Plastic is everywhere! If you try to minimize your plastic consumption, you’ll start to realize just how prolific it really is. That’s why things like Plastic Free July are important themes that pop up each year. 

What is Plastic Free July? 

Plastic Free July is actually a worldwide movement to challenge people to minimize their plastic usage. It includes an estimated 326 million participants in 177 countries! This movement has also become something that many earth-conscious folks have embraced as a personal milestone each year to reset their perspective on plastic. 

Resetting our focus on plastic usage is the goal. I’ll be honest, living plastic-free feels incredibly daunting and nearly impossible. But, if I can take this challenge regularly, it helps me be more aware of the problem of plastic, help me think more creatively about ways to avoid plastic, and to think more objectively about the way I live at large. For me, it’s not about going 100% plastic-free; while a great goal, it’s just not realistic. Instead, I’m working on some micro-goals that help support a less-plastic lifestyle. 

You want to try to go 100% plastic free this month? I will cheer you on all the way. Instead, I’m working on picking a few things to work on this month with the goal that they become a longterm part of my lifestyle and not just a trendy thing to do in a month-long challenge. 

Looking to do Plastic Free July in some form? Here are some tips to reduce your plastic dependency from day to day:

  1. Ditch the grocery bags. Odds are, you have a pile of reusable bag to use, but you just don’t use them. Stores are back to letting you bring in your own bags again, so keep a stash in your trunk at all times so that you always have some when you need them. 
  2. Ditch the produce bags. We bought a handful of mesh reusable produce bags and keep a few stuffed in a reusable grocery bag in our car at all times. They work great and you can wash and reuse over and over again. 
  3. Just say NO to bags. If it’s just a few items that you can carry out without a bag, do that! Sometimes you simply don’t need a bag. Start to pay attention for those times when you can say no to a bag at all. 
  4. Go for paper. If you can, consider using the brown paper bags as a trash can liner instead of a plastic bag. 
  5. Feed bags as trash bags. Leftover bags from dry dog and cat food (or goat chow and chicken feed if you live in the country like we do) work great as trash bags. 
  6. Reusable water bottle. Just say NO to disposable water bottles. Keep an empty water bottle in your car in case you forget to bring your main one. This gives you a backup when you need it. 
  7. Go for the cone! I love this reason to go for a cone instead of a cup and spoon, plus get a little bit more to eat with my sweet treat. 
  8. Buy secondhand. My baby does have a handful of plastic toys, but I have not purchased any of them brand new. When it comes to baby and little kid toys, you can get some great stuff that looks brand new without being the cause of new plastic being made. Plus, you save a few bucks by buying second-hand too!
  9. Buy milk in reusable bottles. If you love cereal like I do, you probably go through a few milk cartons. Purchasing milk in the reusable glass bottles that you swap back when you buy new ones is a great way to minimize your plastic impact!
  10. Use vinegar and water! Minimize how many cleaners you need to buy (and the plastic bottles they come in) by getting a reusable spray bottle and start using vinegar and water to clean more often. You can use it almost everywhere in the home and it is also super cheap to use too!
  11. Use bar soap. Get some artisan hand-made soap, or make your own, and place on a beautiful dish near your sink. You’ll minimize the amount of plastic needed for pumps, as well as any refill containers. 
  12. Ditch liquid laundry soap. Instead, try a laundry strip (we love the Well Earth Goods ones). They are plastic-free and take up way less space than the large jugs of liquid soap I used to buy. They also travel well, so on road-trips or other travel, you can just throw a few in a bag and bring soap that dissolves in the load easily!
  13. Use cardboard applicator tampons. Sorry guys, this ones for the ladies. If you’re into using tampons, grab the ones with the cardboard applicator instead of the plastic ones. 
  14. Use toilet paper that comes wrapped in paper, not plastic. There are brands like Who Gives A Crap, and others that come wrapped in paper. It’s a simple step, but one that adds up over time!
  15. Switch to glass food storage. We’ve made the switch slowly to using glass containers instead of the plastic tupperware pieces. While the lids are often still plastic, it’s waaaaaay less plastic than before, AND they don’t get stained like the plastic ones used to. 
  16. Bring your own snacks. This simple act helps you avoid buying food on the go – which is almost guaranteed to be wrapped in plastic. 
  17. Bring your own bathroom products. When staying in a hotel, just say no to the tiny travel soaps. I know they’re fun, but bringing your own stuff in a reusable container means less waste all around. 
  18. Shop thrift stores for clothes. Did you know that many clothes (think polyester and most athletic/yoga style clothes) are made with plastic? Consider buying some of these items used and not contribute to virgin products being made. Again – you can find some killer deals on activewear at thrift stores!
  19. Buy a used Christmas Tree (or get a living tree). If you’re willing to think about 6 months ahead, you can get some amazing deals on used artificial Christmas Trees at garage sales. OR, watch right after Christmas on Facebook Marketplace. People give away (or sell for cheap) these trees all the time. I got ours for $5 at a garage sale and we’ll use it for years and years to come. It’s a great way to start working toward a Zero Waste Christmas as well!
  20. Wrap without plastic. Consider me lazy, but reused gift bags and tissue paper work great! You can also get even more creative with fabric and other items. But, by doing so, you can avoid unnecessary bows and plastic tape. 
  21. Pass on your old plastic stuff. If a plastic item you want to get rid of still has some life to it, consider passing it on in a local free group, post it for free on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, or think about any friends who might benefit from that item. Yes, it takes a little more effort than just pitching it in the trash can, but little by little it makes a difference. 


Plastic free is definitely hard, and it can be something that feels like a losing battle. However, the more aware we are of our reliance on plastic, the more we’ll start to notice ways we can make simple swaps or simple decisions to avoid it in the future. Here’s to making baby steps toward less virgin plastic in our world! Happy Plastic Free July!