Sustainability Blog - by UEA staff & students Sustainability Blog - by UEA staff & students


9 Simple Tips to Keep your Momentum this Plastic-Free July

Reusable cups save single-use plastic waste - #PlasticFreeJuly blog by Zahra Khosroshahi

July is coming to an end... but that doesn’t mean we have to stop with the efforts we’ve made this past month – reducing and even eliminating our plastic consumption. In case you’re new to this, #PlasticFreeJuly is a movement on social media that encourages a life without plastic. If this sounds daunting to you, then keep reading. It’s not as impossible as it sounds.

Before I start sharing some of the easiest and most sustainable tips to keep your plastic to a minimum, let’s talk about why it’s so important we avoid plastic to begin with.

For starters, plastic is not biodegradable. It doesn’t break down. It lasts forever, polluting and destroying the air we breathe, our oceans and our planet. Also, plastic is pollutant and toxic for our health and any efforts in reducing it can save the planet as well as our health.

But I get it. It can be a challenge. After all, we live in a world that individually wraps fruits and veg in plastic. But, here are some super simple tips to get you started on your journey towards a life without plastic – or with less plastic – much less! Ready?

  1. Reusable bags cut plastic waste - #PlasticFreeJuly blog by Zahra KhosroshahiTote bags are a super easy way to avoid those disposable plastic bags. You can fold one in your pocket and carry it with you wherever you go. Before you know it, with one simple action, you’ve seriously reduced your plastic.
  2. Travel mugs mean you can have that morning coffee without the guilt of adding to landfill. You can't recycle single-use coffee cups! This is a win-win if you ask me.
  3. Another easy way to reduce your plastic consumption (and expenses) is by switching over to a reusable water bottle. Invest in a good one made from stainless steel – it’ll last you for years to come. After all, no one should pay for water.
  4. News flash: fruits and veg can be friends. There’s no need to put them in separate plastic bags. Instead opt for plastic free packaging when it comes to your produce.
  5. Bulk options from The Green Grocers Norwich - #PlasticFreeJuly blog by Zahra KhosroshahiChoose bulk: take your own containers and cotton bags to stores. The Norwich Market and The Green Grocers (Earlham Road) have an awesome selection of legumes, oats, dried fruits and nuts for you to choose from. And for tea and coffee, Tea & Coffee Merchant in Norwich is your go-to place.
  6. Go old fashioned with bar soaps and shampoo bars. Chances are, this way you can avoid chemicals and toxins in your personal care products too.
  7. Two words: Bamboo toothbrush – biodegradable and so much prettier. Check out this blog about The Humble Brush: ethical and sustainable!
  8. Another simple way of reducing plastic is by saying no to straws. If you’re really into straws, invest in some stainless steel ones and carry them around.
  9. Takeaway cutlery reduces single-use disposables: #PlasticFreeJuly blog by Zahra KhosroshahiLast but not least, whenever you can, choose glass over plastic. Glass can be recycled forever, while recycled plastic (and 80% of plastic is not recycled) can only be turned into lower-grade products. East of England Co-op sells locally-produced apple juice in glass bottles, which ticks the #PlasticFree box as well as lower carbon footprint than imported orange juice!

What if starting tomorrow you started with these 9 simple tips. What if you chose an alternative to the plastic options? Can you imagine how much less you’ll contribute to landfill?

About the author: Zahra Khosroshahi

I’m a PhD student at UEA, looking at the representation of women in Iranian cinema. When I’m not consumed by films, I like to write about environmental issues. I believe we all need to take better care of our shared and only home.

Follow me on Instagram for more zero-waste and eco inspiration: @zahra_livinglifenatural

Steel takeaway containers reduces disposable usage: all part of a zero waste lifestyle! #PlasticFreeJuly blog by Zahra Khosroshahi

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