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 as much as every person combined (roughly 300 million tons).

While we might not go out and plant a tree on Earth Day, reducing plastic use with our families can go a long way towards minimizing waste that ends up in landfills and oceans.

So here are 18 ways to reduce the use of plastic in our daily life and live more sustainably! 

1. Choose Eco-Friendly Refill Packs 

reduce plastic waste at home

If you’ve got disposable bottles of hand soap at each sink, you’re adding more bottles of plastic to the trash heap. 

We always encourage our customers to refill their original bottles (or their own soap dispensers) with our bulk-sized Puracy refill pouches. Available in all of your favorite Puracy products, hese BPA-free pouches use 90% less plastic than regular bottles and have helped prevent 5 million bottles from entering the environment.

2. Keep Household Cleaners in Glass Bottles

reducing plastic use at home

We developed our refill packs to shift our business away from single-use plastic spray bottles. When you choose products like our concentrated Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner, you’ll dramatically reduce plastic waste, cut down on packaging, and save money.

Use our eco-friendly glass bottles hundreds of times for cleaning and personal care products.

3. Reduce Plastic Bottles by Buying Reusable Ones 

how to reduce plastic bottles

With over a million purchased every minute, it’s clear that water bottles contribute massively to the plastic problem. Let your kids pick out their own reusable water bottle. We highly recommend getting them personalized/etched with their names (which is far more durable than stickers).

Pro Tip: We love how resilient Yeti drinkware is. They can be refilled for years and keep beverages hot or ice-cold for hours.

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4. Bring Your Own Bag During Grocery Runs

how to reduce plastic at home

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

5. Stop Using Plastic Straws

ways 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 available. 

6. Pack Lunches with Reusable Containers 

how to limit plastic use

Most lunch boxes are made from some type of plastic – and all those sandwich bags, too. Pack a smart 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 during that precious first year. Multiply that figure by every baby in the US: That’s one gross pile of dirty diapers. Baby wipes add to the landfill pile, as do the plastic containers that store them.

Whenever it’s possible, try to use cloth diapers and buy biodegradable diaper wipes

8. Choose Eco-Friendly Menstrual Products

menstrual products plastic waste

Back in 2015, 88% of tampons used plastic applicators. That has a massive environmental impact – especially when you add plastic lining, wrappers, and sticker backing for all types of disposable menstrual products. Nowadays, there are endless options to suit all users, from period underpants to reusable pads to medical-grade silicone cups and discs. 

9. Reuse & Recycle Recycled Plastic

Reducing plastic waste at home

Because plastic products can only be recycled a few times, opt to reuse (or repurpose) them and keep them out of landfills. 

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. Grab a Pack of Microfiber Cloths 

best microfiber cloth

It’s no secret that paper towels aren’t a great eco-friendly option for cleaning. When you switch to our plush, incredibly effective microfiber cloths, you get 500 washes before they need to be retired and recycled. 

11. Use Glass or Metal Pet Dishes

how to avoid plastic

So many pet bowls are made from plastic – and many of those can be destroyed by puppy teeth! Choose porcelain, glass, or even metal: Most pet stores sell multiple options for eco-friendly pet dining.

12. Party On – Eat with Real Utensils

reduce plastic use

We know that plastic utensils are convenient during events and parties. While washing dishes is no one’s favorite household chore, buying a massive box of plastic cutlery (that’s destined for the landfill) is a massive waste. If you’re heading outdoors, there are many options for biodegradable utensils and dishes.

13. Switch to a Bamboo Toothbrush 

how to conserve plastic

With one billion plastic toothbrushes getting tossed by Americans every year, it makes sense to select more environmentally-friendly options (like bamboo). Even selecting a brush with a reusable handle is a better choice than a total replacement. 

14. Chew Plant-Based Gum

Your favorite chewing gum probably has plastic particles in it. While you may love the taste or texture of that gum, it’s yet 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.

15. Select Beauty and Hair Products that Reduce Plastic Use

how 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, too.  

16. Shop Second Hand Whenever Possible

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 others will throw unwanted garments in the trash. According to 2018 EPA statistics, more than 11 million pounds of “municipal solid waste” textiles were tossed in landfills.

You can buy second hand to save money while making sustainability look good. 

Pro Tip: You can also support sustainable fashion brands that are committed to eco-friendly initiatives while providing fair wages and factory conditions for workers.

17. Dryer Balls, not 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 99.96% natural Fresh Linen Laundry Detergent leave your clothes refreshingly and delicately scented.

18. Encourage Good Recycling Habits at Home

what to do with plastic waste at home

Embrace the four R’s: 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: It’s important to remember, however, that certain types of plastic aren’t recyclable. That’s another reason why Puracy uses PETE (also known as PET): It’s one of the most recyclable plastics out there.

Puracy Is Committed to Reducing Plastic Use

reducing plastic waste

Puracy provides refill packs for our entire line of concentrated, plant-based products. And because these BPA-free pouches use 90% less plastic, water, and energy compared to bottles, we’ve been able to save more than 200 tons of plastic from entering our environment. 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 – without sacrificing quality.