Packaging makes up over 40% of plastic waste and 95% of the plastic in packaging in single use. These numbers are quite shocking and, to keep it 💯 real, disencouraging in the fight against plastic waste. Consumers are made to believe it is their fault and their burden to reduce their plastic consumption, while manufacturers often don’t take responsibility for the vast amount of single-use plastic they create. Unbelievable, right?!
But all hope and power in the people is not lost! In week 2, (if you missed it, check out week 1’s plastic free glow up!) as we continue to explore how as individuals we can make small, but impactful steps for a greener world this Plastic Free July, we are taking this week to focus on plastic free shopping and zero waste products.
Plastic Free Pantry
With shopping plastic free, our pantries and how we purchase food is a great place to start. Those who live in larger cities may be able to visit a zero waste grocery store, such as Rainbow Grocery in Berkeley, CA or Precycle in New York City, NY. To find if there is one near you, check out Litterless’ State-by-State Zero Waste Store Guide.
If you’re in the UK, take a look at our favourite zero waste shops.
The key to zero waste shopping at any store is to buy in bulk and use your own reusable jars and/or cloth bags. Grains, legumes / beans, nuts, seeds and other dry goods are often available in most bulk sections. By buying in bulk, you are not only saving in plastic waste from packaging, but often times you are also saving money.
Second tip is to aim for brands that actively reduce their plastic packaging use in their products. A recent audit by The Ocean Clean-Up found that most plastic waste pollution comes from 10 consumer packaged goods companies. Avoiding these brands and their package pollution products can help each of us dramatically reduce our plastic footprint.
Our morning beverage is a great place to start. Plastic free coffee and plastic free tea bags are both on the rise. We especially love Numi Tea with their home compostable and biodegradable tea bags made with natural hemp-based, unbleached filter-paper.
Zero Waste Home (and Beyond)
“The greenest product is one that already exist” — these words from Caitlin Bristol, previously of eBay Green are powerful and true. In order to truly reduce our plastic pollution, we need to also reduce our plastic creation and consumption. Buying used by using the Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or Depop is a great way to reduce your footprint and give a second (or fifth) life to a product.
In addition to your pantry goods, many bulk sections are starting to offer cleaning and whole body products in bulk, such as Dr. Bronner’s soap and vinegar. For our favorite natural, non-toxic all purpose cleaner recipe, check out this blog post.
Take your home one step further towards zero waste with a DIY homemade toothpaste, like this one by Trash is for Tossers.
Opting for brands that actively reduce their use of single-use plastic is also a wonderful way to reduce your plastic footprint. At Natracare, we think it’s important to show support for brands that you feel share your values and truly walk the green talk.
For more resources, be sure to check out 5 Gyres’ Plastic Free Shopping Guide and Made Safe’s Sustainable Packaging Products! For years we have been huge supporters of 5 Gyres and all the incredible science to solution work they do to create a world with More Ocean and Less Plastic.