Zero Waste icon Recycle symbol with Sustainable Saratoga leaf


The average American produces a lot of waste every day. Recycling is great for things we have to use, but it is even better to prevent waste in the first place by reducing what we buy! Here are some tips to make less waste.

The NYSDEC has some great ideas for reducing waste, which they call PREcycling

Reduce when Shopping:

  • Look for items without packaging – shop the bulk section, the produce aisle
  • Bring your own reusable produce and bulk food bags to the store
  • Bring your own shopping bags to every store you go to – not just the grocery store, but also to clothing stores, convenience stores, even home improvement stores.
  • For packaged items:
    • Look for concentrates
    • Buy bigger sizes
    • Look for reusable and refillable packaging
    • Buy refillable milk and soda containers

Reduce at home:

  • Use cloth towels and napkins instead of paper ones
  • Switch to a reusable razor
  • Use washable plates instead of disposable
  • Switch to rechargeable batteries
  • Donate items that you no longer need to charities
  • Think before you print and use both sides of the paper
  • Get off unwanted mailing lists

Reduce on the go:

  • Take a travel mug or water bottle
  • Keep cloth shopping bags in your vehicle
  • Use reusable leftover food containers, silverware, straws, etc when you go out to eat (keep a set in your car)
  • Take reusable dinner items to picnics and other gatherings

Reduce with kids:

  • Purchase reusable food pouches and containers
  • Make your own baby food and store it in reusable baby food jars
  • Replace juice boxes and bottled water with a reusable bottle
  • Use an insulated lunch box instead of a disposable bag
  • Consider cloth diapers – designs have improved a lot over the years. Learn more here.
  • Consider bamboo diapers, which are biodegradable!
Reduce waste: Bring Your Own Bag
Reduce: man in suit made of 500 plastic bags