List of Essentials for Plastic Free July!
I decided to sign up for the Plastic Free July Challenge a few weeks ago, and at the time thought it would be ever so easy to get through a month plastic-free. Just a few days in and I’m finding it is more of a struggle than I originally thought – plastic is everywhere, and on everything you buy.
I have been a long-time user of recycled shopping bags – even making a trip all the way back to the car if I get to the checkout and realise I have forgotten my bags (btw – you only do this a couple of times before you start to remember to take them with you on EVERY shopping trip).
Thanks to my sister-in-law for buying me some eco silk produce bags (made from endlessly recyclable 100% parachute silk nylon), I use these for the majority of my fruit and vegetable shopping. However, I have to admit that many times I buy pre-packaged produce like cherry tomatoes and bagged salad greens.
I have yet to do my weekly shop this first week in July so I’m expecting that process to be challenging. I’ve prepared myself in advance and purchased a few extra products to help – check out my list of Plastic Free July ‘must-haves’ – you may like to adopt some items into your shopping routine and lifestyle to help ease the plastic burden on our planet and marine life.
I’ve given links to many products however a simple Google search, or a trip to your local wholefoods or health shop, will help you locate these products or other similar versions.
For supermarket shopping:
Eco Silk Fruit and Vegetable Bags
This six pack of fruit and vegetable bags means no more clear plastic bags at the green grocers, farmers market or supermarket, and being one step closer to being plastic bag free. Made from endlessly recyclable 100% parachute silk nylon. Made in China to a high standard of quality under ethical working conditions. 100% Australian owned and designed.
Onya Reusable Fruit and Vegetable Bags
Eight pack of extremely lightweight, mesh, reusable produce bags. Use instead of plastic bags when fruit, vegetable and bulk-food shopping. A multitude of other uses. Bags are made from 100% rPET (recycled plastic drink bottles). Each bag can easily carry 2kg of produce and they weigh virtually nothing on the scales.
These are see-through, making checkout a breeze. Most fruit and vegetables store better and last longer not sitting in a plastic bag where they can sweat. You can also hang the bags on a hook in the pantry. Once home, you can use the bags as a colander to clean the produce inside, so you can wash your salad mix whilst in these bags! Bonus!
Also great for drying your fresh herbs, sprouting, making chutneys, camping, for dry grains and produce from the health food shop, laundry bag for your delicates, and see-through toiletry bags for international travel restrictions.
Onya Bread Bag
Make your bakery run zero waste with this reusable Bread Bag! This bread bag is made from recycled plastic bottles, keeps all sizes of bread fresh, and is easy to clean and reuse for a long time. Each bag is made from 10 recycled plastic bottles, meaning less energy and water used in production. Packaging is printed in soy-based ink on 100% post-consumer recycled paper – so can be recycled or composted.
Made from 100% non-toxic materials. Double lined for fresher bread. Fits most loaf sizes and easily contains six standard rolls. BPA-free and freezer safe. Roll and clip closure creates a handle for easy carrying.
Onya Reusable Bulk Food Bag Starter Set
These reusable bulk food bags are the ideal way to pick up your essentials from your local bulk food store without carrying heavy jars. This set includes 1 Small Bag, 1 Medium Bag, 1 Large Bag, 1 Tote Bag and 1 Bulk Food Carry Case. They can be used to carry flour, pasta, grains, coffee and plenty of other dried food. Not suitable for liquid.
100% Recyclable and sustainable. Each bag is made from BPA-free, recycled plastic bottles and features the tare weight (empty bag weight) of the bag in both ounces and grams. They also have a clear window made of non-toxic, BPA- and chlorine-free PEVA. This window allows you to not only easily see what is inside your bag, but you can also write on that window any unique codes you may need when checking out. Use a coloured wax pencil or whiteboard marker to write on the windows. The window is especially helpful when distinguishing products such as Self Raising and Plain Flour that otherwise look identical.
Onya is a wonderful Aussie company from WA who have been around for a few years and are doing great things for our environment. Onya continually look for better alternatives to products we use every day and seek to remove single-use plastic from our everyday lives. We love their ethics and vision and can’t wait to see what else they have on offer. Their packaging is made from post-consumer recycled material and printed with water-based inks so it is suitable for both recycling or composting!
