Plastic Free July is upon us, yet it seems to be shoved to a backburner this year. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests and social unrest occurring across the nation, my time and mental energy have been spent for 2020. I feel like a rag being rung out without a single drop to spare for other causes, including being plastic free.

The last two Julys, I have challenged myself, along with millions around the world, to avoid any and all single-use plastic for the good of our planet. Our society does not make going plastic free easy, so this effort requires time, determination and dedication to make it a reality. COVID-19 has also made this nearly impossible with limitations on reusables at restaurants and grocery stores for public health purposes. This July I had to give myself permission to not take on this challenge with the vigor I usually do, and I’m confident many of my fellow environmentalists had to do the same. 

Instead of laying on the green guilt upon ourselves, we must adapt with the curveballs 2020 has given us and find other ways to have a positive impact on our environment in regards to waste. I have continued to maintain as many of my plastic free habits as possible including wearing reusable masks, bringing my grocery bags to the store when allowed, taking a water bottle anywhere and everywhere, using bamboo toothbrushes and more. Whatever habits you’re able to maintain are important contributions to the Plastic Free July effort.

If you have time, energy and available resources, you can take it one step further and support local businesses while starting a new plastic-free habit this month. The Alliance Center’s Best for Colorado program has several incredible companies that make waste reduction simpler while also valuing people over profit. Some of our mission-driven businesses you can support while expanding your plastic-free efforts include:

EarthHero

As an eco-friendly online marketplace, EarthHero has done the in-depth research on products so you don’t have to. In their online store you pick from products that are sourced, manufactured and shipped in a way that protects our planet’s future. Each brand they’ve partnered with has been chosen because they’re taking the right steps and helping to create a more sustainable future.

Infinity Goods

Ditching plastic is difficult and daunting, but Infinity Goods does the hard work for you with their zero-waste grocery service. They deliver a wide selection of food and household goods in reusable containers. Then, like the milkman, they retrieve, clean and reuse the containers for future deliveries, taking plastic packaging waste out of the grocery experience.

JOY FILL

JOY FILL is a store full of refillable, natural and sustainable household cleaners, soaps, personal care and beauty products in Northwest Denver. Their mission is to enhance your eco-friendly lifestyle and fill you with joy in the process! 

Simple Switch

Every item sold at Simple Switch has a quantifiable positive impact on our world and the people in it.  Their store is filled with products you actually need or want. Every purchase from Simple Switch reduces the likelihood of a child dying from preventable disease, provides employment for a woman recently freed from sexual slavery or helps a company use innovative techniques to reduce waste and pollution.

I know many of us feel stretched thin this July, but I just want to say thank you for every waste reduction effort you take this month. You are remaining resilient in the face of hard times, and our world needs every ounce of good you have to offer. Remember, together we are greater.