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A sustainable approach to a more sustainable life goes far beyond a one-month challenge. Plastic Free July can help individuals bridge the gap and delve deeper into ethical living. As the whole world swaps takeaway coffee cups for Keepcups, it’s worth thinking about other simple switches you can make in a bid to use less plastic.

Plastic Free July is a global movement that encourages and challenges individuals to confront their personal plastic footprint. The challenge invites people to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic. Done by making simple swaps and encourages conversations surrounding plastic usage. Beyond the hashtags and the challenge, Plastic Free July empowers people to learn more about living sustainably and implement their newfound knowledge beyond the month of July. 

Here’s five simple steps you can take this Plastic Free July to boost your journey towards a more sustainable life.

1.Plant your own herbs

One of the biggest ways we mindlessly use plastic is in the flavouring of our meals. While fresh herbs are usually accessible at supermarkets and markets, they’re often wrapped heavily in plastic. Supermarket herbs are also unsustainable for your body. Most are doused in unnatural additives for preservation and interfere with herbal health properties. 

One of the simplest ways to conquer this is to grow your own herbs. While the ability to grow and maintain a home garden is a privilege, growing herbs is quite simple.

If you don’t have the space for a flourishing backyard garden, there’s still hope for an indoor herb garden. Basil, thyme, oregano, coriander, dill, mint and parsley among other herbs are known for blooming within small or indoor spaces.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, try replanting your already-purchased supermarket herbs. If the root is still intact, they should keep growing.

Herbs in a small box

2. Swap to bar soap instead of liquid soap

While there’s one hundred and one eco-friendly liquid soap options, cutting down on your plastic consumption might encourage you to make the switch to bar soap. Bars can be found in plastic packaging, but many are packaged in cardboard or other types of eco-friendly material.

Packaged soap

3. Cook from scratch when you can

Our kitchen enables an incredible amount of plastic waste, so one of the best ways to cut your quota is to  make some of your food from scratch. While baking and cooking from scratch is a privilege, if you have the chance, your body and mind will adore you for it.

We often don’t think about the extra bits of plastic we use when cooking: from dips, to condiments, snacks and even bakery bread, plastic is everywhere. If you have the time, consider baking your own bread loaf, grinding your own flour or even freezing your own icy poles.

4. Hit the op-shop or peruse local marketplaces for homewares

It’s easy enough to click purchase or swipe our cards without thinking, but the plastic impact of homeware products is sly and nasty. Most are packaged in cardboard boxes and wrapped internally with layers of plastic. One of the simplest ways to get around this is to shop second-hand at op shops or local online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. 

5. Shop cardboard staples

It can be difficult to make the move to reducing the plastic waste in your life. But shopping consciously is a great start. While it’s hard to completely avoid plastic usage at the supermarket, there’s a plethora of accessible products available that use eco-friendly packaging – especially when it comes to staples. 

Staples like flour, grains, beans and rice are usually quite easy to find in cardboard packaging. All it requires is a mindset change and a conscious will.

About the Author:

Imogen is a Far North Queensland based journalist, activist and media literacy educator. Invested in social justice, she writes extensively on social change, sustainability and the media.