Ever feel guilty about forgetting your tote bags at the grocery store or using restaurant-provided plastic utensils when you go out to eat?
We do, but we also recognize that we can't all be zero-waste, carbon-neutral ninjas all of the time. That's why it's important to avoid waste at every opportunity, and why we've created this list of awesome reusable goodies that can replace traditional single-use items we come into contact with all of the time.
We're constantly looking to add to this list—please don't hesitate to let us know if you know of a swap we didn't include!
For your sake (and your rewards), you should know that we give out triple the reward points on swap item purchases. For everybody's sake, you really should look to have and use at least a few of these reusables whenever you come into contact with the outside world (even if it's not all the time).
1. Use reusable bags whenever possible! Our collection of reusable bags
Americans use 100 billion (yup, you read that with a B) plastic bags a year which takes 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. Getting a reusable tote bag can diminish your individual footprint immensely.
2. Use a reusable cutlery kit and napkin40 billion plastic utensils are used and thrown away each year in the U.S. Try and get your hands on something reusable like a cutlery kit or even a just fork and knife from your kitchen will do to help minimize waste.
3. Use a reusable straw
At least 267 different species have been affected by plastic pollution in the ocean. Something as simple as using a reusable straw or not using a straw at all can cut the chances of more plastic invading our sea creatures' homes.
4. Have a sniffle? Carry around your own handkerchief instead of using disposable tissues.
Americans use upwards of 255 billion tissues. Are you starting to see a pattern here? These single-use items are weighing our planet down. Next time you have to blow your nose, consider using a handkerchief (do it for your friends at The FIG).
5. Use cloths/rags instead of paper towels. Make them yourself out of old t-shirts or buy them from us.
In the United States, we use more than 13 billion pounds of paper towels each year. Globally, wasted paper towels make up 254 million tons of trash a year. Using a repurposed t-shirt or rag is a great alternative to single-use paper towels.
6. Use your own to-go containers for takeout food. Check out some options here.
50 percent of the plastic used in the United States is used only once and then thrown away. Plan ahead if you're going to get food to-go and BYO containers or food storage.
7. Repurpose an old grocery bag to use as a trash bag in small garbage cans
Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year and only 8 percent gets recycled. Sometimes, we get stuck with a grocery bag and don't know what to do with it. Instead of throwing it away, find use of it somewhere else in your home. Get creative!
8. Instead of buying your favorite beverages in cans, take a growler to your local brewery!
Americans throw away more than 700 million dollars worth of aluminum each year. Hands down you'll be the coolest person at your local brewery if you bring a growler. Legend has it that your beer tastes better in a growler, so that's a plus, too.