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39 Simple And Doable Ways To Use A Lot Less Plastic This July

It's as good a month as any to be even kinder to the planet.

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If you've never heard of Plastic-Free July until right this second, I'm pleased to let you know that it's exactly what it sounds like.

Jeff Giniewicz / Getty Images

What started as a small office initiative in Australia in 2011, has turned into an world-world annual campaign to encourage people to give up single-use plastics for the month of July. Basically, it's what's Dry January is to alcohol, but for plastic.

Whether you want to try and completely give up plastic for July or not, this is just a good a time as any to think about the little ways we can all cut down on waste.

Here are a few easy ways to say "no" to single-use plastics and to find sustainable replacements for the least eco-friendly things in your life.

1. Go without plastic straws if you’re physically able.

2. And use your regular cutlery and plates at picnics, barbecues, and parties instead of disposable utensils and dishes.

3. Swap plastic wrap for reusable beeswax wraps or aluminum foil.

4. Carry a reusable bag so you don’t need to use plastic bags.

5. Note that you won’t be needing plastic utensils when ordering takeout.

6. Make coffee at home or take a reusable coffee cup to cafés.

7. Avoid buying pre-packaged fruit and vegetables if you’re physically able to chop your own.

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8. Shop in the bulk food section of your grocer rather than buying pre-packaged staples.

9. Make your own bin liner out of newspaper.

10. Carry a reusable drink bottle to avoid buying water in plastic bottles.

11. Take your own reusable container to the deli or butcher when buying meat or fish that’s normally wrapped in plastic before being sold.

12. And take your own container to restaurants if you think it’s likely that you’ll have leftovers.

13. Order your ice cream in a cone rather than a cup.

14. Invest in a set of cloth napkins, since your fave paper ones probably come wrapped in plastic.

15. Buy bread from a bakery or market that sells unpackaged loaves, if this is within your budget.

16. Use upcycled jars to store food at home and to pack your lunch in.

17. Avoid free samples that come packaged in plastic.

18. Pack your own shampoo and conditioner when travelling so you don’t need to use hotel toiletries.

19. Swap your liquid shampoo and conditioner for bar versions.

20. And replace your body wash with bar soap.

21. If you need a new toothbrush, buy bamboo instead plastic.

22. If you get your period, consider replacing tampons and pads with reusable pads, a menstrual cup, or period-proof underwear.

23. If you have a baby, consider replacing some disposable diapers with washable cloth ones.

24. Replace your cotton pads with washable rounds.

25. Buy cotton swabs with paper sticks rather than plastic, so they can be composted — or learn to live without them.

26. Replace exfoliating body washes with a dry body brush.

27. Use coconut oil (sold in a glass jar) as a body moisturizer and eye makeup remover.

28. If you shave, swap your plastic razor for a safety razor next time you need to buy a new one.

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29. Take your own headphones when flying.

30. Don’t use balloons.

31. Or glitter.

32. Shop in-store rather than online to avoid excess packaging.

33. When you need to order online, place one big order rather than several small orders.

34. And when shopping on Amazon, check to see if frustration-free packaging is available.

35. Buy products that are packaged in recyclable paper or glass over plastic.

36. Use paper or fabric produce bags when shopping — or go without a bag all together!

37. And consider buying reusable food storage bags if you use a ton of plastic zip-lock ones.

38. Wrap gifts without plastic tape or wrap them in fabric that can be repurposed.

39. And buy toilet paper that’s packaged in paper, not plastic.