This week marks the start of Plastic-Free July! By now, you already know why we are taking part in this challenge. We want to dedicate this entire month to the importance of avoiding single-use plastic and microplastics inside your products.
Here’s the thing though: the plastic problem is ultimately not one we can recycle our way out of – we need to reduce our consumption of it too. We need change!
Click here to read our stance on Plastic-Free July, that explains the power of ”Refuse, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle”!
Moving on, we have gathered a nifty set of tips to reduce your plastic footprint during this month and help you quit single-use plastics in these extra challenging times of COVID-19.
It might seem daunting but remember – every little helps! Also, we know this year’s challenge will be a completely different experience, that is why we have got you covered with easy solutions and ideas in this article.
REUSABLE BOTTLES ON-THE-GO
Ditch bottled water and carry your own reusable bottle – be it of steel, glass or hard plastic – is entirely safe, as long as you regularly wash it with water and soap. Do you have a dishwasher? Even better! High temperature and prolonged washing are beneficial when it comes to killing the virus.
Studies have shown that COVID-19 can survive two to three days on plastic surfaces. Hence single-use plastic is no safer or unsafe than the plastic used more than once, as opposed to what the plastics industry is lobbying for. But we can and should continue our fight!
When you order takeout, request no plastic silverware and no straws.
Using wet wipes, both before and during the pandemic, has always been a matter of convenience. However, there is a common misconception that wet wipes are safer to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so many people have started to use them more and, what’s worse, are flushing them down the toilet.
This has only caused an increase in plastic waste and the accumulation of wipes and sanitary towels in wastewater treatment plants. It’s evident that majority of the wet-wipes brands labelled as ‘flushable’ contained harmful plastic microfibers that end up in the waters worldwide. How to prevent this? Use a reusable cloth with disinfectant.
The pandemic has spurred up fear about reusables and its potential to spread the virus, causing a step back in some movements to ban plastic bags around the world. However, the fact that reusable grocery bags are unsafe is not necessarily true as long as you regularly wash and disinfect them. So, you’re still safe to use your reusable grocery bag when going to the supermarket!
In terms of shopping habits, request loaves of bread without the bag, replace plastic wrap with beeswax wrap, buy naked vegetables & fruits from your local shops and go for loose tea as opposed to buying tea bags. Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world after water and while most tea is consumed in leaf form, 96% of us in UK are used to teabags. However, non-biodegradable plastic can account for roughly 25% of the teabag! Composting tea bags is great, but, if these single use, plastic filled bags are being collected as organic waste, than a large amount of polypropylene is being released into the environment. The solution is to go for plastic free tea bags from brands such as, Pukka Herbs and Brew tea.
Glass, metal, and even hard plastic containers are entirely safe to use if you wash them regularly – preferably in the dishwasher – to make sure they are adequately disinfected. But always remember NOT to put your plastic containers in the microwave as they might release harmful toxins in your food when heated up.
We understand the convenience and feeling of hygiene of a disposable plastic cup, but there is still no evidence that disposable plastic items are safer than reusable ones. Reusable cups are completely safe if you thoroughly wash them with soap. And, as we mentioned above, wash them in a dishwasher when possible. Next time you’re meeting your friends at a party or picnic, don’t forget to grab your reusable cup!
Choose to refuse balloons and other single-use plastic party decorations.
With a little bit of creativity, you can easily plan a party that’s free from balloons and other harmful single-use plastics. Popular decorations that can be reused time and time again, include bunting, tassels, tissue pom poms, lanterns, fresh flowers, and more.
Having a theme for your party can help you to draw inspiration for making your own, borrowing or buying reusable party decorations.
Friends and neighbours are a great source of reusable decorations or materials for that home-made creation. Before buying anything, simply put the word out and see what you can borrow.
Many people use Facebook for finding decorations. Local groups – such as Buy Nothing – often have a bank of decorations available to share amongst the community.
Try your hand at making your own reusable, fabric sanitary pads. There is a beautiful how-to guide created by Action Aid that takes you through simple steps to make your very own cloth period pad.
Do you know approximately 700,000 panty liners, 2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million sanitary towels are flushed down the toilet every day and one conventional sanitary pad takes around 500 years to break down?
Some of our favourite plastic-free/reusable brands that you must check out are MoonCup and Dame.
One of the things that this pandemic has confirmed is the philosophy of ‘buy less, buy better’. It has already been a part of our ethos here at Beauty Cleanse Skincare and we are positive that it will soon become a norm. This change of perspective has encouraged consumers to fix broken items instead of buying new ones. That’s why, throughout this month, we want to challenge you not to buy any new clothes and to wash them less often. When doing the laundry, follow these sustainable guidelines: Avoid long washes, wash at low temperatures, and hang your clothes up to dry!
Cleaning and beauty products
Choose unpackaged bar soap vs. liquid soap packaged in plastic. Buy cosmetics made with natural products. Buy products packaged in glass or not packaged at all. Make your own cleaning solution with half part water and half part vinegar for a natural alternative to cleaning supplies that come in plastic bottles.
Choose to refuse single-use plastic dental products. More and more people are choosing toothbrushes are made from sustainable, compostable materials, such as bamboo. Be aware though, bristles are usually still made from plastic, so you’ll need to cut them off before composting or reusing your bamboo toothbrush handle.
Purchasing a toothbrush with a replaceable head can eliminate the need to continually purchase a new plastic brush every few months, too.
When it comes to toothpaste, many health and organic stores sell plastic-free alternatives. There are also recipes available online for making your own.
Before you buy, stop and think about the low, no waste and multipurpose options.
Thinking about potential alternatives can include: choosing the item with the least amount of packaging, a multipurpose product that replaces a need to buy multiple items, switching from plastic to paper packaging, or even choosing loose product at a bulk food store. Out Multipurpose Serum-in-Oils are a best option to keep your beauty routine clean and minimalist. Click here to learn more about their versatile features.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THE UNAVOIDABLE: GLOVES AND FACE MASKS
This pandemic has increased demand for single-use plastic items, especially medical waste, from personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves, and single-use plastics.
It is essential to protect public health and to stop the spread of the COVID-19 urgently. However, we should take responsibility for the items that we use: do not throw used gloves and face masks in the street, as they pose a threat to the environment and a health hazard to people who might get in contact with them. These items cannot generally be safely reused or recycled, so make sure to throw them to the general waste.
If you do not work in the health sector, it is safe to use a reusable face mask and wash it regularly at a high temperature, to prevent the spread of the virus.
The tips above are just a start on your Plastic Free July journey. We want to challenge you to do much more. Do you think you can completely cut all single-use plastic out of your life? We’d love to know! So, make sure you tag us on social media (@beautycleanseskincare) to keep us posted on your Plastic-free July updates!