July, officially labeled “Plastic-Free July Month” is a great time to assess what you have around your house and decide just how many plastic items you have laying around. And while plastic is inevitable in our world, single-use plastics do not have to be.

During “Plastic-Free July Month,” let’s gather our kids and ask them what it means to have a cleaner world. Why? Because as adults, we eventually have to leave the world to our children, their children, and so forth. So why not get them talking about how to keep our planet clean?

Let’s start with the basics: Why is single-use plastic is so dreadful for our precious planet? To put it simply, single-use plastics are plastic products that can only be used once and then thrown away to end up in our pollution mainstream. Single-use plastics, when not disposed of properly, can lead to the eventual buildup of waste floating into our streets, into our beautiful oceans, and end up causing drastic pollution that will affect everyone’s health and well being.

Below are 7 easy steps you and your children can take to reduce single-use plastics and maybe eventually remove the need for them in the future.

1. Buy consciously. Think about how many times you’re going to use that product. If it’s a plastic sandwich bag, skip it and buy reusable bags such as ones made from silicone, cloth, or a stronger plastic that will last for many years. You can also use paper sandwich bags that will break down when wet and can be disposed into your recycling bin or compost bin.

2. Use natural materials. Natural materials and materials that are sustainable include bamboo, organic cotton, wood, and glass. Natural materials are a lot safer for children as they are usually manufactured without toxic by-products.

3. Bring your own lunch containers. There are tons of cool looking lunch containers for your kids. The best materials are stainless steel and glass.

4. Choose Reusable straws. Reusable straws are great for reducing plastic waste. Reusable straws can be stainless steel, glass, or made from bamboo.

5. Use Reusable water bottles. You can find reusable bottles almost anywhere. Pick some up made from stainless steel, glass, or BPA-free plastic.

6. Bring your own utensils. When packing lunch for your child, be sure to pack reusable utensils. They can easily put the used utensils back into their lunch bags/containers to bring home.

7. Look at brands and websites that offer sustainable products. Then, find easy and doable solutions for you and your family. You can find more ideas here.