I’ve been reading No Impact Man’s blogÂ since he started publishing in February 2007, and have always enjoyed learning from Colin’s research and experiments. Today, he published a compilation of ways to go trash-free, and I thought I’d share them here.Â
The No Impact Man is not suggesting you drop everything and do them all today, but pick a few and start changing your life. After all, it doesn’t take much to start making the world a better place.Â Jude and I are actively doing about 90% of the items in Colin’s list below, and it feels great.
No Impact Man’s 42 Ways to Go Trash-Free
- No soda in cans (which means weâ€™re probably less likely to get cancer from aspartame).
- No water in plastic bottles (which means we get to keep our endocrines undisrupted).
- No coffee in disposable cups (which means we donâ€™t suffer from the morning sluggishness that comes from overnight caffeine withdrawal).
- No throwaway plastic razors and blade cartridges (Iâ€™m staging the straightedge razor comeback).
- Using non-disposable feminine-hygiene products that arenâ€™t bad for women and are good for the planet.
- No Indian food in throwaway takeout tubs.
- No Italian food in plastic throwaway tubs.
- No Chinese food in plastic throwaway tubs.
- Taking our own reusable containers to takeout joints (except that now weâ€™re eating local so this tip is out for us).
- Admitting that we sometimes miss Indian, Italian and Chinese takeout.
- Hopping on the scale and celebrating the loss of
my 20-pound spare tire since I stopped eating bucketsful of Indian,
Italian and Chinese takeout.
- Buying milk in returnable, reusable glass bottles.
- Shopping for honey and pickled veggies and other goods in jars only from merchants who will take back the jars and reuse them.
- Returning egg and berry cartons to the vendors at the farmersâ€™ market for reuse.
- Using neither paper nor plastic bags and bringing our own reusable bags when grocery shopping.
- Canceling our magazine and newspaper subscriptions and reading online.
- Putting an end to the junk mail tree killing.
- Carrying my ultra-cool reusable cup and water bottle (which is a glass jar I diverted from the landfill and got for free).
- Carrying reusable cloths for everything from blowing my nose to drying my hands to wrapping up a purchased bagel.
- Wiping my hands on my pants instead of using a paper towel when I forget my cloth.
- Politely asking restaurant servers to take away
paper and plastic napkins, placemats, straws, cups and single-serving
- Explaining to servers with a big smile that I am on a make-no-garbage kick.
- Leaving servers a big tip for dealing with my
obsessive-compulsive, make-no-garbage nonsense, since they canâ€™t take
the big smile to the bank.
- Pretending McDonalds and Burger King and all their paper and plastic wrappers just donâ€™t exist.
- Buying no candy bars, gum, lollypops or ice cream (not even Ben and Jerryâ€™s peanut butter cup) that is individually packaged.
- Making my own household cleaners to avoid all the throwaway plastic bottles.
- Using baking soda from a recyclable container to brush my teeth.
- Using baking soda for a deodorant to avoid the plastic containers that deodorant typically comes in (cheap and works well).
- Using baking soda for shampoo to avoid plastic shampoo bottles.
- Using the plastic bags that other peopleâ€™s newspapers are delivered in to pick up Frankie the dogâ€™s poop.
- Keeping a worm bin to compost our food scraps into nourishment that can be returned to the earth instead of toxins that seep from the landfills.
- Switching to realâ€”meaning clothâ€”diapers which Isabella, before she was potty-trained, liked much better.
- Not buying anything disposable.
- Not buying anything in packaging (and count the
money we save because that means pretty much buy nothing unless itâ€™s
- Shopping for food only from the bulk bins and from the local farmerâ€™s market where food is unpackaged and fresh.
- Forgetting about prepackaged, processed food of any description.
- Being happy that the result is that we get to eat food instead of chemicals.
- Giving our second-hand clothes away to Housing Works or other charities.
- Offering products we no longer need on Freecycle instead of throwing them away.
- Collecting used paper from other people’s trash and using the other side.
- Using old clothes for rags around the apartment instead of paper towels.
- Talking with humor about what weâ€™re doing because
making a little less trash is a concrete first step everyone can take
that leads to more and more environmental consciousness.
Instead of printing this list, save it as a bookmark and return often to try something new.