Here we are: July 31. Plastic Free July is coming to a close and what a successful month it has been! For those of you who participated, congratulations! Whether you simply cut out plastic bags, went topless for the sea (no coffee cup tops!), refused straws or brought your own reusable cups, or went full blown plastic-free... you did great! We are so proud of you. It doesn't end here, though, Whether you participated this month or not, you do not have to constrict your awareness to only one month of the year. Please, try to keep up the good work as much as you can throughout the entire year. I can guarantee that this lifestyle not only produces cleaner oceans and happier animals, but also cleaner bodies and happier minds due to the sometimes poor diet that goes with plastic-wrapped items. The more we spread this information to our friends and families and work on ourselves as individuals the better this plastic epidemic will become.
Thank you to all of you who have shared your stories. Post on Instagram, Facebook, or send us an email explaining your progress. We would love to hear from you and have loved what we have seen so far. Below we will share some of the stories that we have heard that have inspired us.
One from our very own Save The Mermaids Team:
"A FETTUCCINE STIR! -We want to divert plastic and wooden sticks from ending in our landfills so we provide fettucine instead.-
1) Break fettuccine stick to appropriate length for your cup.
2) Stir vigorously.
3) Discard used fettuccine in the compost bin provided.
4) Exclaim "Mamma Mia!" So cheers to drinking morning coffee ☕️ and starting off the day right, energetic, with some giggles, and love for our world."
An inspiring post from Instagram user @bettiemarmalade:
"I got a little more wise and started carrying a coffee thermos with me at work, and my dear friend got me a reusable straw that I carry with me everywhere! It got easy as saying no straw when I order drinks at a restaurant. My biggest struggle was bulk items at grocery stores, I put all my quinoa and lentils in my own jars, and was told at the register that next time I'm not allowed to do that for 'health code reasons.' It was really disappointing considering one of this stores pillars are environmental awareness. I wrote a letter to the corporate urging them to consider environmentally friendly options for their bulk items. I'm so glad I took part in this pledge. I've learned so much and I enjoy how much my habits and lifestyle changed. I get all my fruits and vegetables from the farmers market now with my own reusable bags, and I've been inspired to plant my own garden! Using little to no plastic became surprisingly easy and I will definitely continue this pledge everyday."
From traveler @socalibeachgirl:
"I was able to reduce my plastic use to one bag for the latter half of the month. This has involved some simple choices such as purchasing items in cardboard containers as opposed to plastic containers or buying items in no container whatsoever (fruits and veggies). Also, I travel a lot for work and pleasure and make it a point to always refill my stainless steel bottle before departure. This also saves money! Those singe-use plastic bottles at the airport are not cheap and typically amount to nothing more than glorified tap water! In flight, I simply ask the flight attendant to refill my bottle. Little changes add up :)."
Words of wisdom from @cleanseafuture:
"Last day of #plasticfreejuly. Tomorrow's the first day of #plasticfreeaugust. Keep going! When it all seems to get a bit too much, or you have those moments of wondering whether it's all worth it, sit back and reflect on why you began in the first place. Take a walk on the beach, a park or near a river and remember what's important. Mother Nature provides us with a beautiful home and it is our responsibility to take care of it. So keep going, keep spreading the word and keep believing."
@lugoesblue shares an ocean-friendly makeup shop:
"The waste-free bathroom makeover continues! Went for a little shopping spree at @therefillshoppe in Ventura. They have refillable bottles and bulk natural beauty products. You choose your bottle, choose your product and you can even build a scent with essential oils and fragrances!"
Some great household cleaning tips from @rocket_science:
"Replace your cleaning products with vinegar and water! I refill my spray bottle with homemade orange vinegar solution. Just soak orange rinds in white vinegar for a few days and add water to the mixture (50:50) to use as a cleaning spray. Replace the chemicals in your house with this simple DIY cleaning spray. It's especially good for people with children, pets, and allergies. You can refill your white vinegar at bulk buy stores and reuse your old spray bottles! It's also a great way to reuse orange rinds. Zero waste for the win!"
Cute story from @magicindigoventures:
"Eatin with butter knifes? Why? To avoid the alternative plastic spoons. Yeah, gotta get myself some convenient go-to utensils. In the meantime it's easy to use regular silver wear of course., it's just a habit thing to bring them with ya. As you see, I'm still working on that. It's okay. Be kind to your own "retraining." It makes for some creative solutions, like... Eatin with butter knifes! Why not!"
(Reusable bamboo utensils can be found on this website)!!
@themermaidmamma gave tips for ways to minimize:
- Swap your plastic dish brushes with Eco friendly ones such as bamboo dish brushes and biodegradable and recyclable bottle brushes.
- Use mushroom bags at the grocery store instead of plastic bags they offer!
- Say NO to plastic straws! (Need convincing? Here is a video)
- Be a natural beauty! Give up some makeup.
- Buy less and when you do, buy secondhand!
- Say NO to styrofoam and other plastic to-go containers and simply bring your own when you get takeaway food!
- Make your own natural toothpaste from baking soda and coconut oil! Add peppermint drops to make it minty fresh and store it in a little glass jar."
Over the past 31 days, we have seen great progress in each and every one of you. Thank you for participating and posting your experiences as well as tips for others. You're an inspiration and part of the solution. Keep up the good work and keep sharing the ocean love with others so they can hop on the mindful, plastic-free bandwagon too. The ocean and turtles will thank you, and so will your children when they have an ocean to explore when they're your age instead of a plastic-filled junkyard. We GOT THIS! It doesn't have to be perfect, and it probably won't be. Its a process and there will be ups and downs but all we can do is give our best effort. Keep sharing your stories with us!!