Life Unwrapped: How to Begin Your Plastic-Free Journey

Bethany Gaffey

As the saying goes, when one door closes another opens. Today, we close the door on our campaign and open the door to our personal journeys towards plastic-free lifestyles. From beauty to clothing, and groceries to biodegradables, Plastic Not Fantastic has been a month-long adventure of discovery, inspiration and sharing. Though the problems with plastic are far and wide, so are the efforts being made to provide sustainable alternatives and combat its effects. Just in case you can’t remember everything you’ve learned throughout this campaign, we’ve created an A-to-Z guide of our favorite tips and tricks for you to take home…plastic-free!

1) Brilliant Brands

What better way to get into a plastic-free lifestyle than by finding brands that work for you and align with your sustainability goals? 

Clothing

Athletic Wear

Fashion

Shoes

Eyewear 

  • Waterhaul - Sunglasses and glass frames made from recycled ghost nets!

Swimwear

Groceries/Houseware

Food & Drink

Find a zero-waste or bulk shop near you

Or head to google and search for - ‘Zerowaste’ ‘Plastic Free’ or ‘Bulk’ store near me

Homeware & Laundry

  • Onya – Shop here for reusable alternatives to single use plastic.

  • The Plastic Free Shop - Has plenty of alternatives from utensils to containers and more!

  • Plastic Freedom - Every day plastic free essentials for the home

  • CaliWoods – An array of eco-friendly homeware (NZ)

  • Live Zero – Selling sustainable and plastic free items (HK)

  • Guppyfriend Washing Bag – Prevent microfibres escaping from your clothes to the waterways with this simple solution. 

  • CoraBall - Catches ⅓ rd of the microplastics produced per load of washing

  • Soap Nuts - These are dried fruit shells, which contain natural soap and are completely free from synthetic and toxic ingredients, and they’re plastic free!

  • EcoCoconut - Plastic free dish brushes

Beauty & Hygiene

Cosmetics

Feminine Care

There are many fantastic alternatives to single use plastic period products. Photo: Pixabay

There are many fantastic alternatives to single use plastic period products. Photo: Pixabay

Hygiene

  • Albatross Designs – Safety razors that are ‘shaving the world from plastic’

  • Ethique – Solid shampoos, conditioners, face and body bars, and other natural goodies with NO PLASTIC! 

  • Lush – Handmade cosmetics

  • Georganics - Plastic free dental care  

Sunscreen

Below are reef-safe, plastic-free sunscreens made from natural ingredients

Online Stores 

2) Fundamental Films

  • A Plastic Ocean – Craig Leeson discovers a startling amount of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

  • A Plastic Wave – A surf photographer, business owner and father of two is seeing more and more plastic wash ashore his beloved home beach.

  • Albatross – ALBATROSS, a film by artist Chris Jordan, is a powerfully moving love story about birds on Midway Island in the Pacific whose bodies are filled with ocean plastic.

  • Drowning in Plastic – Wildlife biologist Liz Bonnin works with some of the world’s leading marine biologists and campaigners to discover the true dangers of plastic in our oceans.

  • The Smog of the Sea – The Smog of the Sea chronicles a 1-week journey through the microplastic-filled waters of the Sargasso Sea.

  • The True Cost – Filmmaker Andrew Morgan travels around the globe to see the people who make our clothes.

  • Fashion’s Dirty Secrets – British journalist Stacey Dooley reveals what our fast fashion addiction is doing to the planet.

  • Stink! - Filmmaker Jon J. Whelan examines how dangerous chemicals in American products pose a health risk to consumers.

  • War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita - A BBC series looking at where plastic waste is coming from, and how to solve it.

  • Plastic China - Follows the lives of two workshop families: Pen and his daughter Yi Jie, who grows up playing in sprawling hills of plastic waste without an education; and their boss.

  • Wasteland - Follows artist Vik Muniz’s journey to the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. 

  • Vice Garbage Island: An Ocean Full of Plastic - Vice travelled to the North Pacific Gyre, home of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

  • Bag It - An average guy makes a resolution to stop using plastic bags at the grocery store, but it turns into something a whole lot bigger.

  • Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch - Angela Sun's journey of discovery to one of the most remote places on Earth, Midway Atoll, to uncover the truth behind the mystery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 

  • Plastic Planet - Werner Boote takes us on a journey around the globe, showing that plastics have become a threat for both environment and human health.

  • Tapped - Examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.

  • Plastic Is Forever - Dylan D'Haeze, a 13-year-old filmmaker from the San Juan Islands, decides to find out by following plastic trash to its end source which is the ocean

  • Addicted to Plastic - A Canadian documentary on modern society's addiction to plastic

3) Riveting Reads

Blogs, Blurbs, and Books, oh my! 

Blogs

Discover our favourite sustainable, zero-waste and plastic free blogs below. Photo: Pixabay

Discover our favourite sustainable, zero-waste and plastic free blogs below. Photo: Pixabay

  • GROWTHINKERS – Jelle Derckx
    “GROWTHINKERS wants to inspire you to consciously think and grow to come to a change, for yourself and for the world. You dream of a life with focus, meaningful relationships and good habits. Work to your heart is a desire that you want to achieve. You know no desire for materialism and you know the power of enough. Because with less, you can achieve more.”

  • I QUIT PLASTICS – Kate Nelson 
    “We are a community. This page is a platform where I share opportunities, retreats, events, products, educational material, etc.”

