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Trash-Free Waters

Ten Ways to Unpackage Your Life

Bring Your Own Bag

Say no to single use paper and plastic bags and bring your own high quality reusable bag. Whether you’re picking up groceries, getting takeout food or clothes shopping, use your own bag. Each reusable bag can eliminate hundreds (if not thousands) of single-use plastic or paper bags!

Carry a Reusable Water Bottle

Carrying your own bottle cuts waste and can save you money.

Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

Do away with throw-away lunch packaging. Each child who brings a brown bag lunch to school every day generates 67 pounds of waste each year.

Bring Your Own Cup

The average American once used 500 paper cups a year. Replacing your single-use paper, plastic or Styrofoam cups with a reusable cup or mug can have a huge impact. Try keeping a cup in your bag, at the office, or in your car so you always have one around. Most coffee shops offer a discount for bringing your own cup!

Slow Down and Dine In

A big reason we have a food packaging problem to begin with is because people want to eat on the go – whether it's a drive-through or grab-n-go. Take a breath, slow down and dine in. Get your coffee “for here” or enjoy a home-cooked meal with friends and family and say goodbye to single-use packaging.

Consider Reusable Straws

Plastic straws are consistently one of the most littered plastic items, which means they end up in our waterways and are harmful to fish and wildlife. If you need a straw, consider using a reusable straw.

Avoid Heavily Packaged Foods

Heavily packaged foods are bad for the environment and they’re usually unhealthy for you too. Buy foods that aren’t heavily packaged, like fresh produce and bulk items.

Bring Your Own Container and Utensils

Need to grab lunch on the go? Bring your own container and utensils to cut down on “the other leftovers” from your take out meal. You can also bring your own container for leftovers when you eat at a restaurant - no more single-use "doggie bags"!

Use No Bag or a Fabric Bag to Carry Produce and Other Grocery Items

You’ve worked so hard to bring reusable bags to the store, why fill them up with plastic produce bags? Bring your own fabric bags for produce and bulk items. Many companies make reusable produce bags from hemp, organic cotton and even recycled plastic.


Let your friends and family know what you’re doing and help them get involved. Write letters to companies that over-package and tell them you’re concerned about this issue. You’ll be surprised how powerful leading by example can be!