Everyone has a role to play in helping to make Philadelphia a Zero Waste city. There are many small changes that you can make to reduce your