Taking On The Plastic-Free July Challenge? These Tips Will Make It Easier

Scientists predict there will be more tonnes of plastic than tonnes of fish by 2050. That's why people are taking the plastic-free July challenge.


Kelleigh Korevaar & Brent Lindeque |

Want to know why every year people take on the plastic-free July challenge? Well, the answer is simple.

If we think that our recycling actions are enough, we need to think again. Recycling alone isn’t going to save our planet. The amount of plastic produced globally in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. Nearly all the plastic ever created still exists in some form today. And our oceans? Our oceans are smothered by plastic. Scientists predict there will be more tonnes of plastic than tonnes of fish by 2050.

Related: 6 Easy Ways To Be A Real-Life Marvel Super Hero And Save The World

“Thoughtlessly buying plastic is so yesterday.” says Brett Lindeque of GoodThingsGuy.com. “The recycling message remains the same: recycle everything you possibly can. Reduce everything you possibly can. Reuse everything you possibly can. But now we also have an awesome responsibility to refuse too. And not just for the month of July.”

That’s why the team over at GoodThingsGuy.com are making an effort to help people find out how to reduce your plastic use. Here are their top tips:

1. Use material bags when grocery shopping

Challenge yourself to avoid using or purchasing any plastic bags this month. Most shopping is done without much planning going into it, which means you just head to the nearest store on your way home from work, without so much as a thought about plastic bags. If you buy a few shopper bags and keep them in your car boot, you’ll never have to worry. Or better yet, plan your meals and do a week’s shop on Sunday. You’re bound to stick to your gains through the week if you already have the food in your kitchen.

Buy Now

This reusable shopper bag is made from hemp. Plus, it's super durable.

R 55

Buy Now
Buy Now

You can even replace the plastic bags you would usually use to put your fruit and veggies in with these.

R 189

Buy Now

Related: 8 Products To Make Your Home Environmentally Friendly

2. Buy a reusable water bottle

Glass and metal ones are the best. This way you always have nice chilled water and you don’t have to buy plastic bottles.

Buy Now

Great for the gym, when you're out cycling or just to carry around and make sure you're drinking enough water each day.

R 165

Buy Now

3. Refuse straws

Rather go without or purchase a cool bamboo or metal one.

Buy Now

This stainless steel straw is durable and better than a glass straw if you travel a lot because they could easily break in your bag.

R 66

Buy Now

4. Take your own Tupperware

If you are heading out for dinner, take a Tupperware for your leftovers instead of taking home a polystyrene container.

Buy Now

The airtight glass, and rubber seals will keep your food for the week fresh, and it won’t absorb any flavours either.

R 195

Buy Now

Related: 6 Kitchen Appliances That Will Help You Master Meal Prep And Get Ripped

5. Avoid using cling wrap, ziplock bags and other non-recyclable plastics

Sure, clingwrap and ziplock bags make meal prep and kid’s lunch prep so much easier. But there are other, more environmentally-friendly ways to keep your food fresh.

Buy Now

Keep your food clean of plastic microparticles and cut down on single use rubbish with this Sandwich Wrap.

R 55

Buy Now
Buy Now

The large, round soy wax wraps are the best way to bundle up your leftover food bowls. They are the perfect, reusable alternative to plastic cling film, and tin foil.

R 65

Buy Now

Related: These Companies Are Turning Waste Into Sustainable Products

6. If you do use plastic, make sure it can be recycled

… And then recycle it.

Dr Jenna Jambeck, internationally recognised for her research on plastic waste in the ocean, has ranked South Africa amongst the worst culprits. In a published study that listed 20 countries that generated the highest volumes of ‘mismanaged plastic waste,’ South Africa came in at number 11 – worse than India, and the entire United States.

But we are upping our game. According to the latest plastic recycling figures released by Plastics SA, recycled tonnages in South Africa have grown by 35% since 2011. A growing number of organisations and consumer groups have become actively involved in upstream collection efforts, resulting in a positive impact on the amount of plastics that were collected and recycled.

Whilst giving up single-use plastic may seem like a challenge, once you make the changes and find alternatives it’s a lot easier than you would think. Head on over to PlasticFreeJuly.org for more tips and to take the challenge!

READ MORE ON: eco-friendly environment healthy living how to Meal Prep recycle water