We Made It Through Plastic Free July!

This last month has been an incredibly interesting (and somewhat challenging) adventure! Our entire team pledged to take part in Plastic Free July and we are all super proud of our efforts. To cap off the month, here’s our Upcycle Studio roundup. Featuring our insights, observations and some hot tips for your own plastic free journeys!


Why was Plastic Free July so important for you?

I really wanted to put my money where my mouth was and actually commit to going plastic free. I was really conscious of my single use plastic consumption but there were moments where I’d slip up here and there. This month was a huge opportunity for me to try and really phase out as much plastic as possible from my life and see how easy or difficult it would be to keep doing this full time.

What was the most challenging part?

Having to be prepared ALL THE TIME. Going plastic free really does mean that you give up a lot of conveniences. You always have to keep your plastic free “supplies” on you, just in case you might need them! This means carrying around a reusable shopping bag at all times, always sitting in for a coffee or using a reusable cup, or having to ask the butcher to wrap your meat in paper only. (The meat one is definitely hard and I slipped up a few times in the begging, buying some of my meat in plastic packaging. Be persistent though because most butchers are really happy to hear that you don’t want to take a plastic bag with you!)

reusable shopping bag

What’s your #1 tip for going plastic free?

My number #1 tip would be to choose your battles wisely and just tackle things step by step. It’s great to go all guns blazing and try to cut out 100% of plastic, 100% of the time. But this is way too overwhelming and you’ll easily become discouraged when you slip up once in a while. My advice would be to set different goals every week or so. Maybe week 1 is about avoiding plastic shopping bags and week 2 is about removing glad wrap from your kitchen essentials. It’s these little wins that make the rest of the journey much more achievable!



What made you decide to participate in Plastic Free July?

I love a good challenge and although we’re already really mindful of our single use plastic consumption, I thought what better way to improve on it than to participate in Plastic Free July? It was such a great way to refocus on this issue and look for interesting, new solutions to some of the lingering plastic in our lives.

Frank Green Smart Cup

What were your biggest challenges this month?

Definitely take away food!! It’s actually really sad how many food establishments don’t take this more seriously. I would be happy to pay extra if it meant I could have my food delivered in cardboard, paper or eco-friendly/packaging. There are loads of takeaway options out there now using cornstarch and bamboo so there really is no excuse.

We found it really tough to find people who were willing to help us out with our requests but would love to thank and congratulate two of our new favourite places. Greek Feast in Glebe was extremely accommodating and happy to deliver all of our food in cardboard boxes. Their delivery driver even arrived cheerily at the door each time wishing us a “Happy Plastic Free July!” Another excellent option is Fat Fish in Annandale, who exclusively use cardboard and paper packaging.

What’s your #1 tip for going plastic free?

Be prepared! I realised the more organised you are the easier it is, if you are always armed with jars, bulk food bags, produce bags and reusable shopping bags, you don’t lose any of the convenience when it comes to last minute shops or ducking into grocery stores for quick purchases. Another great tip is keeping one bottle and coffee cup at work and one at home so that you don’t have to cart them backwards and forwards and risk forgetting them when you need them most.
bulk food bags, produce bags


Was Plastic Free July difficult for you to do?

At the beginning, it was difficult to start breaking old habits but I quickly trained myself to be more conscious. I noticed how hard it was to eat or snack on the go while still trying to be plastic free. It’s really easy to just grab some nibblies from the supermarket or a takeaway meal when you’re in a rush but after I started avoiding this, it really wasn’t too hard to keep going.

eat or snack on the go

What is the biggest thing you’ll take away from this experience?

Be curious, ask yourself (or others, friends, cafe owners, supermarket staff etc.) if there is a plastic free alternative. You’d be surprised at how many options you’ll find once you really start looking. Take reusable food containers to the butcher, pack sandwiches for work in beeswax wraps, drink your coffee at the cafe instead of getting takeaways. A lot of these are easy changes and aren’t much of an inconvenience. I was very impressed with how many things I was able to change in just one month and can’t wait to keep it up!

What’s your #1 tip for going plastic free?

Carry snacks with you all the time!!! If you’re anything like me, you’ll get very hungry during your plastic free journey. (No impromptu chocolate bars or bags of chips!) It’s almost impossible to get quick bites that are not wrapped in plastic so you really need to be prepared and pre-pack your daily snacks from home! I popped everything in mason jars to prevent myself from getting hangry all the time.

Mason Jars


What was the hardest thing about Plastic Free July?

It was really difficult for me as I live in a household where I don’t actually purchase the groceries. I found it hard to be responsible for other people. In the end, I had to just fight my own fight and do my bit where I could to reduce my own personal plastic consumption! Living in the western suburbs was also quite challenging as there are not many bulk food stores or other eco alternatives.

What would you like to improve upon in the future?

Being more prepared! Sometimes I can be a bit of a last-minute type of person which isn’t helpful when you want to be organised to be plastic-free! It’s definitely a big lifestyle change that you really need to commit to.

What’s your #1 tip for going plastic free?

Keep alternatives with you all the time, even if you think you won’t need it! If you always have a drink bottle in your car, or a reusable bag in your handbag, or some bamboo cutlery at work, you’ll find it much easier to stick to being plastic free.

fressko drink bottle in your car

We’ve learnt this month that going plastic free is quite a challenge but also not as daunting as it seems. It’s been a really great way to educate ourselves on more eco-friendly alternatives and start some habits that benefit our planet. We’d encourage anyone to give it a go. You don’t have to be 100% plastic-free straight away, just remember to do what you can, where you can!

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