The Quick and Easy Survival Guide to One Plastic Free Day
All you have to do is take a photo of one thing you want to go plastic-free, whether it's the instant ramen you’re having for lunch or even a bottle of Coca-Cola. Post it across your social media channels with #OnePlasticFreeDay, and voila, that's it.
This year though, you can take it one step further, and give up single-use plastic for 24 hours.
For those who are a little weary, don't sweat it. No one is going to be grading you if you slip up. Instead, use this day to learn about your plastic waste footprint as you tally up things in your day-to-day life that involve single-use plastic. It could be a great eye-opener and motivator to living a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.
If all goes surprisingly well, and you're feeling extra confident, take this moment to think about an additional pledge by participating in Plastic Free July.
So you're not in the dark, we've compiled a list of quick and easy tips to not only survive a plastic-free day but take meaningful action in reducing your plastic footprint.
Your Reusable Waterbottle Is Your Best Friend
It doesn't matter if you're making a lifestyle switch towards a low to zero waste lifestyle, or if you are merely trying to save money by cutting down on your Fiji habit, a reusable bottle is everyone's best friend. What makes this one even better is most public areas from cafes to stores and even parks and museums, have refill stations or water fountains scattered throughout to help keep your bottles full and your bodies hydrated.
If by chance you are looking to invest in one, but don't know where to start, a few are favorites are the world's first self-cleaning water bottle, Larq and the insulated, stainless steel wonder bottle S'well— some of which can hold an entire bottle of wine, perfect for schlepping to the beach.
Bring Your Reusable Coffee Cup
Mornings are hectic, and it isn't hard forgetting to pack your reusable coffee cup before heading to work. That's why we're offering a super-duper, easy tip that takes no more than two seconds; set your alarm or a reminder the night before. Heck, you can even be the overachiever who puts it in your bag or briefcase the night before.
If you don't have one, and you've been living under a family of boulders, most coffee shops have reusable mugs and containers for sale. For an added incentive, some of these same shops even offer a discount on your morning cup of joe.
Make Your Lunch
For some of you, the most action you do in the kitchen is microwave your leftovers or the pizza rolls you Amazon Primed to yourself on the way home during your evening commute. Ain't no shame in that game!
Instead, just for a day, let's opt for a meal that doesn't include plastic trays and baggies, or a styrofoam takeaway containers. It can be as simple as a PB&J sandwich wrapped in Bee’s Wrap, or any leftovers you can pack up in Tupperware. Snacks for hangry afternoons can be scooped up from refill bins at a grocery store where there's dried fruit or trail mix.
If Meal Prepping Is Out, Avoid The Added Plastic In Takeaway or Eat In
If meal prepping the night before makes you break out in hives, then you should do your best to minimize the amount of plastic involved. Ask the cafe or restaurant to keep their plastic bags, cutlery, and condiment packagings and leave with as little waste as you can.
Of course, the best way to skip out on unnecessary plastic is to eat at the restaurant where you get your usual takeout, that way you can use all of their reusable plates, bowls, silverware, and glasses. Here, you get the best of both worlds – a meal you didn't prep without any of the waste.
Bring Your Reusable Shopping Bags & Avoid The Plastic Produce Bags
If you're like me, you don't grocery shop for the week. You spend your lunch break texting your significant other asking what's on the menu tonight. However, I've been known to frequent a grocery store or two, so here are a few seamless ways to grocery shop waste-free, complete with bullet points:
Always always always bring your reusable shopping bag! An easy way to make sure you don’t forget is by leaving them in the trunk of your car.
Use reusable produce or canvas bags, both of which are excellent for trail mix, dried fruit, and of course, your fruits and veggies. If you don't have one, no one is pressuring you to buy one for a day. When I first started, I shamelessly placed my handful of Brussel sprouts and mushrooms on the conveyor belt. It's less than ideal, but it does the trick.
Ask both the butcher and the bakery to wrap your items in paper only – they'll do it, I promise.
Seek out products packaged in aluminum or glass, as both substrates are easily recyclable.
Opt For An Ice Cream Cone Over a Cup and Spoon
Summer is officially here, and trips to the local creamery or ice cream shop are becoming more frequent in your week. For one day, we ask you to ditch the ole cup and spoon, and treat yourself to a delicious cake or waffle cone!
If you're honest with yourself, you know you secretly want the cone anyway. Now, you can use "I'm saving the planet" as an excuse to justify it.
Use What You Have
This final tip is more for those looking to extend their pledge, so please don't read too far into it if you're tapped at 24-hours.
When you're making the switch for a more eco-friendly, low waste lifestyle, it's vital that you use up all the products you have until it's ALL gone. It does not make sense to promote zero-to-low waste by recklessly tossing away half-used items.