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 30 simple methods for reducing plastic use!

Let's make it our New Year's resolution to minimize the use of plastic waste at home! And the sooner the better because 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!

It’s always a good idea to make fitness, professional, and personal goals at the start of a New Year, but why not have an environmental goal as well? With that in mind, think about how much plastic waste takes up space in your home. Chances are, it’s a lot. But you can take it on in small, manageable ways by making a resolution to use less plastic in your daily lives. It’s entirely possible, and even easy!

With a new year ahead of us, take it as an opportunity to think mindfully when it comes to plastic use. What can you cut back on? What sustainable alternatives are out there? Don’t know where to start? Here are 30 easy ways to reduce and avoid plastic – and live more sustainably!

Why Should We Reduce Plastic Waste At Home?

water in plastic bottle

Though governments and businesses create the most waste on our planet, we can do our part by managing our own homes. By being mindful of how we consume, we become more aware of unnecessary plastic packaging, sustainable alternatives, and how we can incorporate them seamlessly into our lives. We can also impart this knowledge onto our children and other family members, spreading awareness to multiple generations.

When you’re running a busy household, it can be overwhelming to keep multiple plates spinning when it comes to cleaning, childcare, and your professional life. It’s no surprise that plastic waste builds up in the background. But reducing plastic use at home doesn’t have to add more to your already busy schedule. In fact, it can be easier than you think.

Learning how to reduce plastic use at home can really help minimize the waste that ends up in landfills and oceans. Whether you’re shopping secondhand or cooking at home more, these small acts add up big time!

1. Choose Eco-Friendly Refill Packs

Plastic use reducing eco refill packs

When you’re regularly buying disposable bottles of soap, shampoo, and cleaning products, you’re inevitably adding more plastic to the trash heap. We’re proud to offer alternatives and services that make sustainable living easy on even the most busiest families.

We know life can get hectic, so we’re here to help by offering subscriptions on your favorite Puracy products. That way, all your cleaning and personal care essentials are shipped right to your door, ensuring you never run out. Plus you can always adjust your subscription based on your family’s changing schedule and needs. 

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

glass bottles to reduce plastic use

Who says you need plastic to keep a clean home? When you move away from single-use plastic spray bottles, you’ll dramatically reduce plastic waste, cut down on packaging, and save money.

More often than not, these glass bottles are easier to clearly label, making them easier to identify in your storage closet. This will keep you more organized and streamline your cleaning routine – a win for all!

Whether you fill them with cleaning or personal care products, our eco-friendly glass bottles have been tested for hundreds of uses. Not only do these 16oz bottles look better than their plastic counterparts, but they're also versatile enough to hold everything from soap to disinfecting solution. Durable and sturdy, they last longer than plastic bottles as well.

3. Reduce Plastic Bottles by Buying Reusable Ones

reusable bottles to reduce plastic use

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). Keep your bottle handy in your bag, so it will always be near at meal times or your next trip to the gym.

Hydration is key to staying focused and productive, so having a reusable water bottle handy is important for even more reasons. Make sure everyone in your family has their own reusable water bottle, that way they’re ready to take on the day and stay sufficiently hydrated.

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

4. Bring Your Own Bag During Grocery Runs

eco bags to avoid plastic

Paper or plastic? How about reusable tote bags to carry groceries? Whether you use a cloth tote bag or a flexible string bag, these alternatives to plastic bags are easy ways to reduce waste. You can even promote your favorite independent bookstore or local yoga studio in the process!

As many stores begin to move away from disposable plastic bags, having a reusable shopping bag is a necessity for most shopping trips. These bags are usually stronger, washable and – if you’re handy with a sewing machine – you can even make your own.

Make this habit an easy one by always making sure you have a reusable tote stored in your bag, car, or desk.

5. Stop Using Plastic Straws

plastic straw

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.

