15 Easy Ways to Cut Down on Unnecessary Waste

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I am fascinated by the zero waste movement. I've seen the stories of people who can fit a year's worth of their trash into one single mason jar, and I am amazed. I am SO FAR FROM THAT. I feel like that's legitimately impossible, really, but clearly it can be done. 

While I'm not sure I can be that drastic quite yet in my life, I'm definitely on a mission this year to cut back on the amount of waste I produce and the amount of unnecessary things I use. I wanted to share some easy things I've thought of that I think will be easy to do for all of us!

As this weekend is Earth Day, it feels especially relevant to renew our focus and attention on keeping our planet clean, alive, and thriving.

Here are 15 simple ways we can cut back on unnecessary waste:

  • Don't use the extra plastic wrapping when I buy flowers. Put a cup of water in your car or a wet papertowl for wrapping around the ends of the stems if you're concerned about that.
  • Don't put produce in plastic bags. If you're concerned about germs, put everything in your own reusable bag in your cart/basket, and use a good fruit/vegetable wash when you get home! 
  • Stop using the Keurig machine at work. Homemade coffee for the win!
  • Don't use plastic straws. I use these straws in my water and these are great for smoothies!
  • Don't use plastic water bottles. I drink all of my water from mason jars -- bonus: you can easily measure how much water you've consumed! I also love this water bottle for hot yoga and on the go.
  • Use reusable silverware. Keep a set at the office for lunches, make sure to bring one everyday, or keep something like this handy dandy tool on hand!
  • Ditch the Ziplock bags. I absolutely LOVE these reusable bags for all my snacks and such, and I just wash them with soap and water as needed!
  • Compost your produce waste. Even if you don't have room for a compost bin, you can still save your scraps of fruits and veggies and take them to a local compost bin-- my friend Annie shares more about how easy this is here
  • Use bar soap. Every new plastic bottle you buy with body wash or soap is more plastic going into our landfills (it can't always be recycled) so using bar soap is a great way to minimize waste.
  • Switch to a recycled toothbrush. I love this toothbrush so much (got it at my local Trader Joe's, but there's a 6 pack for $14 here!) -- they're made from recycled yogurt cups. Love it.
  • Switch to recycled razors. These are also made from recycled materials, and using a razor that only needs new blades saves so much plastic that you would throw away on disposable razors!
  • Use beeswrap instead of plastic wrap. 
  • Use reusable bags while grocery shopping for produce. I love these-- the weight is on the tags so your cashier can easily zero them out.
  • Use a makeup eraser for makeup removal instead of cotton balls, tissues, face wipes, etc. This one is magic. All you need to do is get it wet! Seriously.
  • Reuse food containers. Turn that glass salsa jar into a cup for your pens, or use the kombucha bottle for your own homemade iced tea, or keep your hairties in a cleaned out butter tub. If you can't reuse something, be sure to recycle it! 

A few zero waste favorites for encouragement and ideas:

Going Zero Waste

Zero Waste Chef

Zero Waste Wisdom

Go Litterless


What's one small way you've reduced your use lately?

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