Plastic Free July sets a big goal, to go a month without plastic, but if you're still at the start of your journey then it can be a bit overwhelming. Why not instead use this time to make changes you will be able to sustain long term?
The key thing to know straight away is that you will make mistakes, you won't be perfect, not today or tomorrow, maybe ever! I know I'm not. Sometimes life just gets in the way but the key thing is to keep trying. We are all human, the best we can do is that when we make a mistake, we own it, and we try to be better next time. We need to be patient and kind to ourselves. That is how we can make sustained life long changes.
So if you’re just starting to make the change, the first step is to establish your 'why.' This is the thing that motivates you today and the thing that will continue to drive you to keep up your changes. The second step to making sustained changes is to start small. Make changes one at a time and not all at once, not only will this be kind to your mental wellbeing (because change is hard!) but its kind to your wallet too.
Make changes you don't have to think about often first. This will make it easier to not fall back into the old habits. Things where you can replace a disposable with a long life product will make it even easier but be prepared that the upfront cost will be higher. Razors, cotton rounds, dish brushes and baking paper are all products you can easily find a one for one replacement for and other than cleaning them, your routine will stay exactly the same! You may pause when you see the price, but long term you will be saving money, we promise. $42 for a razor may seem crazy, but with some easy TLC it can last a lifetime and at less than 50c a blade, you’ll be having the cheapest shave ever in no time.
Once you have made a start, you can phase out other products as they run out. This will reduce waste, because you will finish your current product before replacing it and reduce your stress, because changing everything at once can just be a bit much. Swap your dish liquid in a plastic bottle for a dish washing block, your lip balm in a plastic tube for a lip butter or your plastic scourer for an eco sponge. Soon all these changes will add up and you won't even think about them anymore!
There are so many eco-alternatives out there and they keep growing. No longer does being sustainable mean missing out.