Easy new habits you could implement this Plastic-free July (despite the pandemic)
It is unquestionable that Plastic-free July will differ SIGNIFICANTLY this year. However, it is important to acknowledge that the challenge itself has been designed to encourage a positive change, not impose the need for perfection. Whilst many stores currently no longer allow bringing your own containers or take out coffee cups, the readjustments to the expectations of living 100% plastic-free will be necessary. Thankfully there are many new ideas you could implement despite all these restrictions.
1. Start composting
This one is so often overlooked, yet could make such a difference. Not many realise that once the organic waste is sent to landfills, it generates enormous amount of methane (greenhouse gas which is 28 times more potent and harmful that CO2). Once the organic matter gets trapped under tons of other waste, it is no longer able to break down without oxygen. Instead, these could be turned into nutrient rich soil perfect as a plant fertiliser, reducing our green house emission all together… and the best part is that anyone can do it (no garden required either!).
Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin. Add brown (dead leaves and branches) and green materials (grass clippings, veg and fruit waste, coffee grounds etc) together. Make sure it is moist (add water if seem too dry). Mix the waste and bury the fruit and veg waste under 10 inches of compost material.
Don’t have a garden? No problem. There are various solutions for those living in apartment blocks. Your options are: collect and dispose at farmers market once a week (I recommend freezing the scraps to avoid bad smell in summer), or, invest in a stainless steel compost bin like this one.
2. Start making your own cleaning products
From old peels and scraps to baking soda and vinegar… There are so many powerful ingredients in your kitchen with a potential of making your own products you will fall in love with. Replace one cleaning product at a time as they run out. Keep the spray bottles and simply experiment. There are so many options and endless variations. Let’s mention for example one of my favourite- infused multipurpose cleaner I mention in my previous blog post. It is super simple to make and so cost effective. Most of the ingredients could be easily sourced in glass bottles in most stores or made with use of leftovers (orange peels are my personal favourite).
3. Invest in a good water filter
A good water filter is a must necessity for any conscious eco warriors. Bringing your own water bottle is great, however depending where you live it could come to a nasty surprise. Sadly water found in taps contains high levels of chlorine as well as some contaminants as it travels through old pipes… therefore in order to mantain the bottled water experience, I’m a big fan of water filters. However solutions widely available at the market proved to be not only costly but also not very efficient (plastic cartridge to be changed up to every 4 weeks, no thanks). Therefore at this point I’m urging you to find out more about charcoal water filter sticks.
Carbon filtering is a method of water filtration that uses activated carbon to remove impurities and contaminants from water (including chlorine!). In fact, most water filter brands use it within their filters (as well as ton of plastic wrapped around it). However, you can just go straight to the source and purchase charcoal filter stick and simply place in your water bottle. It lasts up to 6 months and will produce some of the cleanest mineral rich water that you can get. It is also extremely affordable (6 sticks for $20 from Amazon).
4. Try to quit on the throw away habit
Whilst many of us got used to single use items, these create an enormous amount of waste as well as use huge amounts of resources to produce… and I’m not referring here to single use plastic utensils. Whilst I am not here to tell you to stop throwing anything out and stash it in case it might come useful one day, I’d strongly urge you to try move away from this mentality. Whilst things like paper towels are in fact paper and could be composted, most of the time come in plastic wrapping. However the most important point here- these could have been avoided.
Instead of me telling you what to do or not, in your everyday life just try to think of smallest changes you could make. Stopping buying paper towels and using kitchen towels instead could be just one of them.