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Plastic Free July

At Life of Coco, we’re always looking for ways to protect the beauty of our planet for us and generations to come. So this July, we’re joining the global movement of Plastic Free July to help millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution - so we can have cleaner streets, oceans and beautiful communities.

Stop sucking!
Australians use about 10 million straws every day, or 3.5 billion a year. Most are only used for a few minutes then discarded, where they’ll remain in the environment indefinitely. Straws can become stuck in the airways of animals, or if mistaken for food and ingested can be fatal. Together, we can get straws out of the top 10 list of items collected in beach clean-ups. Buy reusable bamboo straws in a handy carry case so you can always say no to plastic straws.

Plastic cutlery
Plastic cutlery items can't be recycled easily, even when made from recyclable plastic. They often end up in our environment, harming wildlife, waterways and oceans. In an effort to cut down on waste, Coles stores across the country have stopped stocking plastic products such as cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery from July 1. This is predicted to reduce the amount of single use plastic in landfill by 1.5 million kilograms a year. Join the movement and replace single use plastic cutlery with a natural coconut set.

Takeaway coffee cups
Australians throw out 2.7 million single-use or disposable coffee cups every single day. This adds up to 1 billion coffee cups thrown out every year. It's no surprise then that disposable coffee cups are a major contributor to litter on our streets and in our waterways. Coffee cups are not recyclable in most locations. Even ‘compostable’ cups are rarely composted as they require very specific facilities and conditions. Bringing your own cup or dining in shows others how easy it is to reduce their waste and creates a new trend.

Carry a smoothie cup in your car
A plastic cup can take 50 - 80 years to decompose. Most people have a reusable water bottle and to-go cup as a way to reduce restaurant waste. But a milkshake/smoothie cup is also important! Maybe you have a big enough water bottle, but having a smoothie cup with a straw stashed in your car will save you from having to refuse that chocolate malt shake headed your way.

Plastic free picnic or camping trip
Share the solutions to single-use plastics and inspire people with a fun picnic or camping trip. A plastic free outing brings people together around a common goal. It’s always good to start small – from little things, big things grow. Empowering people with the skills to go plastic free, even just for one meal, is a great way to kick-start a bigger change. At the picnic or getaway, you can share ideas and recipes to expand each other’s knowledge.

Dental care
Every year, around 30 million toothbrushes get thrown away in Australia. Reduce plastic waste and the use of our natural resources in creating it and prevent the chance of plastic waste entering into our natural surroundings, where it will stay forever. Make the switch to a natural bamboo toothbrush and help protect our wildlife who can mistake plastic as food.

Get fizzy in the kitchen
Do away with store-bought fizzy drinks and make your own with a SodaStream. Each reusable SodaStream bottle is tested to replace over 50,000 conventional bottles and cans. ... This results in less plastic manufactured, less plastic waste, and less transport of bottled beverages. In addition, SodaStream helps reduce the carbon footprint of sparkling water consumption by 80 percent. With tap water costing 1 cent per litre compared to bottled water which costs $2.53 per litre, it’s a no brainer! Save money and save the environment!

Grow your own
Growing your own berries is a great way to get plastic free yummies all summer long! If you don't have access to enough space for a garden, try going to a U-pick farm and collecting enough for the whole year! By picking and freezing them yourself you not only save money, but have control over the containers you use and eliminate the need for them to be shipped and packaged for store shelves. Make sure to pick a lot though because you might eat half on the way home! 

Burn baby burn
The sad truth is more than 350 million disposable lighters end up in landfills every year, and some are even eaten by animals. That means our food, land, and water can easily be contaminated by hazardous waste. Use wooden matches to light candles instead of plastic lighters.

DAY 10
Choose plastic-free camping equipment
Go green in the wild! Use a coconut or bamboo bowl, mug, and cutlery for each person. They are lightweight, durable and will take you right back to nature. Take a reusable cup, perfect for coffee in the morning then a glass of wine in the evening! Reduce if you can, reuse if you can’t, recycle if all else fails!

DAY 11
Beach/park clean up
Getting a group together to clean up a park or beach. Community events are a great way of bringing people together around common goals and values. Being involved in taking positive action feels good and is often more motivating than dwelling on the problem of plastic waste. It’s proven that people are much less likely to continue to litter in an area that’s clean and free from visible waste.

DAY 12
Buy it once
On average, Australians use 130 kg of plastic per person each year. Only 9% of that's recycled. More frightening still, up to 130,000 tonnes of plastic will find its way into our waterways and into the ocean. Once in the ocean, it endangers our marine wildlife. Invest in quality plastic free items that last, like bamboo straws, pegs and wood-handled gardening tools. 

DAY 13
Our coconut smoothie cups are the perfect size for succulent plants! Easy to care for and maintain, they are the perfect way to upcycle any unused coconut bowls. Window gardens and indoor herbs are also popular as a way to grow healthy, organic food, even in flats or homes with limited space. You can even try drilling holes in the top of the shell and attaching a rope for a unique hanging planter to place in a window or in an outside garden if you are limited for bench space in your home.

DAY 14
BYO bags
Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1 million sea creatures every year. Plastic bags break up into tiny micro plastics and remain indefinitely in the environment, proving fatal for animals who mistake it for food or become entangled in it. By choosing to refuse plastic bags, you can save around 500 plastic bags per year from entering our oceans and landfill. Bring your own reusable shopping bags and help reduce plastic waste. 

