I didn't know there was a plastic- free July when I decided to set out on a plastic-free June. I just knew that World Oceans Day and my birthday were in June and I wanted to make a bigger difference this year. I am going to participate in both, and needed some direction!
The more I researched, the more I realized that I didn't want to reinvent the wheel with this blog post. There are so many great ones out there, and I'd rather just make a jumping off point to those, and all the useful products that I've found. I am just trying to figure out how to go plastic-free for a month, or two, or more, to the best of my ability. I know it is going to look different for each person, but the categories will be pretty much the same. I decided it's easiest just to give you a set of links, so that when you're ready to find alternatives in one area, you have someplace to go for reference.
Remember that going plastic or waste free is about reducing, so don't think that you need to buy a bunch of stuff to do this. For example, I will not throw away my shampoo before it's all gone, even though it might not be gone this month. I will, however, choose something from my new list of resources when it has run out, to avoid plastic consumption for the next shampoo purchase.
Work- As an artist, my first priority was to use up the tubes and mailers that I have in stock to change it over to plastic-free packaging. I found these new options, and I am even considering sending the leggings and shirts in tubes too! Let me know what you think!
-Mailing tubes with snap-seals instead of plastic (wholesale)
- Tape without plastic
- Pen (might just switch to pencils, but here is another option for signing prints and all my handwritten notes and journals)
Lunches and drinks- I'm going to skip linking the most popular. It's pretty easy to find reusable bottles now, thank goodness. The reusable straws are becoming more commonplace too.
-Yeti, Swell, Zac, Kleen Kanteen, Life factory, Dr. Bromers (baby bottles)
-If you care brand sandwich bags
-Beeswax cloths- I have these and have used them on the other half of a watermelon, but honestly use regular glass storage containers like pyrex more often (yes they have plastic tops...)
-Foldable Napkin- I thought this was cool because of how many differnt uses it could have
-DIY Beeswax cloths- I found this, if you are interested in making your own (I don't have time right now, but thought it would be a fun craft with the boys some day!)
Food storage and fridge- This is the hardest part for me. We vacuum seal fish as we catch them, but I want to find an alernative. I read some articles about putting containers in the freezer with the top off and then letting them freeze before making a layer of water on top... I might try that with our pyrex lasagna pans (plastic lids, again ugh!). Might just have to fish more often and share what we catch if it's too much. Sounds like a win-win still! For the rest, I already have glass food storage containers I got from costco, and corningware from our wedding, so I'll continue to use those.
-Stainless steel freezer containers $$- These were great options, but pretty expensive!
-Ice trays- I'm trying to avoid buying silicone too, even though we have an awesome silicone whiskey ice tray already, this might be my nest purchase, when the plastic ones start to break.
-Trash bags- This is pretty cool! I didn't know they could compost trash bags- only problem is the fact that if you put organic material with plastic, in a landfill environment, this trapped organic material releases methane gas... composting is a whole other topic, but I hope you feel empowered to learn how to do it at your house (we've been on and off with it for a year and still learning).
-Dish Soap Bar
-If you care dishwasher tablets
-Young living dishwasher powder- this one you need to find or become a consultant.
-Soap dispenser lid for mason jars
Wooden toilet brush- Maybe when the plastic one we have needs to be replaced
-Reusable paper towels- if you care brand
-Norwex cloths and mops and dusters- Another one that you need a consultant for
-Unpaper towels- one world- zero waste is a store in Tequesta, Jupiter for you locals. They have a ton of options, and even bulk items to refill!
-If you care gloves are compostable! I was also thinking they were great for a beach clean up day!
-Use a glass or reusable spray bottle to add your cleaner to, (I like thieves or peroxide)
-IYC Parchment baking paper
-IYC parchment baking cups
-Econuts- soap nuts, crazy stuff, but I'm almost out of laundry soap so I'm trying it!!
You can buy bulk from wholefoods or Greenlands, but I’m excited to try the soap nuts.
-Dryer Balls are available all over now, and I drop some essential oils in them to make it smell good
Clothes- I just limited my wardrobe to 33 items (I'll share more about this later), so I'm not in the place to buy new things right now, but I'm saving this article for when I do:
-10 Affordable, sustainable, plastic-free brands
-Icebreaker shirt- if I had to buy something new, it would be this shirt! Check out this article about this girl who wore it 7 days in a row!!!?!
-Tommy Owens Sunglasses- even though I lost these glasses they are still my favorite and waiting to get a new pair someday soon...
Babies and Kids-
I loved Greenpath Baby when it was a brick and mortar store to be able to talk to the owner, Vanessa, about all the ways to be more sustainable with my babies and Cloth diapering, etc. Now you can still view all the products online, but also join their active Facebook group to learn more from a huge, helpful community.
Check out this post I wrote explaining what we learned, if you are on the fence
Personal Care- this has to be one of the hardest areas by far...
-Toothbrushes- we tried these and so far I do really like them. I'm bummed not to be able to find one not completely made without plastic (bristles), but at least I can compost everything but the head.
-Toothpaste- This one can be refilled at One World-Zero Waste
-Deodorant- I’ve done the whole natural deodorant thing for 4 years, and am finally happy with -Primal Pit Paste, but I need to switch to the glass jar next.
-Make-up removal pads- I've been using cotton make-up removal pads and didn't know they still use plastic in some of those?! EWW, so found these that I can just wash in the laundry and reuse.
-Condoms - this was a great article!
-Beauty Counter is pretty impressive in their chemical free and recyclable packaging, It's not completely pakage free, but getting closer every day, Check out this article.
-Lush has a lot of package-free make-up and lets you return packaging to reuse. They also have a lot of stores now to be able to try things out.
-This article had some other good options
Shaving- I'm pretty nervous about the safety razor switch, but this one has good reviews...-
- Leaf Razor***** Tried and love this one, got my rose gold one at One World-Zero Waste
Shower- haven't tried any of these yet... It's pretty personal based on hair type, so I think there will be a lot of trial and error for everyone in this area.
-friendly soap (includes tips on switching to natural for your hair)
-Beauty and the Bees lets you pick products based on hair type
-Organyc- rounded cardboard applicator and organic cotton- cheapest I found- $5 for 16
-Seventh Generation was $6 for 16
-Silicone menstruel cups do save a ton of money and still saves plastic, but it hasn’t been tested for how it effects your body sitting in there for long periods (no pun intended). With my own health issues, I have to opt out of that one for now.
-Reusable panty-liners, were also available at One World-Zero Waste
Food Shopping- still working on this list, and will update as I learn more, but here's where I'm at:
Costco is bulk, try not to buy individually wrapped items there.
Wholefoods has bulk areas you can bring your own bags for
I've discovered One World, Zero Waste in Jupiter, FL
In Miami there is a place called Verde Market
Earthfare, Boynton Beach and Palm Beach Gardens
Jar- stuart, FL
Don Victorios, WPB
People to follow for tips and tricks
-Trash is for tossers- youtube videos explaining how to buy in bulk at stores (still need to find more local stores to buy in bulk). She also had this one video about her mason jar of 4 years of plastic and it was such an eye opener.
-Kathryn Kellogg- Going Zero Waste
-Bea Johnson- the mother of zero waste (has a book I'm going to try to read in my spare time)
-The Plastic Free Mermaid
This is a growing list so please feel free to comment or email me if you have things you want to add. Let's work on it together!!
Carly Mejeur is a floridian artist, inspired by her ocean hobbies and travels. This Blog is for news, events, and just for fun. Click here for the artist's Bio.