6 Tips for

reducing plastic waste

Swap your grocery bags for a reusable option.

Cloth grocery bags are becoming more popular than ever but an even better option is to ditch the grocery bags altogether. Have your cashier load your groceries back into your cart where you can then load them into baskets in your car. As you load, sort the cold items into their own basket so you can focus on that basket and come back to the other later. This can be a great trick to make your life easier as well because it's fewer things to carry inside the house and you don't have to worry about a bag breaking!

Buy in bulk.

When you buy products in bulk you are using less plastic packaging. Studies show that bulk buy items use up to 95% less plastic depending on the item and packaging than smaller purchases. When you make a point to buy bulk you not only reduce your plastic packaging usage but you also save money on things you use regularly. To make the most of this trick use the bulk bins to buy dry goods and bring your own containers to reuse over and over again.

Replace your plastic wrap.

Plastic wrap is not recyclable and must be thrown out after you use it. Despite being thin plastic wrap can lead to a lot of trash in the average household. For the freezer, you can replace plastic wrap with butcher paper that can be rinsed and ripped up when you are done before tossing it into your compost bin to break down and use in your garden later. For non-meat foods, you can use beeswax wraps in place of plastic wrap. This can be made at home or purchased pre-made. I would suggest not using beeswax wraps on meats as I never feel like I can wash them with hot enough water for long enough for them to be sterilized without having to re-wax them. Stasher Bags and similar reusable freezer bags are also great options! They can be thrown into the dishwasher to sanitize, used in the microwave, fridge and freezer, and even used to sous vide.

Buy a water filter to reduce water waste.

If you tend to buy water bottles a quality water filter is the best thing you can do to stop buying bottled water and drastically reduce your plastic usage. A quality water filtration system will allow you to enjoy the same quality water you are already used to while saving you money in the long run. Yes, most water filters use some plastic but still use much less plastic than hundreds of gallon jugs or thousands of small plastic bottles of water.

Be mindful of toys for your kids.

Most children's toys are plastic and cheaply made and inevitably fall apart rather quickly. For younger children opt for wooden toys that have been quality made and fabric toys for young infants for easy-to-hold light-weight options instead of popular plastic items. As your kids get older this can be difficult when your children want what other kids have. Teach your child to look for toys made from sustainable materials like bioplastics made from corn when picking out toys.

Be mindful of toys for your kids.

When your older child wants a toy that is made of plastic talk to them about earning the toy themselves so they are more likely to want to care for the item they worked for. This can help teach your child to take better care of their toys so that they last longer as many plastic toys are not even recyclable. Looking at places like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, thrift stores, etc is great for this, too. That way your kiddo feels like they're getting what they want, while you can feel good about purchasing second hand.

Be mindful of toys for your kids.

Around holidays and birthdays allow your child to make a wish list so that if someone buys them plastics it is indeed an item they want rather than an item they are unlikely to care for and leave broken and in the trash quickly. Talk to people and make it clear that you will avoid things in plastic whenever possible. May common plastic toys like toy kitchen items can be found in wooden versions.

Change your trash bags.

Plastic trash bags make up a large amount of trash in our landfills. This is because when we have trash in our homes we contain it in plastic that will never degrade and break down. And due to the lack of airflow inside the items we place in those bags will not break down either. Instead of using traditional trash bags look for biodegradable trash bags that will break down over just a few weeks in a landfill allowing the items inside to break down easier as well and reducing the amount of plastic you and your family use on a regular basis.

Change your trash bags.

Another option that we do in our home is reusing our trash bags. Most food scraps go into the compost and liquids go down the sink. Which means that a vast majority of what goes into our trash is dry. When the trash in the kitchen is full, I dump everything into the main trashcan, sans trash bag. Et voila. Each trash bag usually gets at least a week of use, and we average 2-3 bags a month. For other trashcans around the house, we stick to using grocery bags and do the same thing with reusing them multiple times before tossing them into the trash.