There’s no doubt about it: We have a global plastic pollution problem. We’ve produced 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic since the 1950s, with over half of that being produced in the last 15 years alone. While our plastic consumption is increasing, our recycling isn’t keeping up. In fact, we only recycle about 9% of all plastic worldwide. The other 91% ends up stuck in landfills or littered in the environment.

The problem with plastic is that it doesn’t biodegrade like other materials. Instead, it breaks apart into microplastics which end up in our water, air, and wildlife. Animals that consume microplastics can experience blockages, punctured organs, and fatality. Plus, humans are consuming these microplastics in our food and water. The chemicals found in plastic and microplastics are harmful to human health, causing reproductive issues, hormonal imbalances, and more.

The statistics and news stories surrounding our plastic problem are overwhelming, but they can also inspire action. If you aren’t sure where to start, Plastic Free July is an excellent jumping-off point. Here’s what you need to know about this movement, its impact, and how you can get started right now!

microplastic cleanup on the beach

What is Plastic Free July?

Plastic Free July is a global movement to help people around the world reduce their single-use plastic waste. Anyone can join and receive resources that help them accomplish this goal. Most importantly, it provides a sense of community as you work alongside like-minded people to address the plastic pollution problem.

While Plastic Free July started as a challenge, it’s had a massive impact around the world. It’s helped 100 million people in 190 countries limit their use of plastic.

In total, participants of Plastic Free July have reduced 2.1 billion tons of waste and recycling (including 300 million kg of plastic consumption) globally. Participants also reduce household waste and recycling by 15 kg per person each year. After taking the challenge, 86% of people say that they’ve made changes that become lifelong habits. Plus, over the course of its 11 years in existence, this challenge has reduced the global demand for:

  • Bottled water by 2.3%
  • Fruit and vegetable packaging by 3.1%
  • Plastic straws by 4%

plastic free july

How to Participate in Plastic Free July

If you want to take the official Plastic Free July challenge, you can sign up on their website. By signing up, you get weekly emails with tips, tricks, and inspiration to keep you motivated as you complete the challenge. You’ll also get stories from other participants and news about the movement.

Want to get started right now? We’ve put together a short list of simple steps that can kickstart your Plastic Free journey:

1. Bring Your Own Bag

bring your own grocery bags

Why: We use approximately 500 billion plastic bags annually, worldwide. Each bag has an average working life of just 15 minutes before being discarded, yet it will take 20 years to break down.

How: Collect reusable bags to keep in your purse, backpack, desk, or car. When folded down, they take up very little space! There are reusable bags to replace produce bags, grocery bags, and shopping bags.

2. Invest In Reusable Cups

invest in reusable cups

Why: About 14% of all litter is the result of beverage containers, like water bottles and coffee cups. Coffee cups, which include a plastic lining and aren’t recyclable, take 30 years to degrade. Plastic bottles take 450 years.

How: Bring your own thermos or reusable cup to coffee shops. If you have extra, keep them in your car so you’re never without them. Likewise, invest in a reusable water bottle that you can fill up at public refill stations.

3. Choose Plastic-Free or Refillable Options

refill soaps or buy personal products that don't use plastic packaging

Why: 42% of all non-fiber plastic has been used to create plastic packaging. This includes plastic-packaged personal care and cleaning products, like shampoo and floor cleaners.  

How: Choose products that come in metal, glass, or paper packaging. For example, you can get a shampoo bar that comes in paper packaging or liquid dish soap in a metal bottle. You can also opt for a refillable program, in which you may purchase plastic containers once but refill them for years, which is often an affordable option.

A 24/7, 365 Approach to Sustainability

Sustainability is at the core of what we do at LIM Living. Our less-is-more philosophy is centered around choosing a conscious lifestyle that limits excess and encourages mindful consumption choices.

It’s this philosophy that guides us as we continuously assess and reduce our environmental footprint. That said, we have three key company strategies that ensure we stay on track:

  • Carbon-Smart Approach. We use materials that have a lower embodied energy compared to traditional materials, like recycled steel. We also use refuse material and materials with high-recycled content. Plus, we track our impact via carbon accounting and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).
  • Circularity. We’re committed to designing products with circularity in mind - in other words, our products can be made into something new once they reach the end of their useful life. We’re also working on a “Take-Back” program to ensure all materials are reused, recycled, or remade.
  • Material Ingredient Chemical Avoidance. We’re working on establishing a forbidden chemical list to ensure that our products don’t include carcinogenic, toxic chemicals. We’ll back that up with transparency about what materials we do use via a Health Product Declaration (HPD).

Want to learn more about our approach to sustainable living? Read detailed information about our materials and impact here. For more sustainable living inspiration, be sure to follow us on social media and keep up with our blog, where we share the latest inspiration for our less-is-more philosophy.

 glass water bottle with plastic free label


June 29, 2023