A Guide to Going Zero-Waste in Plastic Free July

by , | Jul 7, 2023 | Education, Environment

Happy Plastic Free July! Single-use plastics are plaguing our wildlife, releasing harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, getting caught in ocean wildlife, and poisoning people, plants, and animals. Did you know that it can take up to 1,000 years for one plastic bag to decompose in a landfill? We must act now to save our planet.

Plastic Free July empowers and mobilizes people globally to be part of the solution for a world free of single-use plastics. It challenges us to refuse single-use plastics during the month of July. This means that rather than accepting single-use plastic utensils, bags or straws and bringing your own reusable containers, cups, cutlery, and everything! 

How to live a zero waste lifestyle

Zero-Waste living is when we focus on reusing and reducing the amount of waste we produce every single day through every single action. This is usually done through responsible production and consumption in closed and circular systems. Through limiting what we buy, reusing resources whenever possible, and ensuring recycling and upcycling of all else, we can lessen our collective use of natural resources, pollution, and negative impact on earth. 

About 42% of greenhouse gasses are released due to the production and use of goods, such as packaging and food, according to the US EPA. Striving for zero waste during July and throughout your daily life reduces pollution caused by the manufacturing and disposal of products we don’t put to use. The zero waste movement helps the environment, and helps build community support for small businesses, fosters neighborhood projects such as gardens or swaps, and boosts local economies. 

How do you start living zero waste?

Buying from local farmers is a great way to support local businesses and help the environment by reducing the need for excess packaging. When shopping, avoid single-use plastics inside and out. Opting for reusables is an easy way to start, and one of the main missions of Plastic Free July!

Zero Waste Essentials

Reusable Bags

Tote bags or reusable bags are an easy way to reduce plastic waste. They come in all different colors, shapes, sizes and sustainable materials…and last! Looking for a new hobby? Try crocheting one from natural yarn!

Food Storage

Reusable food containers not only help reduce single-use plastics, but also help to preserve food longer. Klean Kanteen, U-Konserve and others have great options for at home and on-the-go!


Opt for a reusable straw to reduce plastic going into landfills and lasting forever, or ending up oceans and interfering with wildlife. They are easy to clean, portable, bendable, and really do work.

Water Bottles

If 10% of beverages were sold in refillable bottles, that would result in a huge decrease in marine plastic. So get one in a size and shape you like – and use it! It’s also fun to customize with stickers and drawings. 

Period Products

Single-use period products contain up to 90% plastic. A pad can take between 500 and 800 years to decompose. Try out organic plastic-free and reusable menstrual cups, discs or period underwear. 

Start Saying No To Plastic!


Let Plastic Free July be the beginning of your zero waste journey! Reducing waste and minimizing our plastic use is one of the key ways to reduce our negative impact on the planet, and can be done through many simple steps. To learn more and carry on this challenge throughout the rest of the year follow @PlasticFreeJuly on Instagram. There are also more helpful zero waste and sustainability tips on our instagram @turninggreenorg. Go zero waste today and always!