Reduce Your Waste-line

There are many simple, yet very effective ways to cut down on the amount of plastic and packaging that we purchase or use on a regular basis. Try to start slow, tackling only a few things at a time. If you need some ideas on where to start, check out the following tips.

Around the house

  • Try using bar soap/shampoo in the shower instead of shampoo or body wash that comes in a plastic container.
  • Try beeswax wraps and washable, reusable fabric bags as an alternative to plastic cling wrap and food bags.
  • Send your family members to work or school with reusable lunch bags instead of plastic or paper bags.
  • Buy in bulk to reduce packaging. For example, products like yogurt and applesauce can be purchased in large containers rather than individual serving sizes.

Shop like a pro

  • Carry reusable shopping bags at the mall and while running errands. They can be used for all kinds of purchases, not just groceries.
  • Shop at your local thrift store for new-to-you items. Remember to pay it forward by donating gently-used clothing and household items when you’re done with them.
  • Use mesh produce bags made of natural fibres or recycled material instead of the plastic ones in the grocery store.
  • Instead of replacing last year’s clothes, consider having them mended or repaired. Get to know a local seamstress or shoe repair shop and have your items mended or repaired before you replace them.

Having a barbecue or preparing a holiday meal

  • Use reusable dishware when possible, or ensure disposable dishware has a certified compostable label and goes in your green organics cart.
  • Shop for locally sourced produce and turkeys. Limiting the transportation requirements of your food reduces the impact your food has on the environment.
  • Plan your meal well in advance and purchase only what you need to avoid food waste, including food that goes bad or doesn’t get eaten before it spoils.
  • When dinner is over, all food scraps, peelings, leftovers on plates and paper napkins belong in the green organics cart.

Buying gifts

  • Consumables (i.e., candy, coffee beans and candles) are great gifts for someone who has everything. Avoid items that will often end up as clutter and may be thrown out. Buying items that can be consumed will result in less waste and may support local businesses.
  • Set your family and friends up with a zero-waste gift set, including reusable produce bags and sealable bags, beeswax wraps, a water bottle or thermos, shampoo/conditioner bars, bar hand soap, reusable cotton pads and containers.
  • Buy a set up reusable wrapping paper or use newsprint instead. Keep and reuse gift bags from year-to-year. If you must use wrapping paper, look for paper that isn’t waxy with sparkles or foil so it can eventually be recycled.
  • Holiday items are often packaged with both cardboard and plastic materials. Sort with success by putting cardboard in the recycling and soft plastics in the trash. When giving gifts, look for items with less packaging all together.