Choose reusable bags!
If you use just one reusable bag on your next trip to the store, you can generally save two to three plastic bags! Place a reminder at eye level on your door at home so you don’t forget them next time you head to the store. The thin plastic bags you normally get from grocery or retail stores are not recyclable and can only be reused once or twice, so the less we use, the more we help the environment!
When going on a walk, pick up trash along the way!
If you have a huge stash of plastic bags or are unable to change to reusable bags, don’t throw your bags away. Put them to good use! When walking around your neighborhood, bring a plastic bag and pick up any trash you see. You can even organize cleanup days with your neighbors and make a party out of it! Don’t forget your gloves!
Refuse straws or purchase reusable ones!
When going out to eat, tell the waiter that you do not want any straws on your table or in your drink. Once the straw is there, they aren’t able to give it to others even if you don’t use it. In America alone, around 500 million straws are used daily! If all people who are able to refuse straws or purchase reusable ones do so, this number could greatly decrease.
Bring your own containers when you go out to eat or get coffee.
When eating out, try bringing your own containers instead of taking a plastic or styrofoam to-go container for your leftovers! Some coffee shops even offer discounts to customers who bring their own cups. This will reduce your waste and help your favorite restaurants and coffee shops go a little bit greener!
Stay away from individually packaged food or drinks.
While items like individual soda bottles, packaged salads, or fun-size candies are convenient, they are bad for the environment. Individually packaged items come with way more plastic and packaging than bulk items. Instead, purchase your favorite foods or drinks in their larger selections and store what you can in reusable containers. If you do want to buy individually packaged items, try ones that come in reusable containers like bottles or jars.
- When ordering take out, be sure to tell the restaurant workers that you do not want any plastic silverware! You can use the metal ones you have at home. Another alternative is to make a little carrying case for your reusable utensils to bring to work or wherever else you might be eating.
- Talk to smaller restaurants and coffee shops about their plastic usage. Some restaurants give out new straws with every drink, and coffee shops go through many plastic lids and cups per day. Encourage the managers and owners of these restaurants to only give out straws upon request, and see if your local coffee place will implement a small discount for customers who bring their own reusable cups. You can also encourage local places to use recycled or paper products instead of plastic alternatives!
- Use alternate forms of transit! If you are lucky enough to live close to work, try walking or biking instead of driving. If you live farther away, try carpooling or taking public transportation. Some cities, like Atlanta, Georgia, even have carpool programs and offer rewards for using alternate forms of transit!
- Buy a reusable water bottle and coffee cup instead of using plastic bottles!
- If you do have a lot of plastic grocery bags around, make sure and reuse them as bin liners for small trash cans, or cut them into strips and crochet or weave them together to make a mat! (link tutorial)
- Bring lunch to work instead of buying it! There are plenty of cute reusable food containers and creative lunch recipes floating around the internet to help get you started!