Sustainable Living

85+ Amazing Ways To Go Plastic-Free this July!

It's crazy to think that plastic was not a common household item until the late 1960s. We live in a world where ending plastic usage seems almost impossible – and yet we survived without it just fine up until 60 years ago. Yes, it is convenient to use, but it has some serious consequences. In less than 60 years, plastic has leached into our oceans, clothes, food, and waterways. It inflicts harm to the environment and all the living beings on this planet (including us, of course).

This Plastic-Free July, our SKL team has come together to give you 85+ super simple tips to live a plastic-free and more sustainable life. Not every single point is about plastic, but we have found that synthetics have found a way into almost every convenient disposable product one way or another. Take it slow, take your time, and remember: zero waste living is a long and amazing journey. Just take it one day and one change at a time.

plastic free July
  1. Always look for alternatives to the common single-use items such as paper towels, aluminum, plastic bags, plastic cutlery, zip lock bags, etc. Finish what you have in your home, and then make the conscious switch as needed.
  2. For a great paper towel alternative, use reusable paper towels, kitchen line hand towels and rags.
  3. I personally love to carry around my reusable cutlery, a glass straw, straw cleaning brush, and various other kitchen tools like chopsticks in my very own personal holder. You can make your own or purchase this here.
  4. Look around the house for plastic tubes and containers and then make a list. The next time you head to the store, simply swap from the plastic tubes and containers to zero waste options such as glass/stainless steel/cardboard. Some great finds here!
  5. I love a good refillable product and nothing beats refillable bathroom products if you're addicted to plastic bottles. Plaine Products has a subscription service to turn your plastic-filled bathroom into an aluminum refillable bottle haven for shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body oil, face wash, and so much more.
  6. Ziplock bags are used for many purposes throughout a home, and great alternatives include stasher bags, linen bread bags, organic cotton sandwich bags, and even various jars/tins/food wraps.
  7. Aim to purchase from bulk bins and support the stores that recognize the importance of bulk buying. Bring your own reusable bag or jars to avoid any extra waste.
  8. When purchasing food, aim to truly only buy what you need and follow a simple meal plan to ensure limited food waste. Great for your wallet and for the environment!
  9. Reusable totes do not need to be pretty canvas bags from the shop. They can be pillowcases, old shirts tied off, and anything else that you can simply turn into a bag! I love using pillowcases.
  10. If you purchase eggs from your local shop, ask them to carry them carton-free so you can simply reuse your cartons over and over to refill! Our local shop does this and the number of saved resources is unbelievable.
  11. In line with #10, if you purchase plant-based or dairy milk in cartons/jugs each week – look around for a refillable or drop of milk service. We have been finding so many amazing plant-based and sustainable “milkmen” options popping up all over Europe and the US!
  12. Spend more time in the kitchen: if you find yourself purchasing the same plastic food products every week – see how hard (or easy) it would be to make it yourself and save tons of money and resources!
  13. Always support local farmers' markets and farmers. If you can, schedule your grocery shopping days around their hours and products.
  14. Make your own cleaning products vs purchasing premade ones at the store. We love to have homemade vinegar, baking soda, alcohol, and eco-friendly scrubbers in our pantry at all times!
  15. You know that big ol' trash can that you use to fit all your trash each week? Turn that into a compost bin and then keep a very small bin for actual trash. Turns out, most of our trash can be composted vs tossed out and we simply need to create a system to fix this huge wrong in our society.
  16. Ask for no straw for your drink or carry a reusable straw in your bag.
  17. Bring your own container for take-out food and leftover foods.
  18. Use a handkerchief instead of a tissue!
  19. Choose a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic one.
  20. Switch to loose leaf tea and use a reusable strainer.
  21. Aim to create meals that can be turned into amazing leftover lunches. I love to make lots of buddha bowls and rice dishes that can be turned into tacos/burritos/salads, etc the next day.
  22. Avoid receipts as much as possible. If you have a ton in your purse, save them for notes or those moments when you need something to write on!
  23. Always think “second-hand first” when purchasing. Look on eBay, thred up, Poshmark, Facebook marketplace, and Vestiare Collective before ever searching new to save money, resources, and the environment!
  24. Opt for reusable q-tips.
  25. Go paperless on all your billings.
  26. Clean your email inbox every 2 weeks to avoid the heavy digital carbon footprint.
  27. Reuse newspapers by using them as gift wrap or fillers!
  28. Use zero waste dishwashing soap!
  29. Instead of gifts, try to gift activities or events.
  30. When shopping for furniture or home goods, aim to support secondhand or sustainable shops that put quality, fair trade labor, and lifetime value as their number one goals.
  31. Mend and repair your broken/torn items instead of discarding them. Cannot do it yourself? Support a local shoe repair, tailor, or repair company!
  32. Use a bamboo brush or pot scrubber when cleaning your dishes.
  33. Ditch plastic shower scrubs and use a loofah sponge or jungle vine scrubber instead.
