Plastic Free July is a movement that began in 2011 by a small group of people in Western Australia, and has now expanded to include millions of participants across more than 150 countries. The aim is to create a world without plastic, and there are plenty of ways we can all do our bit so we can have cleaner communities and oceans, and protect our beautiful planet.
Saying no to single-use plastic such as straws and plastic bags, collecting plastic when you visit the beach, making simple eco-friendly swaps and avoiding plastic packaging when grocery shopping are just some of the ways you can help. You can also make your next birthday celebration or dinner party eco-friendly by following the tips below.
1 - Have a plastic-free picnic
Get a bunch of friends together in the great outdoors for an al fresco celebration. Source your feast from your local farmers’ markets or bulk food stores. Stock up on delicious cheese and olives (remembering to bring your own containers), bake a cake and bring sandwiches in reusable containers or beeswax wraps. Bring refillable water bottles and your own crockery and cutlery – so much nicer than eating with plastic plates and forks!
2 - Swap balloons for sustainable decorations
Choose reusable and eco-friendly alternatives instead of balloons and other single-use plastic party decorations. Make or buy decorations that can be reused time and time again, such as fabric bunting, tissue pom-poms and lanterns. Or use potted succulents and fresh flowers to decorate your table. For kids’ parties, use fabric or paper party bags and fill them with plastic-free goodies such as coloured pencils.
3 - Serve finger food or create a grazing platter
If you’re hosting an outdoor party, or catering for a large group of people, canapes or finger food is the perfect way to add a touch of class while avoiding plastic completely. Grazing platters are hugely popular too and easy to put together. Arrange a delicious selection of cheese, fruit, olives, nuts and homemade dips on a large platter or wooden board. It’s not only eco-friendly it also means less washing up too. Ensure you practice good hygiene when putting your platters together and supply plenty of metal tongs so guests can help themselves.
4 - Throw a sustainable dinner party
When choosing your menu, take stock of what you already have in your fridge or pantry and build your menu around that. Veggie soups and pasta bakes are versatile dishes, cheap and easy to make, and crowd pleasers to boot. Ask guests to bring a dish to share – salad or a dessert – or a bottle of organic wine. Send leftovers home with your guests and compost any fruit or veggies scraps.