Trying to live without plastic for a month turned our lives upside down. Some of the problems we encountered were: ‘how do I brush my teeth?’, ‘where do I buy my food?’, ‘how do I clean?’. This is where our search for eco-friendly products began and how Zo Zero was founded, a social enterprise born from the ambition to reduce the use of disposable plastics and to help others along the way.
Plastic Free July (PFJ) started, our favourite month of the year! PFJ is a global movement that helps people be part of the solution to plastic pollution. A great opportunity to challenge yourself, along with a lot of others, to stop using single-use plastic. Will you join PFJ by choosing to refuse single-use plastics for a month?
Why participate in Plastic Free July?
Because we are producing more plastic than ever, of which most ends up as waste after being used for only a few minutes. Plastic waste is hard to recycle and the majority ends up in overfilled landfills or in the environment. Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, and it never completely disappears. Marine animals, from plankton to whales, eat plastic, our waste. If we continue like this, we will end up with more plastic than fish in the sea.
PFJ is a fun way to learn about sustainable alternatives to disposable plastic. Would you like to take on this challenge? Signup for the PFJ challenge and receive useful tips & tricks. Here are a few tips from us to get you started!
Easy Plastic Free July swaps
There is so much disposable plastic in our lives that you almost don't know where to start if you want to reduce your plastic use! That's why we recommend starting with a few easy steps to avoid waste.
- Choose to refuse disposable (coffee) cups.
You may be wondering what's wrong with a paper coffee cup, but unfortunately, these cups aren't just made of paper. There is a layer of plastic on the inside to make sure they are waterproof.
It is incredibly easy to avoid disposable coffee cups by bringing your own reusable cup. Keep the cup in your bag, on your desk, or wherever you’ll remember to use it. Forgot it anyway? Then treat yourself to a moment of rest and dine-in. Coffee tastes much better from a real cup anyway!
- Choose to refuse plastic bags.
The problem with plastic bags is that animals eat them or get entangled in them. When plastic bags end up in nature, they break down into tiny microplastic particles that never decompose and can be found everywhere: in the water, soil and air.
Reusable shopping bags are a great alternative to disposable plastic bags that you often only use for 10 minutes to bring your groceries home. Keep a stash of reusable bags in your backpack, by the front door or in the trunk of your car where you’ll remember them. Reusable bags are useful for more than just grocery shopping - bring them along for all your shopping trips.
- Choose to refuse coral-unfriendly sunscreen in a plastic bottle.
Coral reefs around the world are threatened by pollution, even though they are crucial for biodiversity and the protection of coastlines.
Fortunately, there are more and more good mineral sunscreens without harmful ingredients and in sustainable packaging that are just as good as conventional sunscreens.
- Choose to refuse personal care products that contain microplastics.
Microplastics are so small that it’s almost impossible to remove them from the environment. Animals, as well as humans, ingest these harmful nano plastics. These tiny plastic particles are found in many personal care products, such as scrubs, toothpaste and (face) creams.
A simple way to check whether your personal care products contain microplastics is by using the ‘Beat the Microbead’ website, or downloading their app. Nowadays there are many plastic-free and natural personal care products that are better for your health and for the environment.
These are just a few examples of how you can avoid single-use plastics. For more tips, check out PFJ's website, follow the Plastic Soup Foundation for inspiration or take a look at our website for more tips. Make sure you start with the products that are easiest for you to replace. If you find it difficult to use new products, or if you’re attached to your old products, you are more likely to stop. That’s why we recommend you to find reusable, sustainable alternatives step by step that can become new habits forever. Together we can make a difference and be part of the solution!