Climate Action

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Own Waste

By Austin Downs Ready to help us in our global campaign to end plastic pollution?


How much single-use plastic do you use? Single-use paper products? Start by reducing your own waste. For plastic waste, you can start by using our plastic calculator to track how much you use — then you can take steps to reduce your use and waste.


Bring your own reusable shopping and produce bags to markets, and avoid using single-use plastic or paper bags. Bring your own reusable coffee cup when going out to get beverages. Like sipping through straws? Get a reusable stainless steel, glass, or bamboo one to use instead of wasteful plastic ones. Instead of buying water in plastic bottles, invest in a water filter and reusable water bottle(s). Bonus: it’s cheaper in the long run. Make your own reusable cloth bags from old t-shirts, using basic sewing skills (or no sewing at all). Find simple instructions online. Choose clothing and other personal items made from earth-friendly materials instead of microfibers and other synthetic fibers, which pollute our water. (Even more ways to green your style.) Bring a reusable container to a restaurant with you when you expect to have leftovers.


You probably don’t really need those single-use products. It’s as simple as adding, “No straw, please” when requesting beverages at restaurants or cafes. Refuse beverage tops. (Are you really going to spill?)


Pick up trash in your neighborhood and when visiting parks and beaches. Participate in the Earth Day 2019 Clean Up!


Be a good citizen and follow local recycling laws. Is your plastic waste going to landfills? Recycle the plastics you use and no longer need or find additional uses for containers. Return single-use bags to grocery stores for them to recycle. Donate unwanted items of clothing instead of throwing them away.


Does your city or state have bans on single-use plastics? Send a letter or call your local elected leaders, urging them to ban plastic bags and other single-use plastic items. Share our Plastic Toolkit and Primer and plastic calculator with your friends. Vote for candidates committed to protecting and improving our environment.