If you’re prone to needing an afternoon iced coffee break, make sure to keep one in your purse or desk. That way, you’ll always be ready to sip sustainably! As the plastic-free movement grows in popularity, you may find that more coffee shops and restaurants are offering alternatives to plastic straws. Be sure to show them support by praising their efforts!

Pro-tip: Looking for the best option for a plastic-free straw? Consider using a bamboo straw, which is durable and cut from nature.

6. Pack Lunches with Reusable Containers

back lunches on reusable containers

Everyone needs a break during a hectic workday! Be sure your lunch, whether it’s at home or on-the-go, avoids unnecessary 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).

These lunch boxes also come in handy when you’re packing kids lunches for the school day. Be sure to choose sturdy versions that can handle being tossed and stuffed in a kid’s backpack amidst their gym bag and homework supplies!

If you are a regular at a favorite restaurant, you can even request that they skip the disposable packaging next time you order takeout. Instead, you can pick your food up with your reusable containers in hand.

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). Thankfully, more and more alternatives to these disposable versions are being created by eco-friendly companies and researchers.

Whenever possible, try to use cloth diapers and buy biodegradable diaper wipes. Want to give a new, sleep-deprived parent a hand? As cloth diapers grow in popularity, there are also eco-friendly services in many big cities that offer to pick up and launder the diapers for busy families.

If you’re curious about other ways you can care for your little one sustainable, check out our recommendations for building your own eco-friendly nursery.

8. Reduce Plastic with Eco-Friendly Menstrual Products

eco friendly menstrual products

Plastic-free options are also becoming more widely available when it comes to menstruation supplies. And for good reason: 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

reusing used plastic

If you find yourself with plastic storage containers or bags at home, do your best to reuse them as much as possible to avoid them piling up in landfills. 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

cooking reduces plastic use

During lockdown, many of us discovered a flair for cooking. (Raise your hands if you’re still tending to that sourdough starter kit!) And that’s great for our health and to control the amount of plastic packaging on our food.

Dust off your chef’s apron and embrace these newly acquired skills to kick your plastic habit. You can make your own versions of food that often comes with plastic packaging at the grocery store, such as yogurt, bread, or pasta sauce. Plus, you can expand your culinary skills and come up with a weekly rotation of delicious, sustainable dishes to impress your friends and family.

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

Puracy microfiber cloth

Paper towels aren’t a great eco-friendly option for cleaning – and they’re kept in wasteful plastic packaging. But thankfully, your home has an alternative that’s much better for the environment. When you switch to our plush, incredibly effective microfiber cloths, you get 500 washes before they need to be retired and recycled.

Even better, our bestselling microfiber cloths are versatile wonders! Have you discovered your favorite microfiber cloth use in your home? Keep them handy in every room in your house to make sure they’re handy any time something needs a quick polishing.

12. Use Glass or Metal Pet Dishes

using glass or metal dish

Is your pet wagging its tail, ready for mealtime? Treat him –and the planet– at the same time. 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.

You can go further by looking for pet toys and leashes that are made from plastic alternatives. It will require a bit more research, since plastic is still the go-to product for pet supplies, but more and more brands are using alternatives. After all, everyone in the family, even our four-legged friends, can help out when it comes to being plastic-free!

13. Eat with Silverware or Biodegradable Utensils

Silverware or Biodegradable Utensils

Your next party at home doesn’t need to result in a big bag of plastic waste if you plan carefully. 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.

If your friends or family also strive for a plastic-free lifestyle, at your next gathering, encourage them to bring their own biodegradable or reusable cutlery. It may not be the norm for gatherings, but who knows? You could start a sustainable trend for future parties to come!

14. Switch to a Bamboo Toothbrush

Bamboo Toothbrush

Your winning smile can also be a win for Mother Earth if you choose your accessories carefully. Alternatives to plastic toothbrushes grow in popularity each year, so look out for these eco-friendly options. Share your most trusted finds with friends and family, and next thing you know, everyone can have an eco-friendly smile!

