My Plastic Free July Survival Tips

Shannon Ball, Sustainability Specialist at Kathmandu shares her tips on surviving Plastic Free July. Shannon has completed the challenge for the past four years and reflects on her quick wins to help you reduce your single-use plastic.

Now that we’re a fair way through the 2020 Plastic Free July challenge, here are some of my top tips for making the most of Plastic Free July.

Haven’t heard of Plastic Free July? Plastic Free July is a global movement that challenges you to avoid single-use plastics for July. The challenge is super flexible and you can choose to commit to 1 day, 1 week or the whole month.

  1. Arm yourself with reusables
    Reusables are one of the easiest ways to avoid single-use plastic and I found the best starting point to your plastic-free journey. Often plastic is found in a product’s packaging so by bringing your own, you can avoid so much waste by basically bringing your own packaging. Use your own drink bottle like our stainless steel option, bring your own coffee cup to avoid those disposable ones which can’t be recycled and be ready with your own utensils (which you’ll be surprised how useful they are to have on you!). If you’re unprepared for a situation, think about what other options you may have – like if you forget your product bags, can you just buy your fruit and veges loose? Or if you end up at a coffee shop, can you sit in and have your caffeine hit plastic free and enjoy the moment?

  2. Watch films focused on the plastics issue to motivate you to make changes
    Bringing the issues to the front of mind helps keep the motivation alive to avoid single-use plastic throughout the challenge in July and beyond. A Plastic Ocean is a great film which is available to view on Netflix and shows why the plastic issue is such a concern, especially in our oceans. I was super excited when we launched our Moana Pack range this year which incorporates materials created from ocean plastic waste. While we want to avoid plastics as much as we can the first place, there’s still plenty of plastic in our environment that we need to deal with.

  3. Join an online community and follow zero waste bloggers
    There is so much information on reducing your plastic footprint but it can often be overwhelming and daunting. By joining a local plastic free/zero waste groups or following bloggers like Ethically Kate, you can get information for your specific local area (like where to buy plastic free) and learn handy tips and tricks (anything from DIY cleaning products to making your own non-dairy milk). Connecting with like-minded people is great for new inspiration, ideas, and support on your plastic-free journey.

  4. Support products that use recycled materials
    Let’s face it, not all plastic is avoidable so that’s where recycling comes in. Recyclable products don’t magically disappear once you put them in your kerbside bin – they need to be sorted, sold, transported, and refined by other processors into new products. If consumers aren’t demanding these recycled products, what’s the incentive for companies to use them? If companies don’t use them unfortunately they will likely end up in landfill. I love that Kathmandu uses REPREVE material across a number of products including several of our packs, packing cells, and even some jackets too. Plastic in waterways is still a major problem, so it’s worth investing in a guppy bag to prevent plastic fibres escaping into the environment after washing your gear.

It’s not too late to join the challenge! You can register here and commit to avoiding plastic for the rest of the month. Once you’ve registered, you’ll also get the heads up about the challenge before next year which is also super handy. Finally remember that going plastic free won’t happen overnight so focus on the small steps that you can take in your life and continue to celebrate the wins you make in July and beyond. 

Tune into our Sustainability Speaking Series on the 23rd of July 2020, 6:00PM AEST, to hear Ethically Kate tell us all about composting and how to reduce your waste footprint.