Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Plastic Free July: Participants share their tips for reducing waste

From the NYS DEC: A sampling of ways participants in Plastic Free July are looking for ways to reduce their waste and keep more plastic packaging and products out of the waste stream.

Do you have any tips to share? Add them in the comments section below!

Kayla’s Goal: Reduce plastic meal packaging, beverage jugs, and toiletries
To gear up for Plastic Free July, Kayla kicked things off by making sure she had the items on hand she’d need to accomplish her goals.

  • Kitchen: “I purchased reusable freezer safe food storage bags and researched homemade plant based beverage recipes so I didn’t have to buy them in plastic beverage containers anymore.”
  • Bathroom: “I moved the plastic free bar soap face wash and body wash I already had on hand to a spot where they wouldn’t go unnoticed. With the weather heating up, researching plastic free sunscreen options was a must. The choices were limited and didn’t seem to be accessible for a range of budgets. Due to the limited available options, I plan to write to sunscreen companies this month encouraging them to change their plastic packaging.”

Kristine’s Goal: Reduce plastic use in the bathroomPlastic shampoo bottle and shampoo bar
Kristine kicked Plastic Free July off with a bathroom plastic audit, research and small changes.

  • Bathroom Plastic Audit: “Recognizing what plastic you’re using is a great place to start your low plastic journey. I went to the bathroom and took note of where I was using plastic – shampoo & conditioner bottles, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand soap, mouth wash, hair brush, razor, etc.”
  • Research: “The internet has revolutionized information sharing and community development online. I turned to the internet, specifically looking for video bloggers, who are pursuing low waste or zero waste lifestyles for swap ideas and product reviews.”
  • Starting small: “Low to zero waste plastic swaps don’t have to happen all at once. I started with purchasing a shampoo bar and a bar of hand soap from my local co-op. I am trying to buy local before shipping products, so I am still looking for a conditioner bar. Do your research and don’t be afraid to try different shampoo bars and conditioner bars. You may have to try a couple before finding the right brand that will work best with your hair texture.”

Nasibah’s Goal: Reduce plastic use in the kitchen
Nasibah started off Plastic Free July by auditing a typical day of plastic waste in the kitchen. The top two single-use plastic items she found being used and disposed of were single-use plastic baggies and plastic beverage containers.

  • Plastic Non-Dairy Beverage Containers: “Between making oatmeal, protein shakes, and creamy curries for dinner, I go through a lot of soy, coconut, and oat milk throughout the day! Unfortunately, many non-dairy beverage containers are not recyclable in many areas. Oat milk is one of my favorite non-dairy beverages because it’s versatile and works well in both savory and sweet dishes. In addition to being super easy and quick to make, oat milk is more affordable to make at home than other non-dairy milks so it’s a good choice for most people! I’ve been researching recipes and techniques for making oat milk at home and I’ll be perfecting my recipe throughout the upcoming week; tune in to the next newsletter for my tried-and-tested recipe!”

Amy’s Goal: Reduce plastics associated with makeup
Amy kicked off her Plastic Free July goal of trying out plastic-free makeup by identifying make-up items that use plastic packaging and deciding which items to target for plastic free experiments.

  • different pieces of makeupMakeup Bag Audit: “Auditing small specific parts of your life can feel less overwhelming than looking at all of your waste as a whole. This way you can make realistic, incremental steps that are easier to tackle and normalize into your routine. Before you know it, those small changes add up. I found that every makeup item I have uses some type of plastic. Although the eyeliner is a wooden pencil, it still has plastic protective caps and a synthetic spool at one end. In order to make small easier steps- I’m going to break down my goal even further to focus on trying blush, lip gloss/stain, mascara, eyeliner and maybe eye shadow.”
  • Research: “Once I chose the makeup items I wanted to focus on, I started reading and watching videos online from other people who have tried DIY makeup. Don’t feel boxed in by what you read and see others doing. Take what you learn and feel free to try your own ideas. I hope to try powdering dried rose petals and beets and infusing oils for blush/stains and charring seeds or nuts, grinding them and mixing them with waxes or oils for the eyeliner and mascara and possibly trying bulk spices like turmeric for eye shadow. I had most of the ingredients on hand already besides beeswax. I tried reaching out to a local beekeeper to get beeswax that was not packaged in plastic but had no luck. So I purchased a small, all-beeswax votive candle for $3 to shred up.”

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2 Responses

  1. Judy Pliquett says:

    For a hair rinse I use a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in two cups of warm water.
    Instead of toothpaste I really like the tablets I buy in bulk at a zero waste store.

  2. Vanessa Banti Vanessa says:

    Cloth bags for vegetables are a great alternative to the plastic bags you get in the grocery store. I 2nd the idea re bar soap and shampoo. Bringing Tupperware to the store to get bulk nuts and granola is great for breakfast. I am just getting into bamboo toothbrushes as well – they take adjustment, but working well so far.

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