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10 ways to go plastic free this July

Plastic - our planet is literally drowning in the stuff and the impact it’s having on the environment, wildlife and marine life is devastating. As we’ve all become increasingly aware of just how big an issue plastic pollution is, more and more of us are trying to cut down on the amount of plastic we use. Plastic Free July is the perfect opportunity for you to challenge yourself to reduce your reliance on single-use plastic, and eventually grow your commitment to living plastic free, helping to protect our precious planet. 

Read on to discover all about the global movement that is Plastic Free July, how plastic harms the environment and 10 ways that you can say goodbye to single-use plastic.

what is plastic free july?

Plastic Free July is a global movement, which aims to help millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution, allowing us to have a cleaner environment and change the planet for good. Throughout July, participants are challenged to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic by eliminating one or multiple single-use items from their daily lives, with the aim to discover great alternatives that will become new habits. You can start out small or really challenge yourself, and over time the changes you make can make a big difference.

Plastic Free July provides a range of resources and ideas that will help you to reduce single-use plastic waste, whether at home, work, school or in your local community. The movement has inspired over 100 million participants in 190 countries and making just a small change can collectively have a huge impact. 

how to say goodbye to single-use plastic

Completely ditching single-use plastic is certainly a challenge, and so it’s a good idea to start slowly, focusing on the areas where you know you can avoid single-use plastic. If you’re unsure where to begin, common single-use plastics that you can easily say goodbye to include plastic bags, water bottles, plastic straws and takeaway coffee cups - there are plenty of reusable products that are available, which you can use instead, so you can play your part in helping to reduce plastic pollution. 

Here’s 10 ways that you can go plastic free this July and beyond:

1. Say no to plastic straws - it’s estimated that 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws are polluting coastlines around the world. Next time you’re ordering a drink, just have a think if you really need a straw and say no if you don’t.

2. Bring your own reusable bag - since the plastic bag charge was introduced, there’s been a huge reduction in their use. If you keep forgetting to take your own reusable bag out shopping, keep a foldaway one in your everyday bag and this way you’ve always got one with you.

3. Make use of reusable bottles - 7.7 billion plastic water bottles are used in the UK every day. Carrying your own reusable bottle is a simple yet effective way to reduce plastic use and you can save money too.

4. Avoid excessive food packaging - choosing food which doesn’t contain excessive plastic packaging is a great way to try and cut down your plastic usage. Buying loose fruit and veg is one way you can say no to plastic packaging and an added bonus is that it’s cheaper than pre-packaged food.

5.Get fresh milk delivered - getting your milk delivered in glass bottles reduces your plastic usage further and you’ll help to support a local business too.

6. Avoid disposable plastic cutlery - it’s so easy to get caught out when you’ve bought takeout food and the only cutlery on offer is the plastic type. So make sure to carry a fork or spoon in your bag when out and about.

7. Use your own reusable coffee cup - 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year and many are not recyclable. Invest in your own quality reusable coffee cup that you can use well into the future and cut out plastic coffee cups completely. 

8.Pack your lunch in reusable containers - disposable plastic food bags and containers don’t make for an eco-friendly lunch. Make use of stainless steel food containers, reusable sandwich bags and beeswax food wrap instead.

9. Swap liquid soap for bar soap - making the switch from liquid soap and shower gel to bars of soap is an easy way to reduce your use of single-use plastics. Take things one step further and ditch shampoo in plastic bottles too in favour of shampoo soap bars.

10. Switch to a bamboo toothbrush - changing your non-recyclable plastic toothbrush to one made from bamboo gives you a quick and easy way to reduce your plastic usage.

how plastic harms the environment

Plastic pollution clogs landfills and sewers, and whether it’s on land, in the rivers or oceans, it has a devastating effect on wildlife and marine-life. Plastic is made from highly durable properties, and never truly breaks down, instead, over time it just gets smaller, which leads to plastic particles. These particles end up being mistaken for food and are ingested by fish and wildlife.

Another way plastic harms the environment is that 99% of it derives from oil, natural gas and coal, which are all non-renewable resources and a staggering 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year. It’s clear to see that a huge change needs to happen to help protect our environment, making Plastic Free July more important than ever.

how Silentnight is helping to tackle plastic pollution

At Silentnight, we are dedicated to minimising our impact on our environment and our eco design principles put sustainability at the heart of product development. The Silentnight Eco Comfort range of mattresses, duvets and pillows use fillings made from recycled plastic, including bottles. 

So far, the Eco Comfort collection has prevented the equivalent of a staggering 525 million plastic bottles entering the ocean and in addition to this, we work in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society, helping to ensure the oceans are further protected from plastic pollution. What’s more, all our mattress wraps are 100% recyclable and contain 30% recycled content,  and our zero-to-landfill policy shows a real commitment to ensuring that no waste from our factories ends up in landfill sites. 

Author - Liz Tabron

Liz Tabron

Liz has over 7 years' experience in writing lifestyle, home, health, and eco content. Liz's mission is to make accessible our expert team's knowledge.