June 30, 2019

That Time it Was Plastic Free July 2019 (Part 1)...


Plastic Free July begins TOMORROW!

I've made my lists...
Turns out I already do everything on Plastic Free July's Challenge list. So, yeah, I have to delve deeper.

I went through "My Plastic Free Life's" 100 steps list, and here's what I've got and Husband seems to be okay with playing this game with me.

Stuff I used to do and will do again/more:
  • Buy milk in glass
  • Make yogurt from said milk
  • Make salad dressing from said yogurt!
  • Don't buy ANYTHING packaged in plastic
  • Use bar soap (just say NO to liquid!)
  • No plastic-fiber clothes/only allowed if used.
New stuff I want to try/reattempt:
  • Make fresh mozzarella
  • Cleaning products
  • Make lip balm
  • Buy/use metal safety razor
  • Make lotion
  • Use reusable containers for fish/meat/cheese
  • Make glue
  • Use a shampoo bar
  • Make deodorant
  • Henna hair dye (I mean... I don't dye my hair... it's totally all still brown.)
  • Make tortillas

Things I currently do that I want to brag about share as ideas for you!:

Toothpaste. I use a mixture of mostly-baking soda, sea salt, stevia, and coconut oil. Adding some peppermint oil helps with the taste.  Husband says it's bad because it doesn't have any fluoride in it. Shrug.

Toilet paper. This was a bit tricky as almost all TP comes in plastic packaging in the store. The only way to avoid it is to buy individual rolls which costs more. I forgot about this one until I saw an ad for a company called "Who Gives a Crap" that sells toilet paper that's not made from trees. I'm actually not sure they don't put it in plastic. It's available in the US but it wasn't when I first heard about it.
I think seeing their individually-wrapped rolls made me realize that I've seen that before in public bathrooms. I searched on Amazon and found that I could buy plastic-free toilet paper! Each roll is individually wrapped and then shipped in a cardboard box. So not-so-great for trees, but paper does recycle better than plastic. Oh, also I had to buy 80 rolls of it for it to be affordable. After the 80 rolls were gone I decided to buy the same product in a 40-pack instead. It's more expensive, but after Husband moved in I didn't have room for 80.

Garbage bags. This also costs me money. I buy compostable trash bags. Both for kitchen and bathroom/bedroom trash.

Silicone straws. I already had reusable plastic and metal straws. I use them at home. But they're not very transportable. I got some silicone straws cause they sounded fun, and then really liked them cause I can fold them up and put in my purse.
Finding a case was tricky. I'm currently using a little cloth baggie, like one you might put sunglasses in. There are also these collapsable ones. Ideal if you need a straw for a milkshake or margarita.

Travel utensil. I got one of these as a gift. I use it a lot. There are also plastic ones that are more affordable.

Tea. This might be hard depending on where you live. Or not,  I don't know. We have a coffee shop in town that roasts its own coffee and also sells looseleaf tea. I bring my own container (they are nice enough to tare it for me) so that I don't have to use one of their bags that is lined in plastic.
I don't have easy access to a sink at work, so instead of using a tea ball, I use compostable filter bags.

Pasta. A lot of pasta actually comes in a mostly-plastic-free box, but it's on my list because Husband makes fresh pasta. I get no credit for this. We do sometimes use the boxed stuff, but never the ones that come in plastic bags. Even though that means I can't eat tortellini. We solved that by making tiny ravioli that is sort of like tortellini.
This does require a pasta maker and some tedious work.

Ice cream. Ask for a cone instead of a cup. The cups are either made out of styrofoam or are paper-lined-in-plastic. At places that only have cups, I immediately wash and dry the cup and bring it back (self-service places).

Reusable beverage holder. I have so many that I'm not sure it's any better than using the disposable ones. No, it's probably better. I just have to keep/use them all forever. But I really have to stop buying new ones.
I'll often use my coffee mug for water also. It keeps it colder longer and only tastes a little like coffee.

No chips or packaged cookies, etc. This is hard and annoying, but it actually keeps me way healthier.

Bags. It took years, but I now always have reusable shopping bags with me and smaller bags for produce. I also use reusable bags in stores that aren't supermarkets. It helps that I have a million bags so they are noticeable for needing to be returned to cars.
When I don't have bags, I say no to a bag and carry my stuff out in my hands/arms/purse.

Paper towel. I don't really use paper towels in the first place, but I found reusable, bamboo "paper towels." I actually like these, but if you have guests, they may think it's regular paper towel and will use it to dry their hands once and throw it away. I also like "flour sack" cloths for paper-towel replacement (think: draining fried food).

Food storage. I use containers with lids (some glass, some plastic) instead of using plastic wrap. When I do need a cover, I use foil or "Unilids" (found on Kickstarter, now on Amazon). I also have some compostable and reusable ziplock bags.

Ketchup. I tried "making" my own the first year. It was basically thin tomato paste. I since bought a restaurant-size can of ketchup.
We have one of the regular plastic squeezy bottles that we refill.  The rest of the giant can was recanned in mason jars.
You can't buy just one anymore, so if you want to do this, just find 5 friends who also want to stop buying ketchup in plastic!

Hamburger and hot dog buns. Husband gets the credit for the making, but with my urging. He doesn't always make them, but when he does, they are well-received (took some practice and YouTubing for the shaping).

Reusable partyware. I do use plastic because it is break-resistant and inexpensive, but I have a stack of dollar-store plates and plastic cups (they were actually promo items so I can't recommend where to get some), and old utensils that I bring to BBQs and parties.
My friends actually got on board with this, but I do collect everything and bring them home to wash. For the plates and cups, I had to teach everyone that they're not to be thrown away. I learned that the hard way.

Soda. I have a Soda Stream, but the syrup bottles are plastic, so it's only a little better. Once I use up my syrups, I'm just going to use my Soda Stream to make seltzer. Instead, I buy it in cans only. Aluminum is excellent for recycling.

Bamboo toothbrush. TBH, I only have this for travel. I have to use an electric toothbrush normally or I would have all the cavities. But I have an Oral-B one which has the least-plastic per heads.
I know, the bristles look like plastic - it's a plant-based "plastic," I promise.

Yes, I realize this is a lot. I don't expect everyone to make so many changes overnight or... over-month(?)... Here are the easy ones that make a big difference!:


  1. I love hearing how you're doing this plastic free month! I want to join in!

  2. This was very informative. I have to say...I use plastic frequently. I did not know that July was plastic free month. I use reusable bags for shopping. But, I had already made the effort to buy reusable straws. Slowly, I am making a change, but thank you for the inspiration.

  3. Wow, you are so good at this! I feel like this would be such a challenge lol.

  4. These are some great ideas for ignoring use of plastic. Good to know that you didn't use any plastic of whole month.

  5. I commend you for taking this on. It all seems so inconvenient to me so I know my family would never undertake this.

  6. We also try to live a plastic-free life by bringing reusable bags to the supermarket and department store. We have also abandoned straws.