You’ve made the commitment. You’ve told your friends and your Mum. But are you truly ready? Like all challenges, living with less waste involves preparation and forethought.
To successfully make these habits stick there’s a few things you’ll need to think about...we’ve got you covered!
1. Plan It Out
The ‘p’ word may freak you out, but if you want to succeed in living more sustainably, you must cosy up to it. If you’re out and about, you can’t grab a sandwich to-go. If you want a quick snack, muesli bars are out of the question. Plan what you need in advance, because unlike McDonald’s, bulk food stores and farmer’s markets aren’t open 24/7.
Here’s how to do it:
- Shop for a range of different ingredients you know you enjoy, and you can buy plastic free. Create a meal plan based off the plastic free items you have. Usually, this process is reversed, but doing it this way means you know you have all the ingredients available plastic free. This will save time hunting stores for a plastic free version.
- Make all your meals for the week, at a time that suits you. Freeze them. If you live a busy lifestyle and eat out regularly, this will be your key to success. Make sure you have excess food prepared for the time your friend pops over for dinner, or you’re starving and need extra fuel.
If the ‘p’ word still freaks you out, don’t stress. We’ve also sorted a few more steps for you in our Plastic Free Fridge Guide.
2. Prepare Your Plastic Free Tools
Success comes with mental preparation, but it’s also crucial to have the right equipment to replace single-use plastic with.
Your 'Plastic Free Kit' should include:
- Drink bottle
- Coffee/tea Tumbler
- Metal or Wooden Cutlery
- Carry bags
- Produce Bags
- Your CaliWoods Reusable Straw!
- Food containers
- Glass jars with airtight lids for storing food and bulk bin shopping (Find these at second hand stores, stockpile instead of recycling or ask)
This isn't about going out and buying a bunch of eco things. Utilise the tools you already have at home, this will save you money and save the Earth precious resources. If you do need something, buy from a brand that is doing giving back and making quality. This way it will last and you are supporting causes not just lining pockets!
3. Join Forces
Attempting a less waste life alone is admirable, but your chances of success will sky rocket if you have a plastic-free-partner-in-crime. You’ll keep each other in check when you’re on the verge of giving in. Plastic free tricks and failures will be shared, and imagine the texting banter you’ll have!
Partnering up, or better yet, doing it in a group, will make the challenge so much more fun (plus, bonus points for getting more people on board and helping the planet).
4. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
If your cupboards are currently full of plastic coated goodies, use them up and then they will be out of sight. Treasure the useful plastic items you already have in your life (think plastic storage containers) rather than just doing a full sweep out. The resources have already been used into making it so you might as well give them items a full life! When it comes time to replace, think of a more sustainable alternative that will be long lasting as well as able to be recovered at the end of its life (think stainless or glass containers.
If plastic isn’t in your life, then you have no choice but to avoid it.
Your usual treats won’t make you tempted by taunting you on the shelf, and you may even forget about them.
5. Remember Your WHY
There’s no point doing Plastic Free July if you don’t care about the cause. That’s a recipe for failure. Define your ‘why’, write it down, and stick it to your fridge, or somewhere you’ll see daily.
Your ‘why’ may be the oceans, the turtles, your children, your nieces and nephews, the beaches you love to walk along, the waves you love to surf, or the forests you adore adventuring in. If you’re unsure on your ‘why’, do more research. A competitive nature alone will not get you through.
6. Change Your Mindset
Finally, Plastic Free July is not just a challenge of habit and practicality. It’s a mental game. Self-control and discipline will stop you from grabbing a chocolate bar from the lolly stand at the end of your plastic free shop. It will remind you to bring your food containers when you grab takeaways, and help you lunge over the bar to swat the straw out of the bar tender’s hand.
Plastic is everywhere, it’s intertwined into our daily habits, society, and it takes more than phone reminders to avoid it.
Plan, prepare your tools, find a friend, remove plastic from your cupboards, define your why, and adjust your mindset! You Got This.