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Top 21 Eco Swaps for Plastic-Free July

Top 21 Eco Swaps for Plastic-Free July

What is Plastic Free July?

Plastic Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution by reducing their plastic consumption throughout the month of July. Founded in 2011 by the Plastic Free Foundation in Australia, this campaign has grown into a worldwide effort to raise awareness about the devastating impact of single-use plastics on our environment. The goal of Plastic Free July is not just to reduce plastic waste for one month, but to inspire long-term, sustainable changes in our consumption habits.

 

Why is this important?

Let’s face it: our planet is facing a plastic pollution crisis. Every year, millions of tons of plastic waste enter our oceans and waterways, harming marine life and disrupting ecosystems all over the world. Plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose, and during this time, it breaks down into microplastics that contaminate our water, soil, and even the air we breathe. This pollution is not only harmful to wildlife, but also poses a significant risk to human health as scientists believe they may be linked to the growing rate of cancers, heart disease and other illnesses. 

So, participating in Plastic Free July helps to minimize the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans and landfills, which contributes to a healthier planet overall. Every small change that we make as a community can lead to significant improvements in reducing pollution overall, conserving natural resources, and protecting our wildlife as much as we can. We hope we can encourage as many people as possible to not only join us on this journey this month, but to also continue on the plastic-free life beyond! 

By choosing to go plastic-free, you not only benefit the environment but also support a sustainable future for generations to come. At Tare Market, we are committed to offering a variety of zero waste and plastic-free products to help you on your journey. By making simple swaps like these, you can significantly reduce your plastic footprint. 

If you live near the Twin Cities, we recommend coming into either of our storefronts to shop. If you live out-of-state, we also offer online shipping! We want to make the plastic free journey accessible to everyone — no matter your zip code, so when you shop online with us, we pack and ship your order with care in plastic-free and upcycled packaging. 

Here are 21 simple and effective swaps you can make to reduce your plastic footprint:

SHOPPING BULK

The number 1 swap you can make to reduce plastic is shopping bulk! We offer a plethora of bulk goods for the pantry, kitchen, home and bathroom at Tare Market for you to shop in bulk and reduce the use of single-use plastics. Run out of soap? Run out of honey? Bring in your containers and refill in-store to avoid having to buy something in new packaging

By buying bulk, you also only pay for what you need and reduce waste. For example, no need to buy a 2lb bag of flour if you only need 1 cup. Buying in bulk not only saves you from another single-use plastic, but also reduces potential food waste.

IN THE KITCHEN

Two Acres Farm Eco-Sponge 

Did you know that traditional sponges are made of plastic? This means that they are not biodegradable and break down into microplastics. What’s worse, because plastic sponges can be germ ridden and frequently need replacement, it’s estimated that in the U.S. alone, we throw away an estimated 500 million plastic sponges per year!

Make the swap now to a better alternative like the Two Acres Farm Eco-Sponge, which is made out of fair trade recycled coffee sacks and cotton, and is 100% biodegradable! This sponge can also be washed in the washing machine when it needs to be cleaned, and at the end of life, it can be thrown into your compost to break down naturally.

Swedish Dishcloths

A great alternative for sponges and paper towels are Swedish Dish Towels. You’ve probably seen these pop up and become more popular recently.  These are biodegradable and can be used and washed up to 200 times!

One dishcloth absorbs 20x its weight and will replace 17 rolls of paper towels. They air-dry fast so it doesn’t breed bacteria like the typical sponge. After use, simply wash in the top rack of your dishwasher or washing machine, or boil to sterilize and then let air-dry.

Beeswrap Wax

Ditch the messy, single-use cling film & choose Beeswax Wraps instead! These are an incredible natural alternative to cling wrap and work just as good. Made using organic cotton cloth, beeswax and other natural oils, they come in cute prints and can be used over and over — and then refreshed again if needed, or can be composted.

