Health and Beauty Waste

Plastic Free July Is Coming!

  • June 19, 2014
  • 3 min read

nuts, flours, dried fruit from the local co-op in paper bags.
nuts, flours, dried fruit from the local co-op in paper bags.


Plastic Free July is almost here! Will you take up the challenge? The goal is to avoid single use plastic for the month of July. Check out the website for recipes, ideas and tips. They also have their own list of plastic products and replacements, as well as lots of other information. My table below is an extract from my upcoming book, Shoestring Sustainability.

Now is the time to think about what sort of plastics you will avoid, and how you’ll manage that. You might need to shop at different places, switch brands, change your habits or try new recipes.

cloth bags for loose produce.
cloth bags for loose produce.


Avoiding new plastics is difficult at first. This table lists some common plastics, with non-plastic, reusable or recycled alternatives. Buying second-hand plastic reduces the need to manufacture it, but it can still impact your health (especially kitchenware and clothing). I try to avoid buying new plastics wherever I can, even if it’s not single use. So these ideas include other options for durable plastics as well.

Common plastic products


Appliances Metal, glass (eg. kettle), hand-powered wooden or metal
Bin bags Newspaper, recycled plastic, biodegradable plastic
Bucket Metal bucket, recycled plastic food buckets
CDs and cases Music on USB, online download, cardboard case
Children’s furniture Pine, other wood, papier mache, metal, cloth, wicker
Cling film Sealable containers, fabric covers, plate over dishes in microwave, recycled fruit bags, washable velcro bags
Cups and plates Ceramic, pressed or turned wood, bamboo, metal
Cutlery Bamboo, metal, wood, corn starch
Dairy packaging Paper cartons, glass milk bottles, waxed cheese
Dish brush and sponges Cloth, metal scrubber, leaves, loofah, rags
Disposable nappies Cloth (fitted or squares), eco disposables, nappy free
Food packaging Paper bags, tins, glass, loose
Food storage Glass jars, stainless steel, net bags (veg), ceramics
Jugs Glass, metal, ceramic
Laundry basket Wicker, wood and canvas
Non-stick cooking utensils Wood, silicone
Pens Recycled plastic, pencil, refillable ink
Picnic cups Paper, enamel, stainless steel
Picnic plates Large leaves, enamel, stainless steel, paper, bamboo, wood
Shopping bags Green bags, trolley, basket, net bags, paper, no bag
Shower curtain Glass door, fabric curtain, whole floor drain
Styrofoam takeaway cups Paper, bring your own stainless steel or BPA-free mug
Synthetic carpet/rugs Wool, sisal, jute, coir, sea mats, reeds, rag rug, bare floors
Synthetic clothing Cotton (pref. organic), hemp, silk, linen, bamboo, wool
Water bottles Stainless steel, BPA-free plastic

Good luck with your plastic-free adventures! Tell me how you go!

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