Pledge: A Plastic Free July

My plastic-free collection: milk in a refillable glass container, cold brew coffee & kombucha brewed in glass mason jars, my SodaStream, and a ton of cloth shopping bags.  Photo by: Lynn Quire

My plastic-free collection: milk in a refillable glass container, cold brew coffee & kombucha brewed in glass mason jars, my SodaStream, and a ton of cloth shopping bags.

Photo by: Lynn Quire

My Household's Pledge: A Plastic Free July

Next month my husband, Marty, and I will be working on further reducing our single use plastic by taking the PLASTIC FREE JULY Challenge!  Started in 2011 in Western Australia, Plastic Free July has grown to millings of participants in more than 150 countries worldwide. Their Mission is to build a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improved recycling worldwide.

While our philosophy here at Zero Waste Ventures is to make recycling the very last action in a long list of options, we do believe plastics have a place amongst us (though minimally) and recycling is an important element of Zero Waste. The main goal with Plastic Free July is to help you find ways to avoid single use plastics.

Marty and I have already made a lot of changes over the years, but we can always do better. I always take this time to look at our current lifestyle and see what we can eliminate, even if just for the month. One time, we bought milk in glass jars for the month. Eventually we made the switch to always buying milk in glass jars. It’s more expensive and we use a lot of milk. We just adjusted elsewhere to be able to do so. It’s about some give and take, a little at a time. Another recent change has been my coffee. We now have a system where we buy from the bulk section at the store and use a quart mason jar. I keep two, one I’m using currently and one full one. When the one I’m using gets empty, it goes into the reusable bags (along with the milk jug) and it gets refilled.  I found I am saving money because the bags I used to buy have went to 12 oz instead of 16 oz. So, the price per actual pound is cheaper in the bulk aisle.

So, what is our personal challenges for the month? We are great at taking bags for grocery shopping, mainly because of the milk and coffee system. But we do have issues when we run to the pet store or similar places. You know, the stores you stop at occasionally, on no real schedule?  Most of the time, it works that it is only one or two items and we can carry. We don’t think about the shopping bags at these places. You would think we would, but we are human, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen. So, during July we are really focusing on making sure we have bags available in both cars always for these quick stops.

The second challenge involves packaged meat. We are meat eaters and I do not see that changing anytime soon. To save money, meat is purchased when on sale, in usually larger package. Our freezer is stocked, especially since it is summertime and we like to use the smoker and the grill. During July, we will be limiting our new purchases of meat and eating from the freezer as much as possible. We pledge to frequent the meat counters when we need something we don’t have. Some stores have said they will let me use my own container, but they must weigh the meat on butcher paper and they will allow me to then place it in my own container.  I will be sure to let you know how this goes because I am sure there will be some resistance. We also have decided to make at least one day a meatless meal day.

Other recent successful changes I’ve made is making my own Kombucha and cold brew coffee. I make my own syrups to use in the Kombucha, coffee, tea and soda, especially with berries, fruits and herbs coming on strong. I love fizzy drinks and one of the best gifts I’ve gotten recently was a SodaStream from my kids on Mother’s Day. I have not bought a soft drink since (and that used to happen at least once a week or more).

I have one bigger goal for the month of July. I would like to have local coffee shops change their counter for just one day. Move the single use cups to the back counter and the reusable mugs next to the registers. If you are sitting in a coffee shop, do you need a single use cup? No. The reason most people have them is because it is automatic for the barista to give you one. People forget to ask. I want to make them ask for the single use product. It is a huge challenge, but one worth tackling, in my opinion.

I would love to see you take the plastic free challenge. Head over and take the Pesky Plastic Quiz and then make the pledge to change something in your currently lifestyle to help eliminate your need of single use plastics. Share in the comments what your challenge is and then head over to our Instagram and Facebook pages and follow our journey through Plastic Free July. We will be posting wins, fails and helpful tips to get you through the month and maybe help you make a few permanent changes.