how to reduce plastic waste at home

Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Use at Home

It’s hard to avoid, but learning how to reduce plastic use at home benefits landfills and waterways. Discover 18 simple methods for reducing plastic use!

Written by Tenley Haraldson. Reviewed by cleaning expert Sean Busch.

According to the UN, the amount of plastic we churn out each year weighs about 300 million tons. That’s about as much as every person combined!

While you might not plant a tree every Earth Day, learning how to reduce plastic use at home can really help minimize the waste that ends up in landfills and oceans.

So here are 18 ways to reduce and avoid plastic – and live more sustainably!

1. Choose Eco-Friendly Refill Packs

How to reduce plastic waste at home

When you’re regularly buying disposable bottles of soap, shampoo, and cleaning products, you’re inevitably adding more plastic to the trash heap.

We always encourage our customers to refill their original bottles (or their own soap dispensers) with our bulk-size, BPA-free refill pouches. Your favorite Puracy products use 90% less plastic than regular bottles – and their purchases have helped prevent more than 5 million bottles from entering the environment.

2. Keep Household Cleaners in Glass Bottles

avoid plastic bottles

When you move away from single-use plastic spray bottles, you’ll dramatically reduce plastic waste, cut down on packaging, and save money.

Whether you fill them with cleaning or personal care products, our eco-friendly glass bottles have been tested for hundreds of uses.

3. Reduce Plastic Bottles by Buying Reusable Ones

how to reduce plastic bottles

A million water bottles are purchased every minute, and it’s clearly contributing to the plastic problem. Get everyone in your family their own reusable water bottle. We highly recommend getting them personalized/etched with their names (which is far more durable than stickers).

Pro Tip: Yeti drinkware is resilient and can keep beverages hot or ice-cold for hours.

4. Bring Your Own Bag During Grocery Runs

how to stop using plastic

Paper or plastic? How about reusable tote bags to carry groceries? They’re stronger, washable and – if you’re handy with a sewing machine – you can even make your own.

5. Stop Using Plastic Straws

how to reduce plastic use

Plastic straws are everywhere. One of the easiest ways to reduce plastic use is by saying “no” to these single-use, non-recyclable options. If kids love using straws at home (or need to use one because of a health condition), biodegradable paper and reusable metal options are also available.

6. Pack Lunches with Reusable Containers

home plastic

Most lunch boxes – and all those sandwich bags – are made from some type of plastic. Pack a smarter lunch with “tiffin” metal lunch boxes and reusable containers (like glass Pyrex or food-grade silicone Stasher Bags).

7. Cut Down on Plastic During Diaper Duty

eco friendly diapers

Babies use more than 2,000 disposable diapers before their first birthday. That’s one gross pile of dirty diapers. Baby wipes add to the landfill pile (as do their plastic containers).

Whenever possible, try to use cloth diapers and buy biodegradable diaper wipes.

8. Reduce Plastic with Eco-Friendly Menstrual Products

how to stop using plastic

Back in 2015, 88% of tampons in the U.S. used plastic applicators. Add plastic lining, wrappers, and sticker backing and that’s a lot of waste. Nowadays, there are endless options to suit all users, from period underpants to reusable pads to medical-grade silicone cups.

9. Reuse & Recycle Recycled Plastic

Reducing plastic waste at home

Plastic products can only be recycled a few times, so reuse and/or repurpose them whenever possible.

When restaurants or friends give you containers, check out their recycling codes (1, 2, 4, and 5 are the safest). Some of our favorite reusable tubs are made from sturdy plastic that can store leftovers or baked goods. Consider using them around the house for storage or regifting to other eco-conscious friends, too.

10. Cook at Home More Often

During lockdown, many of us discovered a flair for cooking. And that’s great for our health and to control the amount of plastic packaging on our food.

For delivery and pick up from restaurants, don’t ask for plastic cutlery. Ask ahead and – if the restaurant allows it – bring clean, dry containers for cooks to pack up your order.

