Plastic-Free July

Refusing single-use plastics is one of the most positive personal actions we can do to shift the marketplace, and the culture at large, away from practices that are killing the biosphere. But it can be hard to avoid plastic sometimes! What are some of your favorite tips?

A few of mine:

  • Always carry my own spoon, cloth napkin, reusable cup with me.
  • Refuse straws – since I don’t have a medical condition that would make it hard to drink without a straw.
  • Refuse plastic lids when treating myself to coffee at coffee shops; if they say they have to give me a plastic lid on their paper cup, I find another place to get coffee.
  • Refuse bottled water – don’t even have to give it a thought; no sacrifice there. I hydrate before going out, or take a reusable water bottle with me.
  • Patronize Mom & Pop businesses that let me use my own cup, containers, etc.
  • Only buy loose produce; no plastic-bagged produce. Also, some produce vendors at the farmer’s market will accept bags and containers for reuse.

And a tip from a friend:

“And be quick … ‘No bag, please!’ Cashiers are trained in expedience.”

Unfortunately there’s sometimes a lot of shaming and pushback against people trying to refuse/reduce plastics. “Oh, there are so many bigger issues in the world; why are you focusing on that?” The truth is, though, it is a big issue. And, everything we can do to reduce consumption in all other categories helps too. All reductions in every possible category are worthwhile.

Oh here’s another tip (literally): When a business like a coffee shop or restaurant bends its usual rules or practices to let me refuse plastic, I leave the server a huge tip!! A friend and I tipped $10 on a $12 coffee order. Reward earth-friendly practices!!!

Further Exploration:

Plastic-Free July website: “Join millions of people reducing their plastic waste. Plastic Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics?”

• “The Story of Bottled Water” (YouTube video by Annie Leonard, the same knowledgeable, energetic, and persuasive speaker who brought us “The Story of Stuff“).