Plastic Free July is nearly up, but your challenge is definitely not over. The first of August isn’t an excuse for a plastic party, to fill your belly up on takeaway coffees, and indulge in plastic wrapped cucumbers till your heart is content. Plastic Free July isn’t a month to wipe away your sins and feel like a good human for the rest of the year whilst you sip on straws and disregard the turtles. We’ve covered how to tackle Plastic Free July and mentioned a few tips to carry forward, but we haven’t prepared for the full aftermath.
During Plastic Free July, chances are, you’ve become very aware of the amount of plastic that consumes our lives. We don’t realise until we actively look out for it. These realisations and moments of clarity, should be taken advantage of; not forgotten. Keep these revelations, let them sit with you, treasure them, grow them, absorb them, and don’t throw them to the side when August hits. It would be a waste (excuse the pun) of a challenge to switch back to your normal ways, and your mindset is one of the key contributors in activating positive change.
Plastic Free July means many things to many people. For most, it’s avoiding single use plastic, like coffee cups, straws, and plastic bags. Now that you’ve had a whole four weeks of nailing those (go you!), go further. Invest in several reusable stainless steel or glass containers to take with you to takeaway shops for your weekly curry, learn how to make your own yoghurt and purchase the tools, buy or forage for long lasting jars to store your groceries in from bulk bin stores, and browse through places like Biome and Oh Natural for more eco tools that suit your lifestyle.
By now, your friends will be very aware of your plastic free efforts, and most likely heard about the plastic crisis several times. Keep talking. Remember that you started Plastic Free July for a reason, and don’t let your passion fade away simply because it’s not July any more. Continue to talk with your friends and family about the issues that fascinate and challenge you. You’re not ‘just one person’. You are one person who can make multiple ripples of change.
Plastic is just the beginning. Our impact on the world goes further than plastic. Every time you turn on a light switch, boil the jug, buy a t-shirt, or grab some shampoo, you are voting with your dollars for the type of world you want to live in. One of the reasons why we, One Happy Leaf, exist, is to offer sustainably made jewellery options. One of the best ways you can continue your plastic free journey, is to take your plastic awareness, into the rest of your life. Consider your bathroom supplies, wardrobe, accessories, transportation, and other purchases you make; how can you reduce your impact on the planet by altering what you consume?
Committing to plastic free for the rest of your life from July onwards, is admirable, but most likely unattainable. Consider what changes are sustainable for you to continue forward, and let them stick. Don’t get too comfy here, but always keep a level head about what is doable for you and your lifestyle. Eco-burnout takes down the best of us; and that’s not sustainable. Do the best you can do without sacrificing quality of life and the things that make you YOU.
Plastic Free July is not a month to use as your excuse for destroying the planet during the rest of the year. There would be no point in tackling the challenge without ongoing learnings and repercussions.
Use the month to learn, adopt a new mindset, and discover reusable tools that save you money and save the planet. After July, keep talking about your plastic free wins and failures, take your passion for the planet into other areas of your consumption, but be rational with how many everyday habits you can change at a time without burning out.