11. Grab a Pack of Microfiber Cloths

best microfiber cloth

Paper towels aren’t a great eco-friendly option for cleaning – and they’re kept in wasteful plastic packaging. When you switch to our plush, incredibly effective microfiber cloths, you get 500 washes before they need to be retired and recycled.

12. Use Glass or Metal Pet Dishes

reducing plastic home

So many pet bowls are made from plastic – and many of those can be destroyed by puppy teeth! For eco-friendly pet dining, porcelain, glass, or even metal dishes can be purchased at most pet stores.

13. Eat with Silverware or Biodegradable Utensils

reduce plastic use

Plastic utensils are convenient during events and parties, but buying a massive box of single-use cutlery is a massive waste. If you’re heading outdoors and want to avoid washing dishes, there are plenty of options for biodegradable utensils and dishes.

14. Switch to a Bamboo Toothbrush

how to conserve plastic

With one billion plastic toothbrushes getting tossed by Americans every year, select more environmentally-friendly options (like bamboo). Even brushes with reusable handles are better than total replacements. We also recommend choosing biodegradable dental floss!

15. Chew Plant-Based Gum

Your favorite chewing gum probably has plastic particles in it. You might love the taste or texture, but it’s another plastic glob that will eventually be spit into the trash (we hope you don’t swallow it!). If you have to blow those bubbles, chew on a piece of plant-based gum or organic breath mints in a metal tin.

16. Choose Beauty & Hair Products that Reduce Plastic Use

ways to reduce plastic waste

Palettes, compacts, makeup brushes, and shampoo and conditioner bottles often feature luxe designs made from unrecyclable ingredients. Choose "clean" cosmetics products that emphasize eco-friendly packaging.

17. Shop Second Hand More Often

reduce plastic

Polyester, nylon, and acrylic are forms of plastic. And while some people donate their worn items of clothing to second hand stores, many throw unwanted garments straight into the trash. In 2018, more than 11 million pounds of “municipal solid waste” textiles were tossed in landfills.

Buy second hand to save money while making sustainability look good. You can also support sustainable fashion brands that are committed to eco-friendly initiatives while providing fair wages and factory conditions for workers.

18. Buy Natural Baby Toys

Plenty of baby toys contain questionable ingredients, like lead and cadmium. Phthalates (also known as “the everywhere chemical”) are endocrine disruptors that make plastics more flexible and transparent. What’s more, cheaper plastic toys typically break more often.

Choose non-toxic baby toys that are created with higher-quality materials that last and encourage creativity.

19. Dryer Balls > Dryer Sheets

reducing plastic waste

Dryer sheets are typically made from non-woven polyester (a byproduct of the petroleum industry). Aside from the environmental impact of these single-use products, their synthetic fragrances have been linked to asthma attacks when they’re heated and breathed in.

A switch to wool dryer balls not only keeps laundry from clumping up in the dryer, but it also reduces static, wrinkles, and drying time. That’s a win-win!

Pro Tip: The natural essential oils in our 99.4% natural Fresh Linen Laundry Detergent leave your clothes refreshingly and delicately scented.

20. Embrace the "Four Rs"

what to do with plastic waste at home

Reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose: Check with your local municipality about recycling programs and pick-up schedules. Set up a recycling station in your garage or kitchen and quiz your children on the materials that should go into each bin.

Note: Certain types of plastic aren’t recyclable, but that’s another reason why Puracy uses PETE (also known as PET): It’s one of the most recyclable plastics out there.

21. Do Your Best

We know that it can feel overwhelming (even impossible) to remove plastic from your life. But the point is to try your best – and these tips are here to help you discover ways to reduce plastic use.

Puracy Is Committed to Reducing Plastic Bottles & Waste

reducing plastic bottle waste

Puracy provides refill packs our entire line of concentrated, plant-based products. These BPA-free pouches use 90% less plastic, water, and energy compared to bottles, and we’ve been able to reduce more than 200 tons of plastic. We also work with the Pachama Project to offset our carbon emissions and save fragile ecosystems.

It’s never too late to reduce your plastic profile and live a greener lifestyle – but you’ll never have to sacrifice quality with Puracy.