Easy Ways to Reduce Your Waste

There are so many issues and causes that need supported in our world today.  Among the most important is the way we are treating the planet and what can be done to help.  Honestly, it used to – and still can – be so overwhelming, and I would feel helpless. The solution is to not let that paralyze you, but instead use it as a motivator to make a difference.  Don’t think you, just one person, can do that? You’ve got it all wrong, friend! It starts with you.  

*This article was originally published in March 2018 and was updated April 2019.*

Why It’s Important

It only makes sense that our planet is in trouble – we produce more waste, have a higher population, and depend more on fossil fuels than any other time in human history (to name a few things).  It’s very important to understand this is the only home we have. Mother Earth is the only thing that binds us all, each and every person. The one thing that we can all ban together on. So let’s put our differences aside and do our part to take care of her!  

*This post is not intended to guilt by any means.  I simply invite you to be conscious of how your actions affect the world around you!*

How to Get Started

The first thing you can do is not put immense pressure on yourself.  If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know very well by now that sustainable change does not happen overnight.  It’s about making realistic adjustments to your habits as you grow and learn. All the tips I am suggesting below have been cultivated over the last several years. With that in mind, start in areas that speak the most to you.

On the Go


Please, please stop using straws if you can at all avoid them.  They don’t serve a real purpose, are typically not recyclable, and actually cause bloating!  If you need extra motivation to stop, feel free to watch this video which shows how negative our actions impact the world.  Be warned, it is heartbreaking!

Next, get yourself some travel drinkware.  A water bottle and travel mug is all you need!

Food Storage

For lunches, snacks, and leftovers, I use reusable storage, like our Pyrex containers and Stasher bags. Try to eliminate plastic baggies (or wash/reuse remaining ones you have).

At the Grocery

Reusable Bags

Reusable grocery bags are a really important area to start because they are not easily recycled.  The hard part, though? Remembering to use them! We’ve left them on the counter too many times to count but have solved that issue simply by leaving them in the car.  Every time we unload the groceries, back in the car the bags go! You can also hang them on the handle to the door out of your house to remember to pack them away next time you leave.  

Produce Bags

An unexpected area to reduce waste while shopping: produce bags.  We love our reusable produce bags. The bags we got are as lightweight as the plastic ones in the store, so you aren’t paying for the weight of the bag.  The mesh is tight-knit, which is both breathable and strong but also doesn’t leak any contents. They work well with misted vegetables, heavy fruits, and bulk nuts/grains!

Food Packaging

Lastly, think about the packaging your food comes in.  Try to eliminate the number of individually wrapped items (like granola bars, snack-pack items).  This will not only reduce waste but also limit the amount of processed food in your diet! Opt for snacks that can be packaged in reusable containers like nuts or fresh fruit and veggies.  Better for our world but also so much better for you!

Around the House


We have more recycling than trash on any given week (which is still minimal since we have reduced our waste so much!).  The township we live in offers curbside recycling, which is a huge perk! If where you live doesn’t offer to pick up recycling, they often have designated areas you can drop off.  

Food Storage

In addition to Pyrex, we use food huggers for fruits, vegetables, even cans!  We also love avocado huggers, which are perfect for storing and preserving avocados.


Reduce the amount of paper towels you go through as you’re cleaning and use washcloths or rags instead.  You can buy a 24 pack of washcloths for less than what you’d spend on a pack of paper towels. 


If you follow me on insta, you probably have seen my rave reviews on the Diva Cup, a menstrual cup which replaces tampons and pads – terrible for you and the environment!  I also love Lush’s zero-waste products, especially their shampoo bars, and have also been using Dr Bronner’s bar soaps which are kind to my very sensitive skin.

LUSH shampoo bar – Soak and Float & body wash – Here Comes the Sun. Zero-free packaging!


Ditch the meat

Or at least decrease it.  Or at the very least reduce red meat!  The meat industry, specifically beef, is responsible for 20-25% of all our national emissions.  There is a lot to consider: the land required, water needed (It takes 2,400 gallons to produce ONE pound of meat!), gas produced by the animals’ waste, transportation just to name a few.  There are many amazing meat alternatives, such as Beyond Meat Burgers – so yummy!! You can also check out my tips on how I cut meat out, and we have some recipes to share in the works soon!


When we were getting my old home ready to sell in 2018, James and I took a trip to our local transfer station to dispose of some items that were not able to be donated.  We drove our rented truck into the heart of the waste land, and it was horrific.  Piles of trash over fifteen feet tall.  That kind of image is not something you can easily forget.  We are not minimalists by any means, but we’re getting there.  Our shopping habits transformed a lot.  We’ve donated or repurposed a lot of items we don’t truly need and are particular in what we bring into the home.  Do we really need this item?  How will we use it? How much will it be used?  For my next post, I am working on sharing some tips for a capsule wardrobe and more ways to minimize around the home, so stay tuned! 🙂

Remember, no one is perfect, but we can’t sit by and watch.

You must be patient with yourself when making any sustainable change, but we must take action and make changes.  I want my kids and future generations to be able to enjoy the same world we do today.  I’m sure you do too.  We can’t wait for anyone else to save the world.  It starts with me, it starts with you.  Every little change helps.  If you have any tried and true tricks, I’d love to hear them!


  • Catherine

    March 16, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Avocado huggers!? Mind. Blown. Also, I never even thought about the produce bags at the store, I don’t think many people do! All the hype is around the actual grocery bags themselves. Leave it to you to do the research and find an eco-friendly alternative! Great post, I now have my eye on a couple Amazon purchases! 😁

    • alexa.rahe

      March 17, 2018 at 11:11 pm

      Yes!! So many unexpected areas plastic and waste sneak up on you! You’ll have to let me know if you try any of these out!! <3

  • KC

    March 24, 2018 at 12:03 am

    The Stasher bags are a great idea! I’ve been wanting a freezer bag alternative because I like to cook in bulk and freeze things for future meals so these are going on my wish list. So are the food huggers! I usually use a glass container, but I don’t have many small ones so this looks like a perfect solution. It’s nice to hear someone else also has more recycling than garbage every week, but I’m always looking for ways to reduce.

    • alexa.rahe

      April 8, 2018 at 11:22 pm

      Wonderful!! You can’t go wrong with the food huggers, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the stasher bags. Let me know how you like them!

  • John

    February 8, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    When buying produce I don’t even put it in any bags at all unless I’m buying multiple loose items like lemons. After all I will be washing my lettuce, carrots etc anyway so I don’t bother using those plastic produce bags most of the time.

    Dr. Bronners is the bomb! If I had to choose only one product for using around the house that would be the one. Shampoo, body soap, cleaning soap, dish soap, laundry soap etc. it just doesn’t do windows very well and that where good old white vinegar comes in.

    Thanks again for the post and helping open eyes to more sustainable and less expensive choices people can make.

    • Alexa

      February 16, 2020 at 6:28 pm

      Yes, great call out! We often forgo bags for produce items as well in the cases you mentioned (especially if we run out of our reusables or forget them). Dr Bronners is so versatile!! Definitely a top in our house, too! 🙂


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