Reducing the amount of trash your household generates can feel overwhelming so I recommend making the transition one step at a time. Here, I’ve compiled a list of some simple changes you can make with links to suggested products, if needed. This page will be updated from time to time so please check back occasionally.
A great place to start curbing waste is by bringing your own reusable bags when you go shopping. Between trips to the grocery store, a visit to the mall and take-out food, you can easily save countless single use bags from the landfill!
Take a look around your home, chances are you already have some bags you can use. Or if you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can make your own. There are lots of DIY bag ideas on Pinterest; some of them are made from up-cycled t-shirts.
My husband and I bought a set of sturdy canvas grocery totes in the 90’s and they’re still serving us well today! Here’s a similar set I found on Amazon.
Did you know you can also bring your own reusable produce bags to the market? Some stores sell them in their produce section or click the link below to find the bags we use. These are washable, durable and last for years. Some grocery stores will even give you a few cents back for using them!
For bulk items such as beans, seeds, nuts, and grains, my husband and I bring clean empty Ball jars to the store. Tare weights are subtracted so we only pay for the weight of the item. If you prefer something lighter weight and unbreakable, these Bring It cotton bags are a fantastic alternative.
When visiting the mall, farmers market or ordering take-out food, I use this type of polyester bag that fits easily in my purse and the car’s glove compartment.
Tip: At first remembering to bring your bags when shopping can be a challenge. My husband and I solved this problem by making it a habit of storing our grocery and produce bags in the trunk of our car and tossing a couple of the polyester bags in my purse and glove box. Now we’re never without a bag! Also, don’t forget to pack a few reusable bags in your suitcase when traveling.
Beverage Cups, Straws, Food Containers and Utensils
I recently read a shocking statistic that our oceans will contain more plastic than fish by the year 2050 if we don’t do something about it! Single use plastics such as water bottles, beverage cups, lids and straws along with food containers and utensils make up the bulk of this trash which can easily be avoided by bringing your own!
Reusable hot and cold cups that include lids and straws can be purchased almost anywhere these days. You may already have a couple laying around the house. I recommend cups with fluid ounce capacity listed on them so that servers know how much to charge for your beverage. This type of cup is good for booth hot and cold beverages.
Companies like To-Go Ware manufacture reusable bamboo flatware that fit in a purse, briefcase, backpack or glove box. I purchased a few sets for my family at Whole Foods a couple years ago and we use them constantly, even the chop sticks!
Planet Box is a wonderfully durable lunch box that allows you to skip single use plastic wrap and baggies all together. Made of stainless steel, it easily fits in the dishwasher. My son Christopher has been using this lunch box for years.
At home or on the go, JT Chill has the perfect reusable stainless steel straws. These are used in our house just as much as our utensils!
Composting is key to reducing smelly trash and the ability to go long periods of time between putting your trash out for pick-up. Composting is also a great way to improve the health of the soil in your yard and garden. Keeping a container handy on the kitchen counter for coffee grinds and parings can be done using any bowl or bucket you already own or there are many on the market like this one.
There are numerous ways to reduce waste in the bathroom as well. Start by switching to the Preserve toothbrush made from recycled yogurt cups. These brushes can be recycled again by returning them to a Gimme 5 Program box. You can usually find one at Whole Foods. To learn more about the Gimme 5 Program click here.
If you would like to switch from a plastic toothbrush to one that can be composted, try this brush…simply pull out old bristles with a pair of pliers and compost the handle.
For reusable dental floss holders I use one of these.
Coming soon…recipes for DIY toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm and more. This is an area I’m currently exploring and testing for our own home and will share with you as soon as I can. Please check back occasionally for updates.