1. I stopped using plastic water bottles. Blyjak / Getty Images Once I learned that over 50 billion water bottles are bought each year, I knew that I had to stop buying bottled water. I use a Swell water bottle at the office and use this compact Healthy Human water bottle on the go. 2. I started buying from the bulk bins. Hispanolistic / Getty Images You know, the area of your local health food store with all the nuts, seeds, and other goodies inside? This is a much more sustainable option for buying items as it doesn't require plastic packaging or shipping. 3. I stopped using plastic bags for food storage and started using all of my mason jars instead. Westend61 / Getty Images You can definitely splurge for some fancy glass or metal tupperware substitutes to bring your lunch in or use to store food, but you can also just use the mason jars and other empty glass jars you have lying around. On any given day you can open up my fridge to see a soup, cooked quinoa, and some home-brewed ice tea in mason jars, among other things (usually leftovers).If mason jars aren't your thing, you can try some glass storage, metal tins, or reusable silicone bags to store your goods. 4. I always keep a reusable bag with me so I'll always have a bag when shopping. Mcininch / Getty Images Walking around New York City, you never know when the opportunity for a great deal might strike. Instead of specifically bringing reusable bags with me when I know I'm going shopping, I keep a reusable bag that folds up really small in my backpack at all times — just in case!Don't feel like bringing a bag with you? Well, I wonder how your conscious would feel after learning that we use an estimated 4 trillion plastic bags each year throughout the world... 5. I stopped using paper cups for tea and coffee. Joco Cups / Via jococups.com I tend to brew my own hot beverages at home and at work — I always keep my reusable cup on my desk — but I rarely go to a coffee shop to buy it. If you do buy coffee a lot, you can ask your barista to make your beverage in the reusable cup you bring and 99% of the time they'll be cool with it.Get a cup from Joco Cups for $18+ (available in five sizes and four colors). 6. I invested in a good loose-leaf tea steeper. Atu Images / Getty Images I became a "tea person" when I quit drinking caffeine years ago. I quickly then became an "herb person" once I realized that the pre-packaged bags of tea I was buying were actually something that I could easily make myself. At this point I have lots of herbs all over my kitchen (yes, stored in mason jars) that I blend together in a metal steeper. It's fun, it's sustainable, and you can mix your blend of tea together so that it's exactly how you want it. I really can't recommend trying this enough! 7. I invested in a set of stainless steel containers to bring my snacks on the go. U Konserve / Via ukonserve.com I bought the above trio of nesting containers and find that they're easy to store AND super helpful. I will often take some nuts and seeds from the bulk bins and bring them in my backpack in one of these. 8. I bring reusable produce bags to the grocery store. Lotus Bags / Via amazon.com I happen to buy a lot of fresh produce and realized one day that those small plastic bags you use to gather your fruits, herbs, and veggies are pretty much pointless. You could go completely bagless if that's your vibe, or you could buy a few reusable bags to keep your produce organized. Personally, I don't mind not using a bag if I'm grabbing, say, two cucumbers but if it's a whole bag of brussels sprouts or tomatoes... I need the bag. 9. I'm more intentional with the brands I spend my money on. Thomas Barwick / Getty Images Not only am I showing up to your store with my reusable bag, but these days I'm *only* showing up to your store to buy things if I can get behind the brand. Am I shopping locally or from a major retailer? Are they using sustainable alternative fabrics in their clothing? Is their brand sustainable or is it contributing to the pollution of the earth? What are their practices/conditions for their workers? If it's an online order, how do they ship their products? Do they use excess packaging? Is this something I could buy secondhand? Do I even need this at all? These are all things I heavily consider before I drop any of my hard-earned cash, and recommend that you think about them, too! 10. I started using toilet paper made from bamboo, a sustainable alternative to trees. hellotushy.com I love nature and it felt disrespectful, honestly, to use paper made from trees to literally wipe my butt with. So, I logged onto the internet and was delighted to find that there are lots of alternatives floating around the internet, many made with bamboo. If you're wondering why bamboo is such a great replacement for trees in this instance, it's because bamboo is easy and quick to grow, basically like a weed.If you're into this idea, might I suggest going for bamboo paper towels, bamboo tissues, and bamboo, um, everything? 11. I use bars of soap in the shower. Jiunnlin Chen / Getty Images You can cut down on your plastic use by using bars of soap, shampoo, and conditioner. 12. I exclusively use LED and CFL lights. Douglas Sacha / Getty Images Incandescent lights are just not very practical. Almost 90% of the energy generated in these bulbs is heat (not light!) and they need to be changed at a much more rapid pace than their sustainable alternatives. 13. When my old razor died, I bought a new razor made from recycled ocean plastic. Preserve / Via amazon.com I knew it was time to invest in a new razor when the heads kept falling off of my old one mid-shave, so it did some research to find the most sustainable option. At the time I came across the line of Preserve razors, which has a line made from ocean plastic and another line made from recycled yogurt cups. 14. I replaced my hair ties with biodegradable ones that are made without plastic. Terra Ties / Via amazon.com This mane of mine is always going to need some way to contain it and anyone who uses hair ties knows that they tend to disappear. So, what's a sustainable-minded person to do? I started buying Terra Ties instead, which look, feel, and tie exactly like the other hair ties I've used all my life. 15. I don't ask for straws and only use reusable straws. Jennifer A Smith / Getty Images Luckily, the campaign against plastic straws has taken the world by storm and reusable options made from metal, paper, and even pasta are readily available. The other option, of course, is to deny the straw entirely — but I'll leave that choice up to you! 16. I make my own sprays, deodorants, and other beauty products in reusable glass containers. aaron007 / Getty Images Not only does this keep you from buying products that use plastic over and over again, but it's super cheap! You can easily google recipes to learn how to make this stuff for yourself. 17. I became a stickler for recycling. Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd / Getty Images First of all, I need to address the fact that our recycling system in America is failing us and a huge percentage of items sent in for recycling are actually sent to a landfill because they can't actually be recycled. With that in mind, I try to bring home items that are easily repurposed, made from recycled ingredients, or that I know actually can be recycled.When I'm considering making a purchase, I look beyond the ingredients list to the actual product itself. Is it plastic? Cool, then I probably won't buy it. Is it glass? Great, then I'll buy it and use this former container of pickles as a new vase. Is it made with recycled ingredients? Then I'll buy it and give the product a gold star and a hug (JK). You'll be shocked at how many products you're already using that can double as glasses, mason jars, and storage containers! 18. I started using a menstrual cup. Bsip / Universal Images Group via Getty There's something so wasteful about using wads of cotton to soak up your menstrual flow, so I had to check out other options. I've been using the Lena cup for over two years, and I can't imagine looking back! 19. I went vegan. Maximilian Stock Ltd. / Getty Images Yeah, I went there. (And going vegan is much easier than you'd expect.) But even if you don't want to go plant-based, it's worth mentioning that any amount of reduction in meat consumption is the single biggest thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and stop contributing greenhouse gas to our atmosphere. And you don't have to go full vegan to make an impact — participating in Meatless Mondays or reducing your intake of meat whenever possible really goes a long way. What sustainable tips do you have to share? Tell us in the comments!