My Plastic Free July Challenge

I took the Plastic Free July challenge to see the impact my little self could have, and the results were awesome. I made lifestyle changes that actually feel like improvements. My iced matcha stays cold all day. My trash bags are light. My hair is shinier than ever and my shampoo and conditioner are TSA-approved in my carry on. The anxiety I feel when I read a terrible headline deserves to be augmented with positive energy, and I get that every time I opt out of the disposable lifestyle we invented, and remember that there was a time before plastics, petrochemicals, and fossil fuels.


Month in Review

Habit: iced matchas

Solution: reusable bottle & wood straw (I like ones with a wide lid so I can see inside and clean it easier)

= 62 plastic cups, lids & straws (2x per day)


Habit: drinking water

Solution: reusable bottle, and the convenience of most placing offering filtered tap these days; I use a Berkey filter at home

= 93 plastic bottles (3x per day)


Habit: too many products

Solution: shampoo, conditioner & body soap bars for shower, bar soaps for sink & kitchen

= 5 plastic bottles


Habit: too many cleaning products

Solution: switched to Blueland for surface, glass/mirror, and bathroom sprays

= 3 plastic bottles (and the energy to transport liquids)


Habit: shopping bags

Solution: carry a compact one in my purse, or just stuff things into my pockets and deal with it

= 12 plastic bags (avg. person has 3xweek)


Habit: ordering food

Solution: eat out more, it was the summer time and I enjoyed that taking a break and leaving my computer was also doing good

= 16 plastic lids & containers (assuming the avg. person has takeaway 4xweek)


Habit: disposable utensils

Solution: a foldable spork that comes in a cute carrying case, and I left a set at the office; also I ate more sandwiches & ice cream always in a cone

= 48 utensils (3 piece set in plastic wrap per takeaway, 4xweek)


Habit: packaging my products for my business in the standard way

Solution: my manufacturers all warned me that the frames would not ship safely without plastic & bubble wrap. I convinced them to test full paper packaging and have shipped bulk orders overseas without a problem. I also offer free local delivery where I can to avoid extra packaging and travel.

= 50 polybags, cellophane wraps, and bubble wrap


Habit: dry cleaning

Solution: handwashing things that say dry cleaning only (the results have been pleasing) but when I really need to dry clean, I bring my own hangers and garment bags

= 20 plastic bags, 20 disposable hangers


Habit: being a menstruating female

Solution: paper tampon applicators (I finally bought a menstrual cup though)

= 25 plastic applicators & wraps


Habit: my office culture of disposable cups, plates, and cutlery (even though we have dishes & dishwashers)

Solution: stopped buying disposables & used that budget as incentive for the cleaning staff to participate

= 2,015 plates, 8,060 cups, 4,030 utensils (62 employees; 2 utensils, 1 plate, 4 cups a day)