Forget paper or plastic. Invest in a few reusable tote bags for your grocery shopping, says Kellogg.
Many grocery stores sell tote bags, but Kellogg recommends BagPodz — reusable bags that come in one compact “pod” designed to cover a whole trip to the store, according to the company’s website.
“They have been my favorite thing because it’s just set up perfect for grocery shopping,” Kellogg says.
You can also invest in separate reusable produce bags for your fruits and vegetables, she adds, which she says can be purchased through many online retailers and in some grocery stores.
Singer, who owns Package Free Shop, a zero waste retail store in Brooklyn, says buying unpackaged foods from a farmers’ market or all-bulk grocery store (if you happen to live near one) can eliminate even more plastic.
“I always go with my reusable bag and my jars for filling things up,” she says.
Another great way to reduce waste is to always carry your own reusable water bottle. Most coffee shops will gladly fill your reusable bottle instead of a paper cup, she says.
Kellogg recommends a double-wall vacuum insulated stainless steel water bottle. These water bottles keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold, she says, while eliminating any need for plastic water bottles, paper cups, straws, and plastic lids.
Before you order takeout, call the restaurant to see if they will package your food in compostable packaging like paper or cardboard instead of plastic. Many restaurants are amiable to these kinds of requests, according to Singer.
“That’s a really great place to start,” Singer says. “Just ask if they can package it up in a way that’s totally plastic free.”
If that’s not possible, says Kellogg, ask if they will let you bring your own plastic-free containers.
Swap liquid soap for package-free soap, usually found in farmer’s markets and in some grocery stores, recommends Kellogg.
If you want to take it a step further, all-purpose household cleaning products can be easily made at home with a simple water and vinegar solution, says Kellogg, who authors the blog “Going Zero Waste.”
If you have a home with a backyard, Singer says investing in a composter to dispose your food waste can reduce the amount of plastic garbage bags you use, and is also great for gardening and landscaping.