For eating out:
KeepCup Small Glass Cup
Lead the positive change from discard to reuse with KeepCup, an easy-to-use, clever alternative to disposable coffee cups. Made from tempered glass with a silicone band that insulates your hand from heat. Perfect for the coffee purist or lovers of fine tea to enjoy the cafe experience ‘to go’.
KeepCups are barista standard because they replicate standard takeaway sizes and fit under the group heads of most espresso machines. For espresso-based coffee, the crema remains intact and the portioning of milk to coffee will be correct. The Brew edition café series glass coffee cup comes with a silicone band.
Did you know that once you have used a KeepCup 15 times over a disposable cup, you have reached break even on its life cycle, including cleaning. Every use after that is a bonus for the planet! Australians use approximately 500 million disposable cups a year. Disposable paper cups are made from bleached paper, sprayed with a polyethylene coating, and impregnated with toxic dyes which mean they can not be recycled.
Designed and made in Australia reducing carbon miles (except the silicone band is made in China). KeepCup is BPA-free. Cup made from fully tempered soda lime glass. Lid made from #5 polypropylene, plug is a polyethylene polymer called TPU, and thermal band is silicone. Can be recycled in household recycling collection at the end of its life.
Stainless Steel Straws
If you need a straw (for instance when you’ve ordered a Boost Juice or drink at the cinema), then these little beauties are the perfect solution. Just carry them in your bag or keep a set in your car, and you’ll always have them on hand.
An environmentally-friendly, reusable option. Made from food-grade stainless steel, and comes with a straw cleaner. Just $3 for a pack of 4 at good old Kmart.
Bamboo Cutlery Set
A three-piece reusable cutlery set with fork, spoon and knife. Made from 100% bamboo, a renewable resource, and designed to combat single-use plastics. The perfect addition to your zero waste kit. Ditch disposable plastic cutlery and ‘Choose to ReUse’ instead. Black cotton pouch.
Sustainably produced from bamboo, a fast-growing and highly-renewable resource. By reusing cutlery you refuse single-use plastic which means less waste in landfill. Set includes 1 x fork, 1 x knife and 1 x spoon. All utensils fit in a handy cotton pouch. BPA-free. Lightweight, great for travel and hiking.
I’m planning on buying three sets to keep in the car.
Easy Household Swaps:
Bamboo Cotton Buds
Bamboo cotton buds are a sustainable alternative to plastic cotton buds – they are compostable and 100% biodegradable. Ideal for makeup application and removal and cleaning small areas. Pack of 200 bamboo cotton buds.
When I next go to purchase cotton buds I will be sure to purchase these – no more plastic cotton buds for our family.
Organic Cotton Buds with Paper Stems
100% organic cotton tipped buds with FSC paper stems. Approved by the Organic Soil Association for ethical farming methods. Grown without the use of artificial pesticides and under ethical farming conditions.
Biome Bamboo Toothbrush
The bamboo toothbrush is a minimalist solution to plastic toothbrush waste, with durable Nylon 6 bristles that have rounded ends. The bamboo handle can be buried or composted at the end of its life. Whilst the bristles cannot be composted, Biome’s aim is to offer a resource-efficient, high-quality, dental care toothbrush.
Handle made from MOSO bamboo, which is not the bamboo eaten by Pandas. Heat treated bamboo with no varnish. Bristles are pressed in rather than glued. BPA-free handle and bristles.
The next time we replace our toothbrushes I’ll be sure to buy bamboo versions. They are not expensive and once the demand for these brushes increases, the price will start to decrease.
Join the Challenge!
If you haven’t already signed up for Plastic Free July, you still can – and start taking part today – sign up here. The main reasons to get onboard for this challenge is to avoid landfill waste, reduce your eco-footprint and protect the ocean.
During Plastic Free July you get to choose your level of participation. You can opt to avoid single-use plastic packaging, or target takeaway items (the top 4 being bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups), or take a massive plunge and go completely plastic-free.
You also choose the duration of your challenge – 1 day, 1 week, the full month, or from now on!
By joining the Plastic Free July challenge you become a participant in one of the biggest global campaigns focused on reducing the damaging effects of our world’s overuse of single-use plastic. This community spans 150 countries and more than 2 million people – and counting.
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