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

plant based gum

Did you know? Your favorite chewing gum probably has plastic particles in it, believe it or not. 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!). 

But you don’t have to give up your gum habit completely, thanks to brands who are also embracing plastic-free options and alternatives. If you have to blow those bubbles, chew on a piece of plant-based gum or organic breath mints in a metal tin. That way, you can have fresh breath without creating unnecessary plastic waste. 

16. Choose Beauty & Hair Products that Reduce Plastic Use

woman using plastic free hair products

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. There’s an ever growing movement in the beauty industry to move towards greener initiatives, and we can do our own part by keeping an eye out for clean cosmetics.

If you find a clean cosmetic brand you love, be sure to shout them out to your friends and social media. This way, you’ll get the message out that these eco-friendly products and brands are worth celebrating!

17. Shop Second Hand More Often

buy second-hand items

Fashion trends change constantly, but reducing plastic waste always remains in style. Did you know? 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.

You can be a fashionista while also giving Mother Earth a break. 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

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.

If your stubborn little one insists on that plastic truck or super hero figure, you can compromise by tracking down a second hand version. When they eventually outgrow or grow tired of the toy, you can pass it on to another child.

19. Dryer Balls > Dryer Sheets

Dryer Balls instead of sheets

Tackling that huge pile of laundry can be a chore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help the environment while doing it. 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"

reduce reuse recycle bins

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.

If you’re using Puracy products as part of your cleaning routine, you’re already ahead of the curve. At Puracy, we have intentionally chosen to use packaging that is simple and easy to recycle at your local recycling center.

In fact, making this a family routine will ensure that recycling becomes an integral part of generations to come. Getting everyone in your family to pitch in makes chores less of a drag and more of a fun family activity. Need inspiration for getting little ones more involved? Check out our guide to age-appropriate chores for every kid in your household.

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. Take Your Coffee Sustainably

avoiding plastic in coffee drinking

The morning cup of coffee you enjoy at home can produce more waste than you think. Almost 30,000 disposable coffee pods end up in landfills each year, though brands are beginning to offer recyclable versions. If you're looking for a more eco-friendly solution, consider making coffee in a French press or a stove top maker.

And be sure to look out for fair-trade, certified organic coffee to ensure protection for both farmers and the environment. Read coffee labels carefully, browse a coffee bean’s website for more information, or ask your local barista for the source of their coffee. Chances are, if they brew fair trade coffee, they’ll be happy to tell you more!

22. Ditch the Disposable Razors

avoid disposable razors

Looking for other ways to “shave” the planet? Another way your daily bathroom routine can use less plastic can be found in your shaving accessories. Next time you’re in the process of trimming your winter beard, remember that even this part of your daily routine can be a way to use less plastic at home. Every action counts, after all!

A plastic razor at home may be convenient, but it results in regular plastic waste that can easily be avoided. Instead, choose a high-quality metal safety razor, which can last for years compared to their plastic counterparts. Not only are they more hygenic, but they'll also save you money in the long run.

23. Wash Dishes By Hand

wash dishes by hand

You can stop plastic waste at home by going down your chore list and getting creative. When washing dishes at home by hand, you can opt for plastic-free brushes and sponges. Opt for refill-friendly dish soap as well to reduce waste. Overall, washing by hand uses less water than a dishwasher and avoids the use of plastic-heavy detergent pods.

Want to tackle washing dishes by hand but don’t know where to start? Look no further than our extensive guide to washing dishes by hand. From rinsing, soaping, and drying, washing dishes by hand can also be another way to get the whole family involved. Form an assembly line and watch the stack of dirty dishes disappear more quickly than before!

24. Go Plastic-Free in the Garden

plastic-free gardening

Cultivating a home garden does wonders for the environment, and you can take it a step further by reducing plastic use in your backyard. A quick look around your garden shed may reveal that your backyard contains more plastic than you may have imagined. Don’t worry: there are plastic-free alternatives available!

