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Our Top Swaps for Plastic Free July

Enjoying the heat? Ok, ok it may be a little too hot out right now but we may be in for a little break this weekend so why not hit the trails in the early morning and then the beach! That’s our plan anyway. Melissa and I are headed out for a well-deserved vacation this week and next and are very excited to hit the Bruce Trail, go kayaking, and eat some good food. While out and about please remember to pack out what you’ve packed in and keep our beautiful planet clean 😊.

In spirit of Plastic Free July and our adventures, we’ve come up with some top swaps for camping, hiking or cottaging for the summer season! These are things we use and do!


Our favourite waste-free snacks for the trails are dried fruit, nuts and trail mix or homemade granola bars. Shown below is a nice blend of our dried fruit including: apricots, cranberries, raisins and mango. Pack them in a Colibri snack bag or rezip for portability. We also like using mason jars to put in a cupholder on the road for easy access to snacking! No time to cut up the dried fruit? Our Santiago trail mix is one of Lisa’s favourites and includes currants, raisins, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, non-hydrogenated canola oil, sunflower oil. Yum!

dried fruit in a jar and a reusable snack bag

Homemade granola bars are a super simple way to put some pep in your step for a quick breakfast or on the go. You can find one of our tested recipes here.


Prep meals ahead of time and pack in reusable containers to bring with to reduce waste. Lisa is currently prepping a whole host of amazing meals for her upcoming travels including: spinach, roasted red pepper and egg muffins and orzo pasta salad to name a couple. She likes to plan out her meals by day, write a full grocery list (including what’s already in the pantry) and days for prep to stay organized.

We also have the classic essentials in store for condiments including ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut, olives, seasoning salt, steak spice and more! Our condiments are offered in either bulk, prefilled or prejarred. Did you know? We also carry Beyond Meat patties and sausages in bulk.

Want to pack light? Try our new camping meals from Backcountry Wok! We carry Original Fried Rice, Thai Green Curry, and bibimbap all in backyard compostable bags. Just 1 ½ cups of boiling water, wait 20 minutes and serve! Easy peasy.

camp meal

Reusable Kits

One of our must-have items for travelling is a to-go kit for reducing waste on the road or while travelling. Make it super simple with a utensil set, napkins, a straw and a container for leftovers. Put the items in a reusable tote and hang it on your door so you always remember. We like to keep ours in our purse and backpacks or in the car so we are always prepared! You never know when a craving might kick in!

Seen here is our ToGoWare utensil set that comes in four different colours or naked 😉, a bamboo straw (we also have stainless steel and silicone), and a fun Colibri snack bag or Rezip. We also carry loads of other container options including airtight stainless steel containers that can be used on a camp fire or lightweight wheatstraw bento boxes. Adding napkins to kits are also handy for those messier meals!

On a budget? Don’t fret, use what you have! Grab a set of utensils from your drawer and use some crafty folding with a kitchen towel for your napkin. Reuse, reuse, reuse what you have, those takeout containers or yogurt containers are amazing to have on hand and are calling your name!

Bathroom Hygiene

We love tooth tablets for on-the-go oral care! Our Nelson Naturals tooth tablets come pre-jarred or in bulk. Just crush it in your mouth and brush! They can also be used as a quick mouth wash if there were too many onions in your pasta salad. Pair with a bamboo Brush Naked toothbrush and bamboo travel case and you’re ready to tackle brushing low-waste everywhere and anywhere.

Another great option for low-waste bathroom routines include deodorant and soap. Ditch the plastic and swap to bulk or low-waste options including our bulk deodorant that we both LOVE, or our compostable tube deodorants. We also have a ton of options for bar soap including a local option from Grove Soap Co or many scent options from Crate 61. You can feel good about your choice for the environment and smell good too!

Hair Care

We love love love Unwrapped Life shampoo bars and cannot rave about them enough. They are perfect for taking on the go in a travel case and are lightweight to pop in your toiletry bag and won’t leak! Just make sure you let them drain and dry before storage. What is best about the shampoo bar is it can body as a body bar too reducing the number of things you need to bring. The conditioner bar also works as a shave bar too! What’s not to love?

Another great option is refilling travel tubes of our Oneka shampoo and conditioner in store. The cedar sage blend is perfect for telling flies to buzz off.


No, we don’t love doing chores when we travel…or at home really…but you can still be low waste on the go! Bring a local Come Clean dish block and pot scrubber to do dishes at the camp site. The dish block is amazing at cutting grease and leaving dishes squeeky clean. Lisa has made up a tote of camping supplies so that it is ready to go for camping season; it includes plates, silverware, napkins, cooking utensils and more, just pop in your everyday essentials like dish soap and off you go.

You can also refill a travel container of dish soap in store!

Plastic Free July

We started this little idea of our store two years ago on the cusp of Plastic Free July and now has turned into our big dream come true! We love being able to help people find new ways to reduce their waste in the Sarnia-Lambton area and are inspired by the great lakes that surround us. Plastic Free July has special meaning to us as it coincides with our business anniversary and is an important way to get the message out on reducing waste. It can start as a simple swap like switching from plastic water bottles to reusables as it adds up over time. What is one swap you can make today that changes our tomorrow?

Here is the message on what Plastic Free July is all about from its organizers:

Join millions of people reducing their plastic waste.

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. Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics?

Click here to join the challenge! It all starts with you! 

Safe travels!



Used any of these ideas? Let us know by tagging @greatlakesrefillco on Instagram and share your story!

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