“Think about it. Why would you make something that you’re going to use for a few minutes out of a material that’s basically going to last forever, and you’re just going to throw it away. What’s up with that?” - Jeb Barrier, Bag It.
Photo: Plastic Free July
This month, we are talking about plastics! More specifically, the ways to avoid them. Plastic Free July is a global initiative for all of us to play our part and be conscious about refusing single-use options. Simply choose one type of single-use plastic to substitute in your daily life and soon enough, you will find yourself trying out and discovering more solutions to our global plastic crisis! Make a difference together with 300+ million people around the world by pledging to take part in the challenge here. In doing so, you will also receive weekly emails with tips and tricks plus inspirational stories guaranteed to keep you hyped up this July!
We have also put together a list of ideas for you to make a change and contribute to this movement.1. Substitute Plastic Packaging and Food Serviceware
The most common single-use plastics are made for packaging and food serviceware. These include our takeaway containers, disposable plastic bottles, cutleries and even straws. They are consumed in massive quantities and the only way around it is to substitute them for reusable ones. If you do not already have these sustainable on-the-go items, you can find them at The Good Karma Co.
Photo: The Good Karma Co.
Cupfree-UAE invented a type of leakproof *waffle* cup to hold both our hot and cold drinks. We call them genuises because no one says no to yummy, crispy waffles. Forget single-use plastic because here we are talking about zero waste!
Furthermore, in place of cling film, you will find reusable wraps from Bee’s Wrap and The Bees Knees Dubai to be a good sustainable swap. Washable and compostable, the latter brand also sells bread bags made from recycled plastic bottles for you to bring to the bakery!
Photo: Bee’s Wrap
To eliminate the need for single-use plastic bags, take a look at our reusable carriers here. Also consider a netted cotton produce bag for your grocery runs or this garment bag made from 100% upcycled cotton for your dry cleaning needs.
Photo: Cotton produce bag from Ethica Eco
2. Opting for plastic-free water
The majority of us here in Dubai buy and consume our water either from individual plastic bottles or large plastic containers. To reduce the need for them, consider having your own water filtration solution. Liquid of Life and No More Bottles offer bottle-free dispensers that rely on water purification, making it both cost-effective and sustainable.
Photo: Liquid of Life’s water dispenser at LDC Kitchen + Coffee
However, some of us might still prefer the convenience of individually packaged water. If so, look out for NÜWATER as their can is both recyclable and resealable. NÜWATER is currently working towards becoming a carbon net positive company and they actively plant a tree for every pack of water we purchase.
3. Replacing our basic necessities
Photo: Vandana.writes using a bamboo toothbrush - Plastic Free July
A plastic toothbrush takes an average of 500 years to break down so perhaps opt for a bamboo option the next time. Bamboo is both compostable and biodegradable, thus proving to be an eco-friendly option. You can find substitutions for your staples from Azraq.
Rope your lovely and cuddly pets in because they can also make a difference too! Check out these bamboo toothbrushes and eco-friendly dog waste bags from Darko Pet Solutions.
Photo: Pure and Natural Pet
Ladies, did you know menstrual hygiene products also contain plastics? Most sanitary pads consist of up to 90% plastic while tampons come with plastic applicators and are often packaged in plastic. You could try a silicone menstrual cup or reusable menstrual pads to avoid these single-use plastics. Personally, the ModiBodi period-proof underwear was life changing for us. They come in a variety of collections (even lacey!) and cater to different absorbency types. You will definitely find one suited to your lifestyle needs.
The Unscented Company came up with a line of home and body care products designed specifically to reduce our plastic footprint. Unlike traditional bottled products, they sell liquid refills with biodegradable packaging that would allow for replenishment at home. This reduces the need for more plastics when our products are due for replacements.
Photo: The Unscented Co.
4. Join the conversation
From 2021, Abu Dhabi has been implementing its ban on single-use plastics. This shows that the UAE is progressing in its plastic free initiatives. We can keep up this attempt by joining the conversation and educating ourselves in different ways.
You can follow channels like plasticfree.uae to keep up to date with what’s happening, host a Plastic Free Morning Tea with your colleagues and community, or even read and introduce the plastic problem to your little ones! We recommend The Eco-heroes and The Plastic Planet for that. Other insightful reads include I Quit Plastics, Plastic-Free, and Plastic: A Toxic Love Story.
Photo: Rebecca and her book- Tashi Hall
Last but not least, get your hands on the book that features Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, the founder of Plastic Free July, Plastic Free: The Inspiring Story of a Global Environmental Movement and Why It Matters. In it, there is also a story about Mariska, a dubai-based artist who has held many events to inspire others in this movement. You can follow her to find out about her quest for waste-free living.
Photo: Jane Genoves, Learning Fundamentals
Thrift for Good has always been about zero waste. Besides rehoming your preloved clothes, we are also committed to zero plastic waste. We reuse the bags that are given to us and do not buy any plastic packaging. We will soon launch biodegradable cassava packaging, upcycled scarf wrapping, and recycled paper tags. As of now, feel free to bring your used carriers to us!
Ready to give your preloved clothes and used carriers? Fill in a form here!
That being said, start small. It doesn’t matter if you simply replace your toothbrush or go completely plastic-free. You are still making a change! Good luck on your plastic free journey.