20 Easy Ideas to Reduce Waste

We should all be striving to save the planet and adopt the zero-waste lifestyle but it doesn’t have to be that daunting. There are little changes we can make that greatly reduce waste. If you haven’t felt the urge to reduce the amount of trash you produce, challenge yourself by holding on to all of your trash in just one day and evaluate. I guarantee you’ll want to make some of these easy swaps when you see how wasteful you can be! And the best part, over half of these ideas cost absolutely nothing! While making a few investments can be really helpful, don’t let money limit your mission to reduce consumption!

  1. Don’t take more than you need. – This applies to pretty much everything we use – paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, food, drink, etc. Try not to take things just because they are being offered to you.
  2. Opt for dish towels over paper towels. – Instead of buying and throwing away rolls and rolls of paper towels, dry your hands and clean up little kitchen messes with your dish towel!
  3. Use a surface cleaner & a sponge/towel instead of one-time-use wipes. – No need to fill the trash with wipes! Just wipe down the counter or table with a towel and throw it in your next load of laundry.
  4. Skip the coffee collar & lid. – Next time you get coffee ask yourself, do I really need the extras? The answer is no and those things will just end up in the trash.
  5. Pack a mug. – If your office has a shared coffee pot/Kurig and a stack of paper cups, try packing your own mug and just washing it between uses!
  6. BYOU: Bring your own utensils. – Throw a spoon and fork from the kitchen into your bag so you can skip the plastic utensils when you’re out and about. Just bring them home, wash them, and toss them right back in the bag so you’re always prepared!
  7. Opt for Tupperware over plastic bags/plastic wrap – We all probably own a seemingly impossible amount of Tupperware so why waste money on plastic bags and plastic wrap? Just toss leftovers in containers! Or throw your packed sandwich in a container instead. Next time you run out of baggies, try not repurchasing and making do.
  8. Skip the plastic bags for your produce. – Next time you’re at the grocery store consider throwing fruits and veggies that have a peel or that you plan on washing anyway straight into the cart! It won’t make them less healthy J
  9. Ask for no straw in your drink. – We’ve all seen the sad photos of ocean animals choking on our straws so I don’t feel the need to convince you of this one.
  10. Limit one-time use packaging (e.g. store-bought granola bars) – It’s hard to avoid packaging sometimes but start to notice your snack-trash habits. Think about it – if you’re eating packaged protein bars every day, you’re racking up the wrappers! Try making your own and storing them in reusable containers! I may or may not have a recipe coming soon 😉
  11. Wash & reuse Ziploc bags. – No need to throw away that Ziploc after just one use! Rinse it and reuse it.
  12. Wash & reuse plastic utensils. – If you forgot to BYOU and you end up with some plastic utensils, wash them and throw them in your lunch bag or purse for next time!
  13. Buy makeup remover liquid/balm instead of wipes. – While they’re convenient for travel and in your gym bag, there’s no need to fill your trashcan with dirty makeup remover wipes! Next time buy a bottle of liquid makeup remover or makeup remover oil/balm.
  14. Invest in reusable shopping bags. – Everyone owns one these days and if not, basically every store sells them. These obviously reduce plastic use but also greatly reduce the trips to and from your car after a grocery haul! If you have trouble remembering to grab your bag, try keeping it in your trunk so it’s always on hand. Some stores even offer discounts and promos when you bring your bag. And remember, these aren’t just for the grocery store! Bring them on all your shopping sprees.
  15. Invest in a reusable water bottle. – This one goes without saying. Not only do you reduce plastic consumption, you also save tons of money by not having to purchase your water! Every restaurant I’ve been to is happy to fill up my bottle when I request it. Even most airlines will fill your water bottle on request, keeping you much more hydrated than those tiny plastic cups.
  16. Get your own travel coffee cup. – No more paper coffee cups with plastic lids. Just ask your barista to fill your cup instead. Bringing your own container to your favorite coffee shop could even score you a discount!
  17. Get your hands on some metal/acrylic straws. – If you love the straw but hate the plastic, they make reusable straws that are plastic free! I have these stainless steel ones & I like the bigger acrylic ones for smoothies. Keep a couple in your bag so you’re prepared!
  18. Purchase silicone ziploc baggies. – If you’re a die-hard sandwich bag fan but are trying to cut back on plastic, you can get silicone baggies that are easy to wash and reuse! These ones are even dishwasher safe!
  19. Invest in some cloth napkins. – Instead of buying a pack of napkins, try cloth napkins. They make you feel super fancy and you can just throw them in the wash after your awesome dinner party.
  20. Ladies, it’s time for the menstrual cup. Maybe some cloth pads too. – Feminine products are a crazy source of waste. Menstrual cups are super comfy and save you a lot of money. They also make washable pads that I love for bedtime.  Here’s the one I have. And the pads too! No plastic involved! And no more including expensive tampons in your monthly budget!

Thank you for reading and wanting to do your part to reduce waste! 🙂

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