  • THE ZERO WASTER – Sarah Lewis
    “I became curious about what really works and what doesn’t work to reduce an individual’s footprint on the planet, so I went back to university and studied for my master’s in Sustainable Resource Economics, Transitions, and Policy at University College London. This blog is me sharing what I learned.”

  • TRASH IS FOR TOSSERS – Lauren Singer 
    “Trash is for Tossers documents my Zero Waste journey to show that leading a Zero Waste lifestyle is simple, cost-effective, timely, fun, & entirely possible for everyone and anyone. If I can do it, anyone can!”

Books

  • How to Give Up Plastic, by Will McCallum 
    “A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time. From the Head of Oceans at Greenpeace and spokesperson for their anti-plastic campaign.”

  • How to Live Plastic Free, by the Marine Conservation Society
    “A day in the life of a plastic detox.”

  • No. More. Plastic., by Martin Dorey
    “What you can do to make a difference – the #2minutesolution.”

  • Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, by Beth Terry
    “Like many people, Beth Terry didn’t think an individual could have much    impact on the environment. But while laid up after surgery, she read an article about the staggering amount of plastic polluting the oceans and decided then and there to kick her plastic habit. Now she wants to teach you how you can too.”

  • Turning the Tide on Plastic, by Lucy Siegle 
    “How Humanity (And You) Can Make Our Globe Clean Again.”

  • Part of the Solution, e-book by Alice Forrest 
    “A collection of beautiful images, facts & ideas, to help you to create a happier, healthier ocean, human, and the whole planet, by changing your relationship with plastic.”

4) Inspiring Instagrammers

Flood your Instagram feed with inspiring people and organisations to get helpful tips and support! 

  • City to Sea @citytosea_

  • Do it for David @doitfordavidofficial

  • eXXpedition @exxpedition_

  • Venetia Falconer @venetiafalconer 

  • Marine Conservation Society @mcs_uk

  • The Ocean Cleanup @theoceancleanup

  • Ocean Conservancy @oceanconservancy

  • Plastic-Free Me @plasticfreemeorg

  • Plastic Oceans UK @plasticoceansuk

  • Less Plastic @lessplasticuk

  • Afroz Shah @afrozshah_

  • Plastic Tides @plastictides

  • Lucy Siegle @theseagull

  • Venetia Falconer @venetiafalconer 

  • Plastic Free Mermaid @plasticfreemermaid

  • Plastic Free July @plasticfreejuly

  • Seabin Project @seabin_project

  • Alice Forrest @aliceforrest

  • Plastics For Change @plasticsforchange 

  • Plastic Pollution Coalition @plasticpollutes

  • The Last Plastic Straw @noplasticstraws

  • Plastic Bank @plasticbank

  • Imogen Napper @imogennapper

  • Life Without Plastic @lifewithoutplastic

  • Bye Bye Plastic Bags @byebyeplasticbags

  • Beth Terry @bethterry

  • Plastic Soup Foundation @plasticsoupfoundation

  • Zero Waste Home @zerowastehome

  • Zerowaste Collective @zero.waste.collective

Make your feed inspiring by following organisations and influencers dedicated to tackling plastic pollution. Photo: Pixabay

Make your feed inspiring by following organisations and influencers dedicated to tackling plastic pollution. Photo: Pixabay

5) Reusable Resources

Apps

  • Refill – With over 200,000+ Refill Stations nationwide, refilling your water bottle for free has never been easier.

  • Good On You - Check how ethical and sustainable your favourite fashion brands before you buy

  • My Little Plastic Footprint - Pledge, play and inspire whilst learning about plastic pollution.

  • Tidal Revival - Get rewarded for doing a clean up!

  • Beat The Microbead - Easily check if a product has microbeads

  • RecycleNation - Find the nearest recycling centres near to you

  • HowGood - Helping you make better choices at the grocery store

  • Free Cycle - Give away your unwanted but reusable items to people in your local community and find free things that other people are giving away. 

Useful Websites 

6) The Marine Diaries’ Ten Top Tips

  • Remember Your Reusables: Carry reusable coffee cups, water bottles, straws, and bags in your car and/or on your person.

  • Purchase Plastic-Free: Pick paper, cardboard, and metal packaging over plastic whenever possible. 

  • Buy in Bulk: Explore your local farmers’ markets and bulk food stores, and if you have to buy plastic, always buy the biggest pack.   

  • Do It Yourself: Can’t find a product without plastic? Google a DIY version!

  • Reduce, Reuse, THEN Recycle: Don’t count on recycling as your end-all be-all, but rather as a last resort.

  • Ditch the Dump: Instead of purchasing single-use items like tissues, paper towels, dryer sheets, etc., buy reusable, washable alternatives 

  • Get Involved: Look up local and global organisations you can join. 

  • Find Your Fit: Not everything works for everybody; stick to what works for you.

  • Keep an Open Mind: There are endless ideas and possibilities available online if you are willing to consider them.

  • Share: Talk to people about what you’re doing and why – you may find that the conversations will lead to new ideas or unexpected tips. 

Despite this lengthy guide, it is safe to say that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding helping information on sustainable living; everyone has to start somewhere! We hope you have enjoyed following Plastic Not Fantastic – our month-long plastic-free journey of trials, tribulations, and sharing. 

Now, join us as we take on the challenge to make small, daily changes to progress towards a sustainable future. And please do share your experience with our growing community in our Plastic Free Oceans Facebook Group - we want to hear from you!

Much love,

The Marine Diaries Team x

Lets do our best to keep our oceans plastic free. Photo: Ocean Collective Media

Lets do our best to keep our oceans plastic free. Photo: Ocean Collective Media