Plastic Free July and Beyond

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Photo by tanvi sharma on Unsplash
Plastic waste and pollution is one of our generation’s biggest challenges. It may feel overwhelming, but there are many things that we all can do! I started reducing our family’s use a couple of years ago, and we’ve managed in the past year to reduce our waste sent to the landfill to 10 bags a year. We are fortunate that we have Eco-Cycle here in Boulder, and have curbside, mixed-use recycling pickup and compost pickup so these items do not go into the landfill (including food scraps).

Here are some tips about how our family reduced our trash. We have found that most of our trash is plastic, so that is where we still have work to do!

1.) If you use Western Disposal in Boulder, you can go to their office at 5880 Butte Mill Rd, cancel your trash can (they will collect it), and buy their orange trash bags for a cost of $6.00 a bag. For the cost of a bag they will pick up the bag just when it is full. This has been a real incentive for us to reduce our trash and be aware about what we are throwing away!

2.) We stopped buying plastic wrap and plastic bags and now use rinsed cereal bags, bees wrap, silicon reusable silicone bags (Stasher Brand), or compostable bags (Biobags) that can be commercially composted.

3.) We try very hard not to buy fresh fruits and vegetables wrapped in plastic.

4.) We do not buy any drinks including water in plastic bottles.

5.) We use reusable coffee mugs and water bottles, and only go to coffee shops that use compostable cups if they will not use our personal mugs.

6.) Keep coffee mugs and your own utensils in your car so you never need to use plastic utensils. Keep reusable shopping bags in your car (and purse) at all times.

7.) Bring your own take-out container for leftovers when eating out.

8.) If you eat meat, try to buy from a butcher who wraps in paper.

9.) We try to make most of our meals now from scratch, and like to buy bulk (when available during non-COVID times).

10.) Use lotion and shampoo bars instead of bottled (Lush brand etc.) or try Refill Revolution in Boulder and refill your dish soap, laundry soap, shampoo etc.

11.) Use compostable dental floss in refillable glass containers (Dental Lace).

12.) Use bamboo tooth brushes or use electric tooth brushes with smaller replaceable brushes.

13.) Return plastic pots to the nursery where you bought your plants, or plant from seed.

14.) Inspire your friends and family to join you in the challenge to reduce and minimize plastic use, and to keep you accountable!

For more ideas, and to sign up for Plastic Free July challenges, visit these helpful websites:
Plastic Free July or Eco-Cycle.

~ Brenda Mehos