In tribute to Plastic Free July, it feels fitting to share actionable tips & tricks that you can use to stay sustainable (and also sane) in the busy city.
Written by Kiki Athanas, In-House Wellness Expert @ Calii Love and Founder of MEByKiki.com.
It can seem daunting to go “waste-free” without a whole whack of time, money, and knowledge behind you. The real truth of the matter is, taking small (and consistent) steps now can and will result in epic wins for both yourself, your community, and the environment at large.
Here’s a round-up of tips & tricks from our sustainable friends in the city who prove it may not be as hard as you think…
5 Steps To Take For A #PlasticFreeJuly
1. Use reusable bags whenever you go shopping. Foldable light bags fit in your purse so they are ready for spontaneous shopping.
2. Identify which food products you buy containing plastic and look for alternatives. For example- if your regular brand is cucumber is plastic-wrapped, can you look for fresh cukes without the wrapping?
3. Carry a spork (a wooden spoon/fork) so you can turn down disposable cutlery.
4. Pack your lunch in glass lock and lock or mason jars.
5. Start using a reusable coffee cup and refuse straws at your favourite takeout place!
– Julie Daniluk RHN. https://www.juliedaniluk.com Connect with Julie via Facebook and Instagram @JulieDaniluk
For me, going plastic free was gradual and we don’t have to run out and grab all the zero waste products to get started. Start off by intentionally refusing every piece of plastic that “comes to you” in the day. Notice what you had to say yes to, like bags to get groceries home or a fork to enjoy your lunch. That’s where we start. Refusing waste is the most powerful tool we have and it spreads the message to others to do the same and to businesses to do better.
– Ashleigh Norris, owner of The Soulful Sprout Holistic Nutritionist and sustainability advocate
Carry a double insulated bottle. You can use this for hot or cold liquids. And use it as a food takeout container on the go.
– Candice Batista, an award winning Environmental Journalist and one of Canada’s leading eco advocates
A great habit to get into if you are leaving the home for some time away is unplugging appliances/devices that you will not be using. This not only conserves energy and helps the environment, but you will notice a drop in your energy bills at the same time! Win-win! Many appliances actually use more energy in their standby (not in use) mode than when they are being used for short periods of time.
I know it’s common sense to bring your own reusable cup, straw, etc. but sometimes it’s just too much to bring with you. One thing I always have on me though, is bamboo utensils. They come in a small carrying case that I can easily fit in my bag. You never know when hunger strikes and you want to grab a meal to go. Otherwise, when I’m working at a cafe, I’ll ask for my coffee in a mug. Also, I always say no straw when I get a drink from a restaurant (most places are getting on board with no plastic straws but just in case). No one is perfect but there are always little things you can do that actually have a big impact on the environment.
With all the shiny, new ‘waste-free’ goodies on the market, it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘must have’ things to buy for living a sustainable lifestyle, but for me, it’s important to take stock of what you already have on hand, come up with creative ways to use them and then commit to taking them with you when you’re on the run. My go-to is hands down my reusable travel mug! It comes with me wherever I go. It was something I already at home and is super versatile. It can be used for things like smoothies, coffee, soup, bulk goodies or even leftover food from a restaurant. I have no shame packing a leftover salad bowl into my travel mug and taking it for the road. It’s a win-win when it comes to reducing plastic packaging and food waste. It doesn’t have to be fancy- it can be as simple as tossing a mason jar in your bag and heading out the door.
– Heather Allen, Holistic Nutritionist & Real Food Advocate
Carry reusable items with you, the biggest ones being a reusable coffee cup/water bottle, a reusable straw and a tote bag! These items are small, can easily be carried with you, and make a world of a difference when actively used! If you can, assemble a small “zero-waste kit” to keep in your purse or bag so that you always have it on hand.
– Arti Jalan, Founder of Forage & Sustain
While placing your go-to anti-single use items in a baggie that you can throw from one purse to the next is ideal, sometimes we simply forget. Being sustainable is knowing your limits. Understanding that certain situations on the go may leave you at the mercy of plastic and that’s ok.
– Sirena Abalian @sirena.abalian
Living sustainably on the go requires a little bit of organization. Think about the activities you do regularly and see if you can make a swap from a single use item to a reusable item. If it’s going for coffee, get a reusable coffee cup you like or carry a bag with you so you don’t need to take a bag when shopping….and my favourite this time of the year is the reusable produce bag for all the amazing produce at Farmers Markets.
–Julie Skirving, the creator of the Logan & Finley
It’s all about the little things, our everyday choices that have a big impact! When I grocery shop I do my best to avoid using plastic produce bags and instead bring my own cloth bags. I also only use plastic-free pads and tampons and finally, I completely avoid single-use plastic, so water bottles are a big no-no in my family.
-Joy McCarthy, Founder of Joyous Health
So now it’s your turn – what small (or large) step will you take to live with less waste and more respect for yourself, those around you, and the planet? This month, I’ve committed to going plastic-wrap free, which has turned out to be easier than ever with reusable beeswax wraps.
Keep in mind that Calii Love supports you & this initiative through acts of environmental kindness such as using paper and compostable straws and to-go boxes whenever possible. They even have reusable cups on hand if you want to fill up at their fountain drink station!