#PlasticFreeJuly is here, and so is the Fourth of July holiday! That means it’s time for family, fun, barbecues…and a lot of single-use, “disposable” plastics that cannot typically be recycled. Eliminate your plastic footprint this Independence Day by following these easy tips from TerraCycle:

1. I Pledge Allegiance to…Plastic-Free July!

Begin your plastic-free Fourth by taking the pledge to go plastic-free. On the Plastic-Free July website, you have the option to be plastic-free for one day, one week, all of July, or forever! Once you take the pledge, you can see other inspirational stories of people at various different stages in their plastic-free journey. Knowing you have a support system behind you can be motivating, especially when it seems like plastic is all around you.

American Flag Flying
Photo by @benwhitephotography on Unsplash

2. Ready, Set, Shop

Shopping for ingredients for a larger meal, like a cookout or family gathering, can be stressful, and striving to go plastic-free can add to the challenge. Plan your shopping trip with this helpful plastic-free grocery list, and don’t forget to pack reusable bags. 

If you can’t go packaging-free, choose brands in recyclable packages. For example, you can have your chips and eat them too with the Late July® Snacks Recycling Program. TerraCycle has several free, national recycling programs you can check out. For everything else, there’s Zero Waste Box™; the Plastic Packaging – Zero Waste Box is a great option for food and beverage packaging, dining disposables, and more.

Plastic Packaging Zero Waste Box
TerraCycle Zero Waste Boxes

3. BYOB – Bring Your Own (Reusable) Bottle

Going to the beach or a picnic in the park for the holiday? Try bringing your own reusable bottle, plates, and cutlery. Bringing your own durable to-go containers is a great option, too; they are easy to stack, easy to pack, and can be used as bowls if you want to leave the plates and plastic sandwich bags at home. 

Photo by @brittanyg on Unsplash

4. Host with the Most

If you are hosting the holiday at your place, let your guests know in advance of your plastic-free goals. If they are bringing a snack, invite them to use plastic-free or reusable containers. Set your plates, silverware, and cloth napkins out in advance. You can keep the kids occupied by having them wash the dishes before the fireworks!

Photo by @justmekirsty on Unsplash

5. One Person’s Trash is Another Person’s Treasure

Need last minute outdoor furniture, or an umbrella for the beach? There’s an app for that! Check resale apps and websites like OfferUp, LetGo, Facebook Marketplace, or even local thrift stores to get what you’re looking for at a smart price. Not only are you choosing not to buy new, by giving perfectly usable furniture a new use, but you are also helping it avoid landfills. 

Photo by @djan22 on Unsplash

6. Picture Perfect

Picture it: You’ve had a delicious cook-out meal, the holiday is winding down, and it is almost time for fireworks. Before you go, make sure you clean up! If you enjoyed dining outdoors, pick up any litter that might have made its way to the ground. Other people will want to enjoy the outdoors mess-free, just like you did.

Photo by rawpixel.com

7. A Good Deed a Day Helps Keep the Plastic Problem Away

Once your plastic-free day is over and a success, look for local volunteer clean-ups to participate in. During the holiday itself, people sometimes forget to clean up after themselves. Participating in a clean-up effort can save the oceans and beaches from litter, especially plastics.

Tackling community service alone can be nerve-wracking, so extend the invitation to your friends and family. Click here for beach clean-ups in Northern California, Southern California, New York, or Florida

Brian Yurasits
Photo by @brian_yuri on Unsplash



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