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Looking for ways to reduce the amount of garbage that you throw out each week? There’s a lot of our waste that’s ultimately unnecessary when we start to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Here are some clever ways that you reduce the amount of trash that you use.

1: Minimize Bottles and Cartons

So much of what ends up in our trash can is from the things we drink. Bottles from water and soda, cartons from milk and juice, and even paper or foam cups can all crowd our trash can.

What can you do to reduce the amount of waste produced by your beverages? Well, first of all, you can install a filter in your kitchen and start trying to drink more tap water. Plastic water bottles are harming the ocean’s ecosystem, and it’s a relatively easy switch to make. Additionally, drinking water instead of sugary drinks will help your whole family be healthier. If you demand some flavoring in your drink, look into drinks that you can mix yourself in a pitcher, or little drops that infuse the water with flavor and electrolytes.

2: Cancel Paper Subscriptions, Opt Online

How often do you grab the day’s mail, sort through checking for important bills or cards, and then just dump the bulk of it in the trash? Even if the mail is something that we’ve opted-in for, like bank statements, or magazines, there are more eco-friendly ways to get the same information. Wherever possible, change your notifications and subscriptions to email. Then, start going through all the ads and mailers that you get and call them to see if you can be removed from the mailing list, or switched to digital.

3: Cook from Scratch

Not only is processed food flavored with excess sugar and salt, not to mention more expensive in general… it’s also wrapped in layers and layers of soon-to-be trash. When you shop more often in the produce section, you’ll find that your garbage can fills up a lot slower. Instead of getting dinner from the frozen foods section, or pre-mixed and prepared boxes, break out the spice rack and get to know the butcher at your grocery store.

4: Bring Your Own Bags

Of course, if you’re getting a lot of produce from the grocery store every time you visit, you might start noticing that you have an excess of those little plastic bags, in addition to your regular grocery bags. Get in the habit of bringing your own bag to the grocery store. Much of the time, you’ll even get a discount at the register for this eco-friendly habit. Get mesh produce bags that you can use over and over again.