9 Small Changes You Can Make to Reduce Waste in 2020

Make your sustainability resolutions last.

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January 15, 2020
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Photo by: Artit_Wongpradu

Artit_Wongpradu

Ever since Starbucks announced that it would halt the use of single-use straws by 2020, being more sustainable has been on the top of our minds. And guess what, y’all? It’s 2020. There’s no better time than now for us, along with Starbucks, to start making more eco-friendly choices. And while foregoing a straw in your Frapp won’t save the Earth immediately, adding even one of these small resolutions to your list can make a difference.

Pass on the Single-Use Lid

You don’t have to stop at the single-use straw when it comes to your morning cup of joe. Unless you absolutely need to cover your drink, from cold brew to fountain soda, forget the lid – especially if you’re just moving it 15 feet from the cash register to a table.

Bring Reusable Utensils on the Go

Whether you keep a set at the office, or take a sleek pack wherever you go, avoid single-use, plastic utensils when you can. The Porter Utensil Set from w&p comes in a silicone carrying case to keep your bag just as clean as before you started your meal. But remember! Carrying a spoon around means nothing if you forget to let your cashier or delivery person know you won’t be needing any utensils.

Replace Paper with Cloth

It may seem like something only fancy restaurants or real-life adults do, but investing in a set of cloth dinner napkins will help the planet and your wallet in the long-run. If you’re worried about mixing food-stained napkins with delicate clothing, we recommend keeping a separate basket or hamper just for these. The same goes for paper towels; use a cloth hand towel, like in the kitchen or bathroom, when possible.

Bring Reusable Totes (and Produce Bags) to the Grocery Store

We’ve known for ages that we should all be bringing reusable totes in place of plastic shopping bags. But what about all the ones we use for produce? Pack a set of reusable ones in your tote before the next grocery run.

Get 👏 A 👏 Stasher 👏 Bag 👏

While you’re adding reusable bags to your cart, get a Stasher Bag, too. I’ll forever be the unofficial brand ambassador for these reusable silicone bags. Not only can they replace single-use, plastic zip top bags, but they can also be microwaved, boiled, frozen and cooked in the oven. And they come in tons of cute colors and sizes.

Consider Buying a SodaStream

If you’re as addicted to seltzer as the rest of us, consider investing in an at-home carbonation system. It might seem like a lot of cash to drop on sparkling water, but it’ll pay off over time (especially with this hack) and reduce plastic bottle and aluminum can waste.

Swap Disposable Vessels for Ones You Can Refill

Now that you’ve gotten the hang of cleaning your reusable water bottle the right way, it’s time to think about plastics you might not be throwing away every day – but are throwing away nonetheless. Replace single-use cleaning spray bottles with Blueland products – sturdy, reusable bottles that come with tablet-based cleaning fluids. Or replace single-use laundry detergent bottles with Grove Collaborative’s laundry system, which includes a refillable "Auto-Dosing" dispenser that prevents using more detergent per load than necessary. Or the simplest thing to do? Just invest in a reusable hand soap dispenser and start buying your soap by the big bottle.

Buy Your Staples in Bulk

Whether it’s oatmeal for breakfast, or almonds for snack time, buy your go-to foods in bulk. You’re better off throwing away one large bag than popping open 30 personal bags of Doritos a month. Or better yet, if your grocery store offers dry ingredients – like oats or nuts – in bulk bins, shovel those into just a single layer of packaging, instead of the additional layers some name brands ship food in (i.e. a box and inner bag).

Don’t Be Afraid of Composting

This may seem like a lot more than a "small" change, but composting is easier than you think. All it takes is a composting bin, biodegradable bags and knowing what to and not to throw in there. In a few weeks’ time, your food scraps will become usable soil. But if you don’t have an outdoor space or garden for your cultivation, visit compostnow.org to find local services that can pick up your compost. Yes, seriously. Someone will come to your home to pick up your now very useful garbage. And if you don’t have a service near you, reach out to local community centers, schools or farms who might be looking for donations. That garbage is gold!

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