It’s July already which for one thing is absolutely crazy like we are halfway through the year (what, already?!) but it also means that it’s PLASTIC FREE JULY.
If you are not familiar with what Plastic Free July actually is, let me give you a brief overview; “Plastic Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Plastic Free July is basically a month-long challenge where you try to reduce your waste specifically focusing on plastics and single-use items.
To find out more, definitely visit the Plastic Free July website Here and we would also encourage you to take the challenge.
We have noticed over the past couple of years that there are so many brilliant and important conversations around a more low & zero waste lifestyle and plastic free everyday lifestyle swaps such as reusable water bottles, bee’s wraps, reusable straws, shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrush etc. However, we’ve also noticed that there aren’t many to talk about our interior spaces and home decors which might not be single use in most cases but definitely filling our homes with plastics. As we are passionate “home-lovers” and interior enthusiasts here at Linen and Stripes, we thought that for this Plastic Free July, we will create you a little guide with 7 plastic free swaps for you which can make your home and living space eco-friendlier and more sustainable.
Here is our list of swaps that we love, and we also included links to small, sustainable, and ethical businesses where you can check out these products if you decide to swap.
1. Natural jute or cork placemats and coasters
To start with the kitchen/dining area, we love placemats and coaster as they can be a stylish and simple way to elevate the décor of our dining table & where we sit down to eat every single day. However, most of those stylish and colourful placemats you can get from supermarkets & stores are literally made from 100% plastic / vinyl or has a plastic coating which might make them more waterproof (which is useful) but NOT eco-friendly whatsoever; they don’t get to be recycled and they won’t biodegrade any time soon. So, if you want to decorate and add something extra to your dining area & table, we would highly recommend getting some coasters and placemats which are made from natural jute or cork (or other type of natural material) in order to make them compostable and biodegradable at the end of their lifecycles.
Here are a couple of options, we found for you:
- Raw Label hand woven placemats made from the Makenge plant
- Kirsty Elaine Handmade jute placemats on Etsy
- Circular & Co cork placemats on the Born Eco website
2. Linen Reusable Napkins
Staying at the dining area, we found little details like colourful napkins very stylish, and how they can really add an extra decorative touch to our table making every single meal a little bit fancier. Although, our usual paper napkins (and towels) are mostly plastic-free, they are all single-use which is still a problem we would like to resolve while turning our homes into a more plastic-free space.
We have found you some amazing reusable & natural napkin options as well as reusable non-paper towels:
- Linen & Stripes reusable linen napkins (we have multiple different colour options available)
- Katie Stevens Design 100% cotton napkins which comes in lovely prints such as William Morris
- EcoBees bamboo reusable & biodegradable kitchen towels – less for decoration but more for practicality
3. Natural storage baskets & bowls
Still staying around the kitchen / dining area but also moving slightly towards the living area, we would have a great plastic-free swap option for you; swapping plastic baskets, bowls & little containers/storages to natural & sustainable alternatives. We all probably have all those bits and bobs lying around the house, which doesn’t quite have their own places and we just get those simple and easy plastic storages and baskets to quickly store them. But again, they are mostly 100% plastic and they break so easily, not to mention they are not the most stylish things you’ve ever seen, don’t they?! And also, what’s with those ugly plastic fruit and veg bowls, honestly? We can do so much better than those. Here are some natural, sustainable, and plastic-free options you could consider:
- Our very own, Linen and Stripes linen storage baskets or wall hanging baskets which are not only practical & sustainable but a proper décor element as well around the house
- ReSpiin seagrass basket/bowl on the Plastic Freedom website
- By Amber & Rose handmade, sustainable and fair-trade mango wood fruit/veg bowl
4. Dried flower decoration
This next thing on our list is definitely an all-around-the-house versatile swap & décor. Although, we all know how beautiful & beneficial live flowers and plants in our homes, sometimes we just cannot have them for multiple reasons (Like that they die because we forgot to water them). Unfortunately, if this happens, most people choose to have plastic / fake flowers & plants as decoration in their homes. I mean, I don’t think, I have to really explain why you should NOT get any fake flowers as decorations…..plastic!! A still natural & plastic-free alternative is having dried flowers or some type of grasses as decorational elements to give our homes a more natural feel and cosiness.
You can either dry out your own fresh flowers you collected or grown or a bouquet you got, or you can purchase some from small brands. You can maybe even ask your local florist if they have any dying flowers you can save by drying them out and use them like that. I especially love to dry lavender because it not only keeps its scent but also its colour, so it doesn’t even look dry or “dead”. However, if you have no desire drying your own flowers, you get some eco-friendly options as well:
- Check out all the beautiful, dried flower bouquets on the DRIED website
- Dried pampas grass from Pampas Collective UK on Etsy
- For something more green, choose dried eucalyptus by Adamapple on Etsy
Extra tip: you can upcycle used glass jars into vases just by washing and painting them with some acrylic, spray paint, glass paint or maybe even try to use your old wall paints?!
5. Linen, cotton, or wool bed throw/blanket
Did you know that most bed throws, and blankets (yes, even those fluffy and cosy ones) made from polyester aka. plastic? Yes, it’s shocking I know especially because those fleece-y fluffy ones as well. It’s such a key décor element in a bedroom or living room which means that even though a more sustainable option might be a bit more expensive, they would make your living space more natural & plastic-free.
Here are a couple of options for you:
- ReSpiin recycled wool throw on the Plastic Freedom website
- Raw Label hand-woven cotton throw on Wearth London
- LUKS pom pom throw on Wearth London
6. Natural jute plant baskets or hangers
If you are a lover of houseplants like us, I bet you have had plastic plant pots, baskets and hangers in your house before. Although, they are cheap and sometimes come with lovely designs, they are made of plastic. If you are looking for swapping them for something more natural and eco-friendly, we have found a couple of eco and sustainable alternatives:
- Shared Earth coconut plant hanger
- Pixie’s magic hook crochet plant hanger made from 100% recycled cotton on Wearth London
- Kirsty Elaine Handmade jute indoor planter /basket/ pot on Etsy
You can also find ceramic and secondhand plant pots at charities or car boot sales which could be a more budget friendly option
7. Linen decorative cushions
Last but not least, obviously, we couldn’t leave out the decorative cushions & throw pillows either as a brilliant plastic-free interior & décor swap. Here at Linen & Stripes, we are all about elevating our living spaces with natural, sustainable, and ethically made decorative cushions which are not only eco-friendly but a great way to ditch those “fast” and cheap polyester cushions you might have in your living room or bedroom.
Here are some of our favourite decorative linen cushion covers:
If you want to know why you should choose linen for your home definitely read our blog post about this topic after you finished this one. Click here to read about 10+1 reasons why you should choose linen for your home.
Although, we have created this plastic-free guide with a mindset to find natural alternatives to plastic decor pieces we usually see in homes, we would like to acknowledge here that the most sustainable thing you can do when it comes to home decors and homewares is to use and reuse them as long as you can and always try to find second-hand alternatives before buying new in order to reduce your environmental footprint. Although, if you decide to buy something new, try to find pieces which are high quality, natural and investment pieces for long term.
Hope this little guide can show you some eco-friendly swaps to plastic and single-use homewares and decors you might have in your home. Don’t forget that Plastic Free July is only a monthly challenge which can help you starting your journey towards a more sustainable, low waste and conscious lifestyle. However, it is not something you can achieve within a month, it is a long journey and I hope that this challenge and the many-many brilliant resources online during this one month would give you a little help and push to be more environmentally conscious.
Happy Plastic Free July everyone,