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5 Green Ways to be Less Wasteful

Is being more environmental friendly one of your New Years resolutions? If not, it is always great to do your part to reduce waste.

Americans can generate more than 254 million tons of trash in a single year, according to a study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If that number is too big to fathom, consider this: that trash weighs more than the combined weight of 1 million blue whales (the largest mammal on Earth).

Here are some tips on how to create a more environmental friendly home.

1. Cut down on paper towels.

Instead of using paper towels, keep a stash of kitchen cloths and rags made from old T-shirts to do your chores. Eco-friendly towels made of bamboo and cotton can absorb big messes and dry dishes quickly.

2. Use glass containers, such as canning jars, to store food.

Display your farmers market and bulk bin goods in glass containers to keep them from going stale. Re-purpose old glass containers from pasta, jams, marmalade and condiments for future storage.

3. Keep your reusable bags at hand.

Have you ever entered the grocery store only to remember your stash of reusable bags is sitting untouched in your cabinets? If so, eliminate the need to remember by storing your reusable bags in more convenient places: in a more noticeable area at home, in your car or in your handbag or backpack. That way you’ll always have a bag at hand, even for those quick, impromptu trips to get groceries after work.

Use your reusable bags for other occasions as well. Ask the waiter to place your to-go order in your bag instead of using their plastic or brown bags. Going on a shopping spree? Let the sales associates know you have your own bags for your new purchases.

When shopping for groceries, bring smaller cloth or netted bags to store produce, bulk-bin items and fresh flowers and avoid the thin plastic produce bags provided by stores.

4. If coffee on-the-go is a must, bring a reusable coffee mug.

If you can’t kick your addiction to a daily cup of Starbucks coffee, bring your travel tumbler or mug with you and ask the barista to fill it instead of a disposable cup. Starbucks and many other cafes offer discounts for helping them reduce their cup waste.

5. Swap out disposable water bottles for a water filter and reusable bottles.

Was your New Year’s resolution to drink more water? Carrying a steel or glass water bottle will remind you to hydrate and prevent you from buying a plastic water bottle out of convenience. Investing in a water filtration system— even as basic as a pitcher filter — will elevate the way your tap water tastes.