Plastic Free July Survival Guide

by Emily Carlstrom

For Kappi, Plastic Free July is a month we eagerly anticipate. In our eyes, it’s an excuse to encourage, support, and celebrate the transition from a traditionally plastic filled lifestyle to a lighter and more conscious way of consuming – at least for the month. 


Plastic Free July is a campaign led by the Plastic Free Foundation. They started the movement after realising that the best way to encourage people to reduce their plastic consumption was through a tangible, engaging, and fun challenge. Since 2011, Plastic Free July has served as a platform and space to educate, support, and provide tools for individuals and communities to change their actions, policies and habits. Pledging a Plastic Free July allows you to join an international movement with millions of people exploring what living without plastic means to them. 

When you sign up for Plastic Free July, you can opt to: 

  • Avoid single-use packaging
  • Quit the worst offenders: plastic bottles, disposable coffee cups, plastic bags, and straws.
  • Go completely plastic free

Transitioning to a plastic-free lifestyle isn’t intuitive - after all, we live in a culture that thrives from using plastic for just about anything (bananas wrapped in plastic?!). But with a shift in mindset, the right resources, and some handy tools, you’ll be good to go. If you slip up, or let something slide, that’s okay. Plastic Free July is about starting that conversation, getting used to reducing your plastic use, and just trying a different way of consumption. After all, it takes 21 days to form a habit - Plastic Free July is a good way to start. 


For those already well-versed in the art of living with less, July serves as the perfect time to encourage your friends and family on more of an earth friendly path. For those who are just flirting with the idea of ditching single-use plastics, bravo. 


Regardless of where you’re at in the spectrum, we’ve put together a guide to surviving plastic free July. Think of it as a cheat sheet to avoiding single-use plastics. We’ll see you on the other side. 


Use your own shopping and produce bags 

This one’s a bit of a no-brainer. In 2018, Australia banned free plastic bags, which encourages consumers to think about and pay for their plastic bag addiction. Rather than paying for a single-use bag, bringing your own shopping bag is an easy way to reduce plastic waste. 

Our go-to trick to ensuring that we always have a bag on hand? Putting both produce bags and shopping bags in our vehicle of choice, while keeping a stash at home. Chucking in an extra produce bag or shopping bag before heading out is also a great way to be prepared for any last minute buys. 


Create a Plastic-free July Kit

When you’re constantly fumbling for a reusable alternative, or find yourself in a situation without anything to replace with single-use plastics, you’ll get frustrated. 

Make it easy for yourself by preparing a plastic-free July kit. Whether you already have replacement on hand, are looking to invest in some pieces, or plan on getting your DIY on, we suggest, at the minimum:

  • 2 - 3 shopping bags
  • 3 - 6 mesh produce bags 
  • Reusable packaging for takeaway food
  • A take away mug
  • Glass jars for bulk shopping 
  • A trusty water bottle 
  • Bamboo Cutlery
  • 1 - 2 bamboo toothbrushes

If you’re starting from zero, or want to make it easy on yourself, we’ve put together a Plastic Free Starter Kit  to help you out. 


Plan ahead

Recognise that you have a crippling coffee addiction on your way to work? Bring a reusable coffee cup.

Late-night craving for that Vietnamese spot that only does take-away? Order ahead and specify that you’ll be bringing your own packaging. 

The key to success during Plastic Free July is over-preparation. Taking an honest look at your habits and relationship with single-use plastics will help you have the tools on hand to maintain your way of life, without plastic consumption. 


DIY your bathroom (and cleaning kit)

Some of the worst plastic offenders? Products you find in the bathroom pantry and cleaning cupboard. In preparation for the month, whip together some zero-waste essentials or invest in waste free products like no-packaging shampoos and bamboo toothbrushes. For the ladies, July is a good excuse to trying out diva cups or waste-free period alternatives.

Hot tip: coconut oil and baking soda in the bathroom is king. Both can be used for exfoliating, cleaning, toothpaste, and makeup remover. For cleaning products, vinegar and baking soda will solve most of your woes. 

Our favourite resources for DIY bathroom and cleaning recipes include: Trash is for Tossers, Poly Barks, and Going Zero Waste.


Involve your community

Going plastic free alone can feel daunting - so take the opportunity to involve your friends, family, and community on your crusade. 

Cultivating a community around banishing single-use plastics creates accountability and a reason for potlucks and gatherings. Gather your friends and organise education movie nights, outdoor excursions, or a waste-free boogey. 

Planning any Plastic Free July occasions? We’d love to hear about them. You can share how you’re navigating the month using #kappilife #ChoosetoRefuse and #PlasticFreeJuly


Joining Plastic Free July is a fantastic way to challenge yourself and community. It’s a chance to observe and move away from our dependency from single-use plastics. Whether you choose to avoid straws or entirely commit to a month without plastic, you’ll be joining a growing movement that has had a serious impact. According to the organisation, participants reduce their household waste by 7.6% and cut their use of recyclables by 5.6%. Imagine the impact we’ll have if everyone takes a part in the challenge - big or small. 

Will you join us (and 120 million others) for Plastic Free July?

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