DAY 15
It’s surprising how many tea bag brands (unfortunately) use plastic. Before you sit down for a relaxing cuppa, ensure you’re not contributing to plastic pollution. By refusing tea bags containing plastic, you’ll reduce the unnecessary use of precious resources. Plastics also contain chemicals that can leach into fluids at high temperatures, so avoiding them is better for your health. 

DAY 16
Break up with cling wrap
Every year, 150,000 tonnes of clingwrap makes its way to Australian landfill. Plastic cling wrap is a staple item in most homes. Many products are pre-packed using it, too, but alternatives exist that are just as effective, and more sustainable. Prevent the chance of lightweight cling wrap blowing into our natural surroundings, where it will stay forever and protect our wildlife who can mistake plastic as food by using beeswax wraps instead. 

DAY 17
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The three R’s for a better planet – reduce, reuse, recycle. By following the three R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle) you can help create a more sustainable future for our planet. All of the oil, water and other resources used to make products is wasted if those products aren’t recycled. By reducing, reusing, and recycling, you can help minimise landfill waste.

DAY 18
Bulk food shopping
Avoiding pre-packaged foods by choosing bulk or loose food. Choosing bulk and loose product will help you to avoid food waste by buying only what you need. Reduce waste and pollution by avoiding plastic packaging and protect our wildlife who can mistake plastic as food. 

DAY 19
Shop local
When you shop face-to-face with the owner of a store you can ask them directly to use your reusable containers for fresh fruit and veg, meats and small-goods. Shopping at the big supermarkets for these items means they will almost always come prepackaged, robbing you of the chance to chat to your local butcher about putting your chops directly into a BYO-container and spreading the zero waste word.

DAY 20
Gift experiences over stuff
This is a personalised way of showing someone you love them, leave more lasting memories, and can be adapted to all types of budgets, locations and tastes. Many of us don’t need more stuff. When we give experiences, we can help champion a zero-waste birthday or occasion and create perfect moments for family photos. As such, tickets to sporting events or concerts make brilliant zero waste gifts. Or gift them a learning experience; yoga, cooking, sports classes, and many more are a google search away. Where possible, go for digital print free tickets. And if the perfect gift happens to be a ticket to an event, consider an accompanying zero waste reusable cup or refillable bottle for soda or drinks. You can also give to a good cause on their behalf or gift a membership to their favourite club. Collect moments, not things!­­

Day 21
Less is best!
Before making a purchase, smart shoppers stop and think: Is there a better alternative? Do I need this? Or, do I need this much? Buying less will reduce the resources used to create new products. For each 1kg of rubbish created at home, up to 70kg can be created upstream. Buying secondhand, sharing or not buying at all can save you lots of money in the long run! 

DAY 22
100% recycled toilet paper
We’ve all been there. You pick the recycled toilet paper but the rolls are wrapped in plastic. Well, good news! Who Gives A Crap makes 100% recycled and bamboo TP – that’s not wrapped in plastic! Plus, they donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need. 

DAY 23
Plastic water bottles
An estimated 13 billion plastic bottles are disposed of each year. BYO reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic ones. Many people buy plastic water bottles when they’re out and about, only to discard them after one use. Buy a reusable water bottle and help to reduce the pollution produced by plastic water bottles, which end up in landfills and impact millions of animals and habitats 

DAY 24
Trade and barter

If you don’t feel like growing or making your own is going to be for you, join your local Rough Trade group (or start your own if you don’t have one) and start trading and bartering relationships with your neighbours. Chances are someone is making what you want, and vice-versa! 

DAY 25
Sign up for e-statements
Mail is something people often don't associate with plastic. But those tiny windows in envelopes are a hidden nightmare. By signing up for online statements and bill pay, you reduce the waste coming into your house and the energy needed to ship them.

DAY 26
Use a pencil over a pen
Each year in Australia, over 140 million pens are sold, contributing approximately 700 tonnes of plastic waste to landfill sites across the nation. Ditching pens (because let's face it, you probably don't recycle them when they’re done), is a fairly simple way to decrease your plastic tally.

DAY 27
Ask and you shall receive
Ask for paper packaging when ordering online! When ordering items online, look for small companies that are upfront about their practices. These type of companies are often way more open to request for paper packaging online when shipping something.

DAY 28
Pack your lunch
Or carry snacks if you’re a grazer on-the-go. Planning ahead and being prepared means you will be less likely to buy plastic-wrapped snacks to fill you up if you get stuck out and about with a grumbling tummy.

DAY 29
Workplace kitchens
Reducing plastic use in your workplace kitchen is easy. To begin with, do an inventory of all the single-use plastic items found in your workplace’s kitchen. You may be surprised by just how many there are! These include plastic cutlery, plastic plates, bowls and cups, bin bags, biscuit packets, teabags, and water bottles. Reduce hundreds or even thousands of single-use plastic items by making simple switches in the kitchen.

DAY 30
Long-life cartons
Cartons used for things like milk, juice, stock, etc. are made with a combination of cardboard, plastic and foil, which is incredibly difficult to recycle. By refusing long-life cartons, you’re reducing resources sent to landfill. Choosing to drink water over cartons of juice and flavoured milk is a great healthy alternative. There are also usually glass bottle alternatives to cartons of milk, stock, juices, and flavoured milk. Stock and juice can often be quite easily be made yourself at home (and with far less preservatives!). 

DAY 31
Treat yourself
Instead of keeping containers of ice cream in the freezer, enjoy an ice cream cone while you’re out and about and do away with the plastic-lined containers. You can also BYO bowl and spoon! Ice cream cones require zero container or utensil waste. If you do want to bring some home, you can have your ice cream hand-packed in my own container.

Remember ‘Habits made today will help life tomorrow’.

Don’t let nature go to waste.