50 Ways to Use Less, Waste Less
Plastics, Petrochemicals and Packaging
• Learn to love your unique looks without cosmetics–others will too.
• Use less laundry detergent. Are your clothes really that dirty?
• Borrow books, CDs, DVDs, and video games from the library, rental store, or friends.
• Use fewer household cleaners. Try soap and water, baking soda, or vinegar instead.
• Skip prepared and frozen food. Make dinners from scratch; make lunches from leftovers.
Food and Land
• Buy produce from local farms, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), or co-ops.
• Choose beans over meat.
• Share a car. Visit Carsharing.net for info.
• Buy an alternative-fuel car as your next vehicle.
• Carpool, walk, bike, or ride a bus to work and on errands when possible.
• Use a push mower and trim bushes by hand.
• Shop online or by phone rather than drive around.
• Fix up an old house rather than build new.
• Clean out your garage, basement, and closets rather than buy a home with more space.
• Avoid shopping for fun.
• Share a lawnmower and tools with your neighbors.
• Rent a truck, power tools, and camping equipment when the need arises from a rental company.
• Limit your holiday gift giving and make personal gifts like homemade bread.
• Shop at garage sales and thrift stores.
Create Less Trash
• Learn to do your own repairs rather than throw things away.
• Swap and recycle anything and everything you can; join Freecycle.org.
• Donate extra paint to graffiti abatement or urban renewal programs.
• Trade extra school supplies from last year; have a swap in your neighborhood.
• Give scrap lumber to scouts.
• Use raked leaves and cut grass as mulch.
• Throw vegetable and fruit scraps into compost.
• Use recyclable containers when possible.
• Put a cookie sheet instead of foil on the bottom oven rack to catch drips.
• Reuse bath water for plants.
• Limit sprinkler time on your lawn.
• Wash clothes after two wearings instead of one (hang them inside-out after one use).
• Flush less often.
• Xeriscape your garden.
• Wash your car less–and do it yourself with a bucket.
• Use a low-flow showerhead with a shut-off button.
• Borrow books from the library.
• Use the back side of copy paper.
• Get off junk mail and catalog lists; visit DMAConsumers.org.
• Give gently used books and magazines to a nursing home, hospital library, or literacy group.
• Get the newspaper online rather than at your doorstep.
• Share magazine subscriptions with friends.
• Turn out the lights when you leave a room.
• Use ceiling fans to boost your cooling/heating system effectiveness.
• Use lower wattage bulbs or unscrew one from a too-bright fixture.
• Use compact fluorescent bulbs.
• Choose not to hang holiday lights.
Clothing and Material
• Give clothing you don’t wear to charity.
• Learn how to mend clothes.
• Save dingy towels, holey T-shirts, and old sheets for cleaning rags and dropcloths.
• Recycle old denims or wool suits to make a woven or braided rag rug.