Instead of plastic pots, look for biodegradable options or clay pots. When weeding or cleaning up, you can also use biodegradable leaf bags that can eventually be composted. These are just a few ways to embark on a plastic-free lifestyle in all facets of your household.

25. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Responsibly

Enjoy the sweet things in life without plastic! When it comes to everything from candy to beverages, so many of these treats come with unnecessary plastic packaging. But there are ways to indulge without plastic waste. Again, you can make researching plastic alternatives a fun family activity. After all, the reward will be something sweet!

If you drink soda, skip the plastic bottle. Instead, choose a can or glass bottle that you can easily recycle. Look for edible food packaging as well, especially when it comes in the form of a delicious ice cream cone or waffle cup!

26. Think Plastic-Free When It Comes To Bread

plastic free bread consumption

Items we consume daily at home contain plastic, and we can avoid waste by taking a few extra steps. You may have noticed that most loaves of grocery store come wrapped in plastic. You can avoid this by buying bread directly from a bakery, which typically comes in a paper bag. (This can also be done with meat and other produce by buying directly from a butcher or farmer’s market. Use it as an excuse to get to know local businesses in your area!)

The final touch? Invest in a glass bread container to keep it fresh longer at home!

27. Look For Sustainable Deodorant Options

eco friendly deodorant

Can you smell the plastic free possibilities? We can! When it comes to feeling fresh, you can also do so by saving the planet. As we mentioned before, your beauty and bathing routines can always use sustainable improvements, and deodorant is a great place to start.

Most mass produced deodorant comes in plastic tubes or containers, but there are more eco-friendly brands making their mark. Look for a brand that comes in compostable cardboard tubes, or as creams or bars. Have a plastic-free brand you know and trust? Be sure to recommend it to your friends and family to make these eco-friendly brands more widely known.

28. Quit Smoking

plastic present in cigarettes

The New Year is the perfect time to kick bad habits. The #1 resolution on many people’s minds? Quitting smoking. Though it can be difficult, with the right motivation and support system, you can do so – and in the process, you’ll be reducing plastic as well.

Not only is smoking cigarettes harmful to your health, but each time you light a cigarette, you burn plastic. Cigarette filters contain plastic, and every year, trillions of cigarettes are littered — not to mention cigarette packaging often includes harmful plastic.

29. Make Your Voice Heard

plastic-free campaign outside the home

Though we can do our part to reduce plastic waste at home, we can amplify our reach by writing to governments and manufacturers and sharing messages from sustainability efforts on social media. One way to make our stance known is by spending money on companies that actively strive to use less plastic. Another way is to get involved in local government and outreach to ensure a plastic-free future is on the agenda.

By combining your small, daily acts with calling bigger groups to act, we can hope for a reduction of plastic waste and a brighter future for the next generation. We can’t undo previous decades of plastic use, but we can advocate and act for a better future by being mindful of our plastic use at home and passing on this consciousness to others.

30. Do Your Best

action driven plastic-free campaign

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

As you go into the new year, remember to keep your goals realistic and manageable. Start gradually, like investing in an eco-friendly water bottle and set of utensils. As the months go on, you can add a more regular recycle and reuse routine, as well as getting your whole family involved. These small steps add up, and before you know it, your home will be creating less plastic waste than before.

Puracy Is Committed to Reducing Plastic Bottles & Waste

Puracy aims to reduce plastic use

As always, we’re here to help when it comes to kicking plastic waste to the curb. 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.

We’re heartened to see more and more sustainable options available and less plastic being used in packaging and products. Learn more about what natural means to us, and how our team puts the utmost thought into researching new ways to reduce plastic waste. Our bottles, pumps, sprayers, and caps are all made from Polyethylene Terephthalate, which is commonly known as PET(E). How can you tell? Look for the #1 on the recycling logo. 

We’re proud of our team’s constant effort to move our planet towards a plastic-free future. Want to join the cause? 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.