Stasher Silicone Food Storage Bags

Tare Market carries Stasher bags — a silicone reusable food storage bag and it comes in several sizes like snack, travel, sandwich, and gallon size to meet all of your needs. These silicone bags are durable, convenient and plastic-free. Plus, they’re dishwasher AND microwave/oven safe, non-toxic and endlessly reusable!

If you find yourself with a broken or unusable Stasher Bag, you can bring it into our in-store Community Recycling Area to be recycled.


Silicone Baking Cups

Are you a baker? These Silicone Baking Cups are a great alternative to single-use and toxic cupcake liners. Swap those out for these silicone baking molds that are BPA-free, reusable infinite times, dishwasher/freezer and of course oven safe. Bonus, you can also use these to divide foods/snacks within tupperware or in your lunch box!

Once these reach their end of life, you can also bring it back into our in-store Community Recycling Area to be recycled.


Bamboo or Glass Straws

Keep plastic straws out of our oceans and landfills by switching to biodegradable Bamboo Straws or Glass Straws. These straws are a great sustainable solution and can be used over and over — perfect on your daily coffee run or on-the-go sipping.

Bundle with our Straw Brush Cleaner and Straw Cloth Pouch so you can take it with you on the go!


Silicone Baking Mat

Ditch the single-use foil & parchment paper for this flexible, non-stick, and easy-to-clean Silicone Baking Mat. No need for extra butter, oil or grease and say goodbye to the toxic non-stick sheets. This mat also has guides for spacing cookies (or macarons!) and when you’re done, just scrub with a little soap and water.

Mesh Produce Bags

Swap the flimsy plastic bags with these cotton mesh produce bags that will stretch to accommodate produce of all shapes & sizes! These 100% GOTS Certified cotton. Mesh Produce Bags are a great zero-waste option for shopping and transporting produce from the grocery store (can also be doubled as a delicates laundry bag or lunch sack). They are available in 3 sizes and can be reused over and over. Plus, they’re made in the USA!

Unpaper Towels

Made with 100% cotton flannel, these Reusable Unpaper Towels are the perfect swap for disposables. The edges are serged for durability and to prevent fraying. The flannel helps these towels to cling together, which makes it easy to roll them up on a paper towel roll, and they will fluff up & increase absorbency after the first few washes! These are a great alternative to your standard paper towel and are much more friendly for the environment.

Reusable Coffee Filters

Most coffee filters are made with paper, but some have plastic in them to bind the materials together – ick! This Reusable Coffee Filter is a great alternative as you’ll get a richer, cleaner brew, and an honest product at an economical price. Each set of 2 filters lasts at least a year, and they’re easy to use and maintain! Plus, when they’ve reached their end of life, you can compost the filter.

IN THE BATHROOM

Shampoo and Conditioner Bars

Did you know that most bottles of shampoo and conditioner are 80% water on average? Plus, they come in plastic containers! Swap them out for Shampoo and Conditioner Bars to up your zero-waste game in the bathroom. These bars can last you anywhere between 3-6 months and are the equivalent of 2 bottles of shampoo or conditioner! Plus, they are salon quality and come in a variety of options for you to choose from based on what is best for your hair: Volumizing, Moisturizing, Maintain, Soothe, and Curl. These are safe for color treated hair.

Dental Floss Picks

Make flossing fun, easy, and sustainable! If you love using floss picks, but want an eco-friendly option, then these Dental Picks are for you. These picks are 100% biodegradable, vegan, and cruelty-free!

Facial Rounds

Take off your make-up, apply toner or even remove nail polish using these reusable Facial Rounds instead of single-use disposable make-up wipes, or cotton balls and rounds. They come in a pack of 12 and are incredibly absorbent. When you’re done using these, simply throw in the washer and dryer and reuse!

Foaming Toothpaste Tablets

Say goodbye to toothpaste tubes and say hello to Foaming Toothpaste Tablets! These tablets have taken water out of the equation, so these are light and small, making them perfect for travel in addition to everyday use. They are foaming & minty, so you can freshen up quickly!

