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16 Actually Easy Ways To Create Less Trash In 2018

Make this the year you start using less plastic.

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1. Invest in a set of bee's wax wraps and say goodbye to your addiction with plastic wrap.

Gyan Yankovich

I love my bee's wax wraps. Not only are they way less hassle than plastic wrap — which I'm somehow totally hopeless at using — they can also be washed and re-used for an entire year, meaning you're seriously cutting down on your one-use plastic consumption if you go through a lot of Saran wrap. I own a set of three (small, medium, and large) that I got from Amazon for $18. If you're feeling particularly ambitious, you can also make your own. You can see a Nifty tutorial video here.

2. When drinking, go without a straw by telling the bartender you won't be needing one when you order.

@lilyy13 / Via

While stainless steels straws are a good replacement for plastic straws, I generally find it much easier to simply go without. The hardest part of doing this is getting into the habit of mentioning that you won't be needing a straw when you order a drink. But if you really ~need~ straws in your life, over 3,600 people have reviewed this pack of four stainless steel ones — that come with a bonus cleaning brush — on Amazon that costs $8.89.

3. Order ice cream in a cone, instead of a cup, for a delicious and waste-free dessert upgrade.

@maxandminas / Via

Cones > cups, always. The cups that most ice cream is served in are coated in plastic (just like takeaway coffee cups) — meaning they're not recyclable. So, go for the cone next time you get a scoop.

4. If you get your period, consider trying a menstrual cup in place of your usual tampons or pads.

Amazon Customer / Via

A lot of people get their period, which means a lot of period products are manufactured, used, and discarded every single day. Along with washable pads and liners, menstrual cups are an environmentally-friendly period option. If you've never used one before and want some advice before you try one out, you can find 37 very helpful tips from people who use them right here. As for the cup itself, you can get one with more than 5,700 reviews and a 4.4-star rating from Amazon for $12.95+ (available in two sizes).

5. See if there's a grocery store close to your home that sells food in bulk, without packaging.

@xmarycherryx / Via

Most of the plastic waste I encounter is from food packaging. While I can't eliminate it completely, I did some research and found there was a grocer quite close to my house that sells rice, lentils, grains, and a few other items without packaging. You take your own jar, cloth bag, or paper bag, and fill 'em up with whatever you need.

6. Start using soap (with minimal packaging) instead of body wash.

@lushcosmetics / Via

I used to be extremely pro–body wash and anti-soap. I think this stance stemmed from the harsh, drying soap I used as a kid, but let me tell you: Soap has come a long way! It also generally comes with a whole lot less packaging than body wash. My favorite soap is Dr. Bronner's eucalyptus soap, because it's packaged in paper and reminds me of the Australian bush. Lush has also recently released a range of naked shower gels, which are basically soaps in the shape of their traditional shower gel bottles.

Also worth nothing in the realm of bath products is New Zealand brand Ethique, particularly their moisturizing butter block, which is honestly just as good as any lotion I've tried and comes in eco-friendly packaging.

7. When having food delivered, add a note that you won't be needing any plastic cutlery.

@allinasia / Via

We all have that drawer full of plastic knives and forks we never needed, but will eventually just throw out.

8. Finally kick that plastic water bottle habit, and find a reusable bottle that you love using.

Gyan Yankovich

In 2016, more than 480 billion plastic water bottles were sold worldwide. Beyond the fact that plastic bottles use water and oil (AKA two resources we should absolutely not be wasting) to create, because there are so many bottles being used and discarded, it's almost impossible to recycle them all — most ending up in the ocean or landfill. According to new research, by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic than fish.

The best way to fight this war on plastic — if you live somewhere where tap water is safe to drink — is to choose not to buy bottled water. I got a Swell bottle (above) for my birthday two years ago and since then have bought considerably less plastic bottles. You can buy Swell bottles like mine from Amazon for $42.75 or get the knockoff version for $14.99 (available in 36 colors and four sizes) or from Jet for $19.99.

9. Get yourself a reusable coffee cup and — most important — get in the habit of using it every day.

@foolishgal / Via

It's one thing to own a reusable coffee cup, but it's another thing to actually use it and work up the courage to request that your barista uses it instead of a disposable coffee cup. KeepCup is an Australian brand that's available worldwide and have sold over three million cups. Get one from Amazon for $33.70.

10. Start composing your food waste either in your own backyard or through a neighborhood compost collection service.

Tom Vellner

I always thought of composting as something I'd do when I'm a 60-year-old hippy with a worm farm, living off-the-grid in the mountains somewhere. But, nope. Right now, I live in NYC and once a week drop my compost (food scraps, egg shells, and coffee grounds mainly) to a local drop-off point where it's used in a neighborhood community garden. A quick Google search should provide details about any compost drop-off points near you, and my lovely colleague Tom wrote about the adorable compost bin we both own here and has tips for getting started here.

11. Wash, de-label, and repurpose jars.

@deliciousmostlynutritious / Via

I am already judging myself for saying this but *sigh* the other day I washed out a glass kombucha bottle (I am a parody of myself, I know) and am now using it as a lovely vase in my living room! Jars are also great for bringing salads to work, storing nuts, and yep, makeshift vases.

12. Make a conscious effort to buy less clothing.

@zerowastememes / Via

A fact for you: More than 6% of New York's garbage is clothing. It's one thing to properly donate the clothing you don't need any more, but it's even better to try and buy less, so you have less to dispose of in the future.

13. Choose the products that have the least packaging on the supermarket shelves.

@bryandeba / Via

Fruit, especially that which grows in its own natural protective packaging, just doesn't need to be wrapped in plastic. If you're looking for a replacement for the plastic produce bags, this set of nine reusable bags from Amazon is $14.97.

14. Have your clothes and shoes repaired — or repair yourself, if you have the skills — rather than replacing them.

@masonandsmith / Via

I go through a lot of shoes, thanks to the fact I walk to and from work every day. I always saw shoe repairs as something too expensive and annoying to deal with, so would just replace, replace, replace. But then, I found myself with a lovely pair of boots that's upper was still in perfect condition, while the heels were worn down into a slope. I complained to my mom, then took her advice to have them resoled. It cost wayyyy less than a new pair of boots and I got way more wear out of them.

15. Avoid using coffee pods, or at least make the effort to recycle them if you do.

@mich_dob / Via

It takes between 150 and 500 years for a single coffee pod to break down in landfill. And while these pods can be recycled, most offices and homes just, well, don't do it. If you own a Keurig, you can get set of four reusable pods from Amazon for $9.95.

16. And always say "no" to a plastic bag when you can manage without one.

@zerowastememes / Via

Get back to environmentally-friendly basics and just carry your shit when you can.

Dump Week is a series of posts that will help you take out the trash in every aspect of your life, making room for all the good stuff you deserve. See more posts here.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed