Trash piles up faster than we realize. In fact, most of us don’t think twice about how much garbage accumulates while we’re pitching empty plastic water bottles, fast food bags, product packaging and more. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one person tosses out 4.4 pounds of trash every day and in 2015, 137.7 million tons of municipal solid waste was landfilled.
One easy way to help reduce the amount of daily waste being sent to landfills is to swap out disposable items with reusable ones. If you need some suggestions, using these five reusable items will help you reduce waste and up your sustainability game right now.
Most major grocery stores and many retail chains offer reusable cloth shopping bags. Using these on your next trip to the store will help reduce the waste generated from those empty plastic handle bags. Plus, the cloth bags are a little sturdier and are not as susceptible to ripping, tearing, and potentially spilling your groceries like the plastic ones do. They’re also versatile and make great craft/yarn totes, beach bags and more.
According to research gathered for the Be Straw Free Campaign, 500 million straws are being used each day (which is enough to fill 46,000 large school buses every year). A nine-year-old boy named Milo Cress founded the campaign in 2011, which is currently being supported on ecocycle.org’s website. Joining Milo’s mission to “be straw free” is simple with the many stainless, glass and reusable hard plastic straws on the market today. Reusable straws can be washed after each use and keeping clean ones in your car, backpack, or purse gives you a readily available option for drinking on-the-go.
Wax paper and plastic food wrap have been used to pack food in lunches and save leftovers in the fridge for years. However, once it’s been used, this type of wrapping must be tossed. An eco-friendly alternative is food wrap made from beeswax. The wrap, such as Jatti Wraps design, is natural, eco-friendly, and sustainable. It can be washed under cold running water with mild dish soap, rinsed, dried and reused. Furthermore, many beeswax retailers offer wrap in fun patterns, which is a nice aesthetic change from traditional clear food wrap.
Reusable drink tumblers are a great substitute for disposable plastic water bottles and paper or Styrofoam takeout beverage cups. Many popular options offer cups that keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold, such as the double wall vacuum insulated travel mug that is offered by Zero Degree. The stainless steel tumbler is easy-to-clean, fits in most cup holders, and is puncture and corrosion resistant. Plus, most tumblers like these have spill-resistant, straw friendly lids, which also make them nice and easy for kids.
All the holiday, birthday, and all-occasion paper gift wrap that is ripped through, crumpled up, and tossed away only adds to the ever-increasing waste going to landfills. A stretchy, reusable gift wrap makes a fun, eco-friendly alternative. The versatile fabric wrap comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and patterns and cinches tightly around many kinds of gifts. Along with reducing waste, you’ll also save trees by swapping paper wrap for fabric.