Do you feel like you are constantly taking out the garbage? Are you filling your garbage and recycling bins faster than you can say “It’s trash pickup day!” We’ve got some easy tips to help you reduce waste, de-clutter your home, and save you a few trips to the dumpster. You’ll be so pleased as the list of things you save from the landfill grows.

At Home

  • Avoid paper plates and plastic utensils. Use diningware that can be washed and reused. Washing dishes uses less water and energy than that needed to produce, package, ship, and dispose of non-reusable utensils and plates.

  • Treat yourself to a cloth napkin. It’s cheaper to wash cloth napkins than constantly replace stacks of paper ones.

  • WATER you thinking paying so much for bottled water? Boston has award-winning tap water, so ditch the single-use bottles and #TasteTheTap.

  • Lose the tea bags. Go for loose leaf tea instead to avoid packaging that will just wind up in a landfill. NOTE: Some tea bags are compostable!

  • Buying groceries? Reusable bags are a must. Ditch the plastic bags and get some reusable, washable shopping and produce bags. Instead of buying food that comes wrapped in layers of plastic and cardboard, shop for produce and other foods items that are easily put into reusable containers or bags.

  • Constantly buying new rolls of paper towels? Switch it up by using wash cloths or rags instead. Tip: Old, worn out clothes can often be great cleaning rags.

  • Never use the phonebook anymore? Opt out of receiving your local directory online.

  • Subscribe to an online news source instead of getting the newspaper delivered to your home. Tip: Got old newspaper or old magazines? Use them for gift wrapping!

  • Try toothbrushes, razors, and cleaning brushes with replaceable heads. This cuts down on the amount of plastic that ends up in the garbage and ultimately the landfills and oceans.

  • Make your own soap! It only takes a few ingredients plus it’s cheap and helps you ditch the bottles of shampoo and body wash. Soap can also be a substitute for shaving cream.

  • Try using baking soda as an antiperspirant. Bye-bye packaging and toxic perfumes!

  • Forget about Q-tips. Many medical professionals have suggested that they aren’t good for your ears plus, free up some of that space on your bathroom shelf.

  • Gesundheit! Treat your nose to a cloth handkerchief rather than a wasteful tissue.

  • Call it quits with the air fresheners. Open a window and experience the fresh air. Or make your own natural air freshener with lemon peels or scented oils.

At Work

  • Need your caffeine in the mornings? Ditch the polystyrene (a.k.a Styrofoam). Take a reusable mug instead. Some coffee shops will even give you a discount for bringing your own container!

  • Give refillable pens and pencils a try.

  • Avoid printing when possible, and make sure to print double-sided when absolutely necessary.

  • Got a bunch of one-sided print-outs? Use the blank side of this paper for a grocery list, to do list, or even to print on again!

  • Bring your lunch. Reusable sandwich bags and containers can help avoid fast food packaging.

  • After washing your hands, use a hand towel or limit to one paper towel to dry off your hands.

In the Community

  • Planning a party? Make it Zero Waste! Use only reusable cups, plates, silverware, and cloth napkins. Or try compostable diningware. Let your guests bring home leftovers. For decor, get crafty by making your own paper decorations that can be recycled or try reusable ones.

Going out to eat? Here are a few tips to cut down on waste when eating out:

  • Bring a reusable container with you. It comes in handy for taking leftovers home and transporting snacks.
  • Always say no to polystyrene (a.k.a Styrofoam) containers. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, each year Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 polystyrene cups. Even 500 years from now, the foam coffee cup you used this morning will be sitting in a landfill.
  • Ask your favorite restaurant to go polystyrene-free so you can keep enjoying the best take out in town!
  • When ordering a drink, pass on the straws and plastic cup lids. Better yet, bring a reusable beverage container and ask your server to put your drink in it.