Plastic Free July

Jul 25, 2022

Life has been relentless and I’m still rummaging for the bits I can gather to have the energy I need to move. This little piece is one of them because it’s Plastic Free July! 

Ever heard of it? Visit Plastic Free July to learn more!

Happy Plastic Free July. let this be a little reminder to be mindful of your waste in every space you find yourself in. At the drive-through picking up your take-out? Skip the straw, utensil, and napkins if possible. And it should be possible because we should be getting into the habit of carrying our own utensil kit and paperless napkin or cloth. When I lived in China I used to have a collapsible silicone Tupperware that I’d take with me everywhere I went and it indeed came in handy for all those leftovers I knew I would eventually be taking home with me. There were always leftovers and I am one to save leftovers.

I found some on Amazon that I’ve been thinking about purchasing for a while now. I just don’t know how sustainable or eco-mission-oriented the companies are and so that’s stopped me from clicking the ‘buy now’ button. I know there is something better out there I just need to find it. 

Research is always a given task for mindful behavior and in the meantime, I’ll take my eco-metal container or collapsible Stojo cup with me. Yes, I use my cup to store food, sometimes. My mom used to always say, “la pansa no sabe” Spanish for “the stomach doesn’t know” and what the stomach doesn’t know won’t hurt. So Stojo cup for food leftovers it is. 

If you haven’t been as eco-conscious as you’d like to be remember that every day is a chance to be better than the day before. So today, as you read this, make a mental list of things you could begin to incorporate today. Things you already have at home that could be more of use to you in your zero-waste journey. 

Have a Tupperware just sitting in your cupboard, store it in your everyday bag, car, or backpack, and the next time you are out and near it, whip it out and refuse any takeout containers. Mother ^ thanks you. 

There is no Planet B and from the looks of it, Planet A isn’t doing so well. 

I tend to want to do everything at once. I get inspired and I overwhelm myself expecting to get to 100% by the end of one day. Don’t be like me. Be better than this girl and take it slow. Being mindful of your process of shifting towards a more sustainable lifestyle requires more than just purchasing a few cool new things. 

Actually, you should be purchasing as few things as possible and repurposing the things you already have. Give them a new life, a new purpose, and a new adventure. 

Repurpose = patience + creativity

I always want the newest, coolest-looking things. I love kitchenware like plates, cups, pitchers, etc. I want a cup for every occasion and it better be the entire set. Although recently I’ve been into mixing styles. I want cup sets for ice cream, another one for champagne, a specific set for red wine, and if possible another for white. Hoarding is an issue of mind and isn’t the most eco-friendly habit to hang on to. 

You don’t need to give up who you are or what you like cold-turkey. It would be helpful, but always keep your own happiness and needs in mind. 

Of course, I can’t keep buying things I don’t need and have even less space for. At the end of its use in my home, they most likely will end up in the bin or stored in boxes. Basically lifeless and taking up space. More waste Mother Earth could do without. 

Find an equilibrium. Mine is second-hand. About 95% of the things I purchase are second-hand. This shifted my closet to being about 60% thrift. The plates in my cupboard are 100% second-hand. And don’t even get me started on furniture. It sounds like I shop a lot. But I promise I don’t. It’s been a few years of this lifestyle and I don’t get rid of things as quickly as the new iPhone comes out. Actually, my current iPhone 8 is second-hand, the volume buttons don’t work and the battery life span is hanging by a thread. After a few murderous drops, the left bottom screen has become permanently lifted. Yes, I need a new phone. Weirdly enough, I care more about those vintage flowered plates in my cupboard than I do this phone. As I said, nothing’s perfect. Actually, I don’t think I said that but you get the gist. Being eco-friendly doesn’t come with a smooth ride or clear instructions. But boy does it require patience. 

One day I plan to host a leave an item take an item swap event with friends and family. Got a shirt you no longer use but is still in great condition, maybe your friend or cousin could take it off your hands. Everyone has “new” items in their closet and a fresh wardrobe for zero/a a quarter of the price. 

It’s a win-win.

We don’t need one person doing things perfectly, we need a million people doing things imperfectly. 

 

So I leave you with this non-exhaustive list hoping they inspire a bit of zero waste action from you. 

What you do, and how you eco, is important. No matter how imperfect it is.

Bathroom

Refill your container of  _ at your local zero waste store.

tooth tabs or toothpaste

Floss

Lotion

Shampoos

conditioner

Hand soaps

Essential oils 

Facial moisturizer

Facial cleaners 

Facial toners

Mouthwash

Baking soda, 

Epsom salt and any other item you can think of 😉

DIY 

Exfoliators, hair oils, etc, mouth wash,lip balm, perfume, 

Buy deodorants, chapstick, and makeup in reusable or compostable containers. 

Use a metal tongue scrubber vs a plastic one (you’ll never need to buy one again)

Also a metal razor

Bamboo what you can – toothbrush, travel containers, etc.

Not your 

Etc.

Laundry

Refill your container of laundry detergent at your local zero waste store.

Replace your dryer sheets with a reusable dryer ball

Hang your clothes to dry (zero waste means waste of resources and energy as well)

Kitchen

Use reusable or compostable dish sponges

Refill your dish soap container or use dish soap bars

Swedish cloth towels

Beeswax wraps vs. plastic wrap

Silicone or Stasher bags vs Ziiploc plastic bags

DIY cleaning supplies – follow my friend Rachel’s zero-waste Instagram Sustinability108 for cool DIY hacks and knacks 

Closet

Second-hand goodies 

Cut and sew old garments

Repurpose old clothes into cloth napkins

Author

Author

Natalie Amezcua

Natalie (she/her/hers) is a humane educator and solutionary writer living in Los Angeles.

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Natalie is the author of sonatsays – blog. She is a solutionary thinker, dog mom, writer, and advocate for animal protection, environmental conservation, and human rights. Natalie has recently moved to her hometown of Los Angeles after living in Asia for several years to focus on her studies.

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