Updated: Dec 7, 2020

Kick your "TO GO" habit with these simple BYO options.

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Think about a typical day or week and the places you spend your money.  Likely the grocery store, a restaurant, and a few coffee shops make the list?

Every day we are surrounded by single-use plastics, and unless we are proactive, they are impossible to avoid. While it is true that most of these can be recycled, the reality is that most are not. When we are on the go take out cups and containers are usually discarded in the trash.

The good news? It doesn’t take much to change this. By simply taking a few minutes to plan ahead and “bring your own” cup, container, straw, bag, etc., you can significantly reduce your waste.

Here are 9 simple BYO options to waste less that you can implement today to feel better about your ecological footprint.

1. BYO cup

Whether it’s for hot tea/coffee or iced drinks, bringing your own reusable cup is easy to do once you decide to start. You can even go as far as to make a rule of no cup, no drink. Think of all the disposable cups you will save! As a bonus, you often get a small discount when you bring your own cup.

There are many places that will happily place your take-out food in a container you provide. Just mention it when you order. If they say no, give your business to another restaurant. If you are dining in and are one to leave with leftovers, plan ahead and bring a container. Alternatively, just eat at home or pack a lunch!

3. BYO straw

Most people are on the reusable straw train these days when they are at home, but not many bring their own when they go out. If you find it hard to remember, throw a reusable straw in your purse or car so it is always handy. Some reusable straws even collapse to fit in your purse or pocket so there is no excuse! Alternatively, just say no to the straw.

4. BYO reusable grocery bags (or bins)

Most grocery stores now charge for plastic bags, however, that doesn’t seem to be incentive enough for most. Usually, grocery store trips are planned, meaning bringing your own bags can also easily be planned. Keeping them in your car is an easy way to remember. Throw one in your purse, stroller, etc. If you pick up online orders or shop at Costco, throw some reusable bins in your trunk. The odd time you might not have one handy but using them even 50% more is a step in the right direction.

5. BYO reusable produce bags

Since you are already bringing your own grocery bags, you may as well bring your own produce bags too! Many items don’t even need bags, but if you are the type to bag everything, throw each item into a reusable bag guilt-free!

6. BYO container for deli, meat, and bakery counter items

Hand over your reusable containers at the meat, deli and/or bakery counter to avoid unnecessary packaging.

7. BYO bag or container for bulk food

Whether it’s at a bulk food store or grocery store, you can put dry bulk goods into your own bag/sac, or at some places, your own container (make sure you have it weighed first). You can transfer it into whatever you want when you get home.

8. BYO cutlery

When dining in, some fast-food restaurants will provide a proper plate but not a fork or knife. Bring your own to avoid the plastic. Plastic utensils also suck, right?

9. BYO water bottle

Bottled water is great to have stowed away for emergencies, but overall it is the worst. Not only is the plastic bad for the environment, it leeches chemicals that are bad for our health. It is also extremely wasteful, not to mention ridiculous to ship WATER around the world. Instead, invest in a water filter (learn more about water filters here) and reusable water bottle and make it a habit to bring it with you. Glass and stainless steel are your best options.

All of these are super simple but do require planning. Without planning ahead you will likely forget! To make it easier, pick one thing to start with and focus on making it a habit. Use the goal-setting page to help you.

Once you have done it a handful of times it will start to become routine and you won’t think twice about it . . . or ever look back! The environment thanks you.

BYO options to waste less | bring your own to waste less | cut down on single use plastic | ways to reduce your environmental footprint


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