Plastic Free July

It seems that plastic has wiggled it’s way into all parts of our lives, but what seems so convenient in the moment is reeking havoc on our planet. Plastic Free July is a challenge where you pledge to take on eliminating single use plastic during the month of July. Even though I’m not usually a “joiner”, my sister talked me into it and we signed up last year. As sisters tend to do, we went about incorporating it into our daily lives very differently, but we both found it to be an eye opening and useful exercise…..so much so we are doing it again this year!

Crow Homestead 2018

Last year the main focus for us was to stop using any single serving plastic the whole month of July. All the regular suspects were targeted; straws, cup lids, grocery bags. But what surprised me was when I really started looking it seemed like plastic is on every damn thing!

Grocery shopping was the biggest hurdle and ultimately I had to change where I shopped and what I bought. I live in a small town and I could not find cheese without plastic packaging. I love my cheese so that was the only thing that really felt like a sacrifice. We started going to the Co-op grocery store every week for their bulk section and used our own mason jars….that change alone eliminate a lot of plastic. We also started going to our local butcher shop. I was able to get plastic free packaging for all their meats (not cheese though).

Beverage containers are a close second to the grocery store in piling up the plastic. I think bringing our own coffee cups and water bottles is probably a change a lot of us have already made. What surprised me last year was how many situations came up when I didn’t have mine. Taking the Plastic Free July challenge really helped me firm up my resolve to always have them on hand.

Crow Homestead 2019

This year I want to dig deeper. I’m going to read up on products with single use plastic that I wasn’t aware of. (I’m looking at you tea bags) and find plastic free alternatives. I also want to start looking beyond single use and start finding ways to reduce multiuse plastics.

Peach House 2018

Last year we focused on eliminating our use of the “big 4” single use plastics: Plastic straws, plastic shopping bags, plastic bottles and takeaway coffee cups. I thought this would be really manageable for our busy household.

I did not anticipate how hard it was! How accustomed I was to grabbing a drink while at the checkout line at Target. And remembering to bring a drink when I went to Starbucks was probably the one I did the worst at remembering.

I have to say, July of 2018 really stayed with me. I almost exclusively use my own shopping (AND PRODUCE!) bags at the store now. I do not use plastic straws at all and try to remember to request it at restaurants. The coffee cup situation is probably still the one I struggle with the most.

Peach House 2019

For this July, we are committing to those 4 big items and adding in a couple of our own that we have already been trying to do. I find that the month of July just really makes me aware of all of the single use plastic waste around me and makes me very conscious of my part in it.

So, in addition to the big 4 we are also adding no plastic baggies, plastic wrap, or any other plastic that involves food (silverware, cups, etc). I am going to try to find alternatives to things that are in plastic at the grocery store (so buying in bulk and using jars is one thing I want to start to do). I realize this goal is very fluid, but its the best I can do right now.

Have you ever participated in Plastic Free July? Is it something you might try this year? Let us know! And you can sign up to join the challenge at www.plasticfreejuly.org

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