sense of community, knowing that so many others are doing the same, and with that comes accountability. You sign a pledge (if you want) and are reminded of it with weekly emails from the organizers.



Hiraman / Getty Images

If you live in the United States or Canada, where your regular grocers or bulk food stores have changed their policies, there are still things you can do to reduce plastic usage this July. Maybe you'll even discover some unusual ways in which to do so, or you'll analyze aspects of your life that you haven't thought about before.



Plastic Free July

1. Start with one thing.


It can be daunting to change everything at once, so instead choose one or two things to make plastic-free. Commit to not using cling wrap, Ziploc bags, plastic shopping bags, takeout coffee cups, plastic water bottles, disposable makeup wipes, plastic food pouches for your kids, or straws. If it goes well, maybe you'll want to expand and add additional items each month after the July challenge has ended. By the time a year has passed, much of your lifestyle will have been transformed.


2. Make stuff from scratch.


A big part of going plastic-free is figuring out how to make homemade replacements for things you'd normally buy in packaging. You don't need to go crazy; even Bea Johnson, founder of the zero waste movement, has spoken out against how some Instagram influencers have taken their DIYing to an absurd level and actually harm the movement by making it seem unattainable.


3. Splurge on plastic-free products.


Shopping isn't typically a solution to environmental problems, but a few smart purchases can reduce plastic packaging in the long run. Do some research during Plastic Free July to learn about products you'd like to acquire and start saving for them. Start with a washable pads, a great travel mug, water bottle, cotton drawstring produce bags, stainless steel food storage containers, shampoo and soap bars, natural deodorant, reusable straws, and more. Check out online retailers such as Life Without Plastic and Package Free.

购物通常不是解决环境问题的办法,但从长远来看,一些明智的购买可以减少塑料包装。在7月的免塑料节做一些调查,了解你想购买的产品,并开始为它们存钱。从可清洗的垫子开始,一个伟大的旅行杯,水瓶,棉拉绳生产袋,不锈钢食品储存容器,洗发水和肥皂条,天然除臭剂,可重复使用的吸管,等等。看看在线零售商,比如Life Without Plastic和Package Free。

4. Think about your clothes.


Synthetic clothes are a major source of plastic pollution in the form of tiny microfibers that are released during laundering. Too tiny to be filtered out, these end up in waterways, animals' bellies, and drinking water supplies. While clothes don't get as much attention during plastic-free campaigns as grocery shopping and food do, they should. It's important to buy natural fibers whenever possible, in order to avoid this form of pollution.


Whatever you do, don't let perfectionism get in the way of progress. Nobody knows what they're doing when they start out, and you'll learn as you go. The hardest part is to begin the process of weeding out plastics, but it quickly becomes fun, even addictive.


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