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5 Tips and Tricks for Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is an opportunity for us to think of the SINGLE USE PLASTICS that we can go without. It can be a kick start to new, more sustainable, habits. You do not have to go completely plastic free, but if you pick a few things to work on and then attempt to continue those changes into August and beyond.

I figure that having been on this 'journey' for 5 years now, I should share a few of the tips and tricks I found along the way that helped me. Disclaimer is that everyone will find different things useful, but I hope it helps shine a little more light on things other than just swapping out for sustainable alternatives.


This way you are way more likely to actually want to use them. I had a reusable coffee cup that I was given and didn't like. I got annoyed at it because it started leaking and made me grumpy. This sort of feeling can make reducing your waste way harder than it needs to be! Now I have a Stojo that is my favourite colour and doesn't ever leak. 


If you attempt to swap something out and the eco alternative doesn’t work for you (a classic example of this is deodorants) be sure to try another brand. Do not give up straight away. I felt a massive wave of disappointment when I first tried a deodorant bar. I was given another type and it worked so much better. Everyone’s hair, skin, lifestyles are different. So, persevere and don’t feel too knocked back if it doesn’t work first go.  




Omg. Some of you may already know this but I didn’t. I have long hair and attempted to go shampoo free but resulted in a knotty mess. I got this tip from some other awesome zero waster and have found it makes a huge difference.  If you brush your hair before you wash it, it is easier to clean, which means if you are using a natural shampoo (or cider vinegar like me), it does a better job.


It is easy to put a lot of pressure on ourselves with things like reducing waste. But a big part of it is talking to people. Talk to people that may be having similar struggles; share ideas, solutions, and frustrations. Talk to people that are curious and don’t really understand what you are doing; leading by example and having the conversation around where they are at can be empowering. Talk to people that don’t get it at all, but with this one, don’t go too hard out. Sometimes it is hard to engage with people that are staunchly against what you are doing. It may be that they are the laggards and get dragged along with sustainable change – you talking to them may not make much difference. Do what you can, when you can to help empower people around you.



Don’t expect to have it all figured out overnight. I have been actively reducing our household’s environmental impact for 5 years and only just found a solution to milk that works for me. I don’t want cow's milk in plastic, if I buy it in glass bottles it goes off before I use it all, I don’t want to buy plant milk in tetrapaks as they are not recycled here in Christchurch. I have found dairy-free is better for my asthma and finally found this NZ made plant milk concentrate in a glass jar. Got there eventually.


Check out Plastic Free July and Plastic Free July Aoteroa for more ways you can reduce your waste! 



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