Toothpaste tubes get trashed as they cannot be recycled in curbside bins, so making the swap to toothpaste tablets is a great way to keep dental hygiene at bay without the waste. You can bring in a container to refill at either of our two locations, or order a reusable tin online.

Some people may not like the taste or texture of foaming toothpaste tablets, so if you do stick with regular toothpaste, we have a Colgate® via Terracycle recycling bin in-store for you to recycle all of your toothpaste tubes, plastic toothbrushes and packaging, and dental floss containers. All brands accepted!


Reusable Ear Swab

I know, it sounds a little weird, but what if we told you you can replace 1,000 single-use cotton swabs for just ONE reusable one?! This Reusable Ear Swab is made from TPE, PP and is stored in a bio-based carrying case, plus it’s easy to clean with soap and water after each use.

IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM

Laundry Detergent Sheets

Did you know laundry detergent is mostly made up of water? Laundry Detergent Sheets are the exact same thing, but in ultra-concentrated dehydrated sheet form. But, the bonus is that they are made with an 100% dye-free earth-friendly formula that is great for sensitive skin and washes clothes more effectively. Plus, they are mess-free, dissolve cleanly and come in plastic-free packaging!

Wool Dryer Balls

Not only are these reusable & eco-friendly over disposable single-use dryer sheets, Wool Dryer Balls also actually decrease your drying time and help to soften them, too! That means less energy is used and there’s no need for softener.

For great smelling laundry, you can also dab Essential Oils on them before throwing them into your dryer with clothes.

These are carefully handmade to last many years without falling apart, but once they do reach the end of their life, you can toss them directly in your compost.


FOR YOUR PETS

Biodegradable Pet Waste Bags

These bags are the only ones on the market with a special enzyme that breaks them down in a landfill setting! Dog waste ends up in the landfill, and even in a regular compostable bag, they usually become encapsulated and end up taking longer to break down, or not at all. With these Biodegradable Pet Waste Bags, you can ensure your bag will break down in a landfill setting. Each box includes 8 rolls (12 bags per roll).

Wool Cat Toys

Majority of the cat toys on the market are made with synthetic materials that aren’t so friendly for your fur baby. Treat your kitty to some fair-trade fun with these handmade Wool Cat Toys! Shaped and decorated as cute critters, these toys are made with wool, which is not only naturally antimicrobial, but also cleans their teeth while they play. Plus, when it’s torn apart and no longer usable, it can be composted.

Lint Removers

Many lint removers use non-recyclable paper lined with plastic adhesives. Those sticky papers are destined for the landfill. This Reusable Lint Remover solves that problem! Use it to remove pet hair from furniture or from your clothes. Can also be used to remove pilling from durable fabrics like your thick cotton and wool sweaters.

And when you’ve cleaned up pet hair and pilling from natural fibers, did you know you can compost it?


 

This is just the start! We carry hundreds of products that have been fully vetted and tested to ensure they are zero waste, ethically sourced, and right for you. Embarking on this plastic-free journey may seem daunting at first, but every small step you take makes a significant difference for the planet. And that’s all it takes — one small step at a time! 

The goal of Plastic Free July is to help you develop these habits of refusing plastic and being more cognizant of where plastic is present in your everyday life and how you can make swaps towards a healthier lifestyle beyond July. By integrating these swaps into your daily routine, you can contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle! 

At Tare Market, we are here to support you every step of your journey — whether you are new to it or not, our team is committed to helping you find the right products and provide you with the resources to reduce your plastic usage. Let's work together to make a positive impact on our planet, not just during Plastic Free July, but all year round.

So, what do you say? Will swap(s) are you making this Plastic Free July?

Shop Zero Waste

 

Sources:

  • https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/
  • https://ourworldindata.org/how-much-plastic-waste-ends-up-in-the-ocean#:~:text=The%20OECD%20Global%20Plastics%20Outlook,is%20around%201%20million%20tonnes.
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/interactive/2024/microplastics-air-human-body-organs-spread/

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