This month, millions of people around the world will pledge to protect the environment as part of Plastic Free July – and you can do your bit to help.
The global movement aims to make our streets and oceans cleaner, by providing communities with ideas to help us all reduce everyday single-use plastic waste.
To date, over 120 million participants have signed up to join the effort in 177 countries and with the likes of David Attenborough at Glastonbury raising awareness of plastic pollution, this year could be bigger than ever.
So what are you waiting for? Here are five simple ways to reduce your plastic waste this July.
1) Switch to a reusable bag
Ditch single-use plastic when you’re out and about by investing in an organic cotton shopping bag. If you’ve left yours at home and require a carrier bag, keep an eye out for compostable options to reduce your environmental impact.
2) Ditch single-use water bottles and coffee cups
Reusable water bottles and coffee cups are also all the rage and using them can save you money. Many high street coffee chains now offer a discount if you bring your own reusable cup and there are a growing number of water fountains available that allow you to fill up your water bottle for free. Check out some of our favourite reusable water bottles on the market here.
3) Make your bathroom eco-friendly
Recycling bathroom items is one thing, but there are a number of other easy changes you could make to reduce the hefty environmental cost of bathroom habits. For starters, opt for shampoo bars and soap instead of shower gel to cut back on single-use plastic.
You can also switch to a bamboo toothbrush and swap your regular loo roll for a brand made from recycled fibres, like Who Gives A Crap, which donates 50% of its profits to improve sanitation in the developing world.
4) Say goodbye to plastic wrapping paper
If you choose glittery wrapping paper, there’s a chance it could be reinforced with plastic, which means it can’t be recycled and could stick around on the planet for a long time. Brown wrapping paper or good old-fashioned newspaper tied with string are good alternatives.
5) Buy loose fruit and veg
Buy loose fruit and veg when you can, as this minimises the need for single-use plastic. Some high-street chains, like M&S and Morrisons, have launched lines of loose fruit and vegetables to give shoppers more environmentally-friendly options – and Waitrose is trialling plastic-free shopping in Oxford this summer. You could also shop at a plastic-free supermarket if you have one locally.