Did you know that this month is Plastic-Free July? It’s a global movement challenging every person around the world to eliminate plastic usage this month. Yes, that means you too! While single-use plastic rules & regs vary from state to state across the U.S., more and more stores and supermarkets are starting to get on board, replacing single-use plastic bags with recyclable or compostable paper bags. 

If you ask us, it’s about time.

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While the official figures vary, we do know that plastic bag usage has experienced an immense drop as a result, with the overall goal being to improve the state of our overflowing landfills and reign in the dangerous levels of waste now found in our precious oceans. Hundreds of thousands of birds and sea animals are dying each year from plastic bag consumption, with hundreds of millions of these non-biodegradable items floating in their natural, sacred habitats. We know you’re already experts on replacing those single-use plastic shopping bags with reusable ones, so it’s time to broaden your horizons and make other eco-friendly changes to your lifestyle

The environment will thank you. Your wallet will thank you. And we will thank you. 

1. Take a stand against unnecessary packaging

Next time you’re shopping at your local grocery store, take a moment to look around you. Packaging is everywhere - and that packaging has to go somewhere when you are done with it. A cart full of purchases will result in a mass of plastic and paper to dispose of within your home, and if you aren’t recycling, it’s ALL going to landfill. Polystyrene packaging is statistically enemy number 1 to the environment, and its production leads to massive amounts of greenhouse gas and hazardous waste. 

With that being said, shopping mindfully is a hot topic of discussion nowadays, with consumers opting to purchase products that are made using the least amount of packaging. People are pushing back against unnecessarily pre-packaged fruit and vegetables, and desiring the bare necessities to see them from the store to home.  At home, they are repurposing the packaging they do have. 

Here’s a great example of the push for less packaging being worth it. Stores in the U.K. are encouraging customers to bring their own containers to purchase kitchen essentials such as pasta, which can now be bought in bulk. That’s progress! 

2. Reduce waste in your home

Lowering your own waste levels can make a huge difference, including storing food and produce correctly, starting your own compost bin, becoming a mindful eater and getting experimental with leftovers. You’ll not only feel like you’ve given back to the environment that gives you oh-so-much, but you’ll see a noticeable difference in your stress levels, shopping habits and time management, as well as your funds. It’s a win-win. 

3. Recycle, recycle, recycle

It may not feel like you are doing much on a grand scale when you are sorting your recyclables, but you truly are. Recycling has a myriad of environmental benefits, such as reducing pollution, lowering energy usage, reducing landfill and conserving animals natural habitats. Don’t know exactly what you can and can’t recycle? This guide by Waste Management is an awesome tool that breaks down the recycling dos and don’ts of plastic, paper, cardboard, electronics and batteries.

4. Meatless Mondays (and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and...)

Few things have the impact on the environment that industrial meat farming does, and consumers and meat lovers alike are starting to sit up and pay attention to this crisis. Producing, processing and distributing meat requires massive amounts of pesticides, animal feed, fuel and water, and the meat industry is single-handedly responsible for immeasurable amounts of greenhouse gas emissions across the globe. The rise of #meatlessmondays across social media has drawn much-needed attention to the environmental dangers of animal agriculture. While some meat fanatics can only bear to go without their favorite cuts one day a week, the more days you can go without meat, the greater the positive impact you’ll have.

These eco-friendly shopping and eating habits are just a few of a very long list of ways you can be more mindful and ethical as a consumer, both in the store and at home. 

How are you making a positive impact on the environment? Share your tips on our Facebook page.