  34. Make ice and popsicles using a stainless steel mold (so much healthier too – check out these recipes).
  35. Always buy toys secondhand – you will know that they are built to last and can make your kiddo happy for a fraction of the cost without wasting resources.
  36. Instead of simply donating old clothes, try your best to place them in the hands of those in need via selling, placing in buy nothing groups, or having a swap party.
  37. Switch to toothpaste tabs or toothpaste powder in glass jars.
  38. Use homemade laundry soap (either made by you or a small sustainable shop!).
  39. Switch to reusable makeup rounds vs disposable ones.
  40. Give up hair conditioner in plastic bottles and swap for zero-waste conditioner.
  41. Ditch disposable napkins and tampons. Use menstrual cups or period panties instead.
  42. Plant vegetables and herbs in your backyard! First time planting? Try this ready to grow seed starter kit.
  43. Use a micro-fiber filter when washing your clothes to stop plastic from entering our waterways.
  44. Try sustainable makeups in tin cans or glass or cardboard packaging (with refill options). Check out these zero-waste makeups.
  45. Stop buying plastic razors and opt for stainless steel razors.
  46. Give up disposable diapers and opt for cloth diaper or eco-friendly diaper.
  47. Use sisal soap pouches to preserve and get the most out of your soap bars.
  48. Make DIY reusable wet wipes out of old towels/T-shirts!
  49. Go for stainless steel or cast iron cookware (my favorite here).
  50. Make homemade soy milk or nut milk from bulk nuts/beans, nut milk bag filter and water.
  51. Reuse vegetable cleaning water to water the plants. I also love to save my running shower water (before it warms up) to water the plants.
  52. Find a package-free solid soap instead of plastic body wash.
  53. Give old clothes a new life by altering or modifying them. Great ideas here!
  54. Don't use balloons or plastic party poppers when throwing a party – opt for bubbles or leaf confetti instead!
  55. Use two sides of paper when printing and only print when necessary.
  56. Invest in a refillable pen.
  57. For medication, buy tablets packed in a jar instead of the tablet individually wrapped in foils & plastic (if possible, of course)
  58. Invest in glass, wheat straw, or stainless steel food storage.
  59. Keep plastic out of your closet by investing in linen, bamboo, organic cotton, and hemp clothing. Great finds here!
  60. Use compostable bandages or compostable bandage wraps.
  61. Instead of purchasing bread prepackaged in plastic, use a reusable bag (like this linen bag) to purchase bread from your local bakery.
  62. Choose plastic-free gums/candies.
  63. Choose e-books instead of printed books and donate your books when you're done with them.
  64. Bring your reusable bags to the shop. If they do not allow reusable bags, simply fill your cart and then bag your goods when you get back to your car!
  65. Brush your hair with a natural, sustainable wooden brush that can be composted at the end of its life.
  66. Use compostable phone cases!
  67. Say no to synthetic fibers entering your home via the textiles industry.
  68. Opt for lip balm in a cardboard tube vs plastic (super easy to make your own too!)
  69. Choose better hair ties that are made of sustainable materials.
  70. Aim for refillable or zero waste skincare options (like this) vs plastic tubes.
  71. When your plastic hangers are no longer functional, swap them out with wooden hangers.
  72. Stop using disposable nail files and snag a glass shining file instead!
  73. Use a compostable pet waste bag vs a traditional plastic one.
  74. Instead of purchasing face masks and exfoliators, simply make your own with coffee grounds, bentonite clay or baking soda!
  75. Lower the usage of water in your home. Start with simply being mindful of the water running and then slowly create simple rules for the household such as “one song showers”.
  76. Instead of feeling like you never have anything to wear (even though you go shopping all the time) – aim to build a capsule wardrobe that works for your lifestyle and needs.
  77. If you must buy new, purchase from a company that offers a lifetime guarantee and free repairs. YES, they do exist!!
  78. Take sewing, mending, or repair classes. Become your own handy person!
  79. Save your old bamboo toothbrushes for cleaning tight spaces and hard-to-reach corners.
  80. Give your dryer a break and create a DIY drying line. Your clothes and your budget will thank you!
  81. Open your windows on a daily basis to freshen your home. Much better than an air freshener.
  82. Decorate with nature. My favorite way to decorate my home is with branches, dried flowers from the meadow, pinecones, and rocks. It's free and looks amazing.
  83. Use your library card and take out books, rent amazing movies, and support your local community!
  84. Create a neighborhood free library stand! Add some old books and let everyone know that they can grab and replace them as they wish.
  85. If you do not have a garden or space to grow your own food, join a community garden and grow with other members of your town (also great for beginners to learn from experienced gardeners).

Last but not least, be mindful and aware of what comes in and out of your home on a daily basis. By simply paying closer attention – we can truly change our homes into sustainable wonderlands.


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I'm Danielle, your new *non-judgemental* sustainable friend

I'm not perfect and you do not have to be! Let's start (or continue) on this journey together and have some fun!

Embarking on a sustainable lifestyle is an exciting adventure that holds the power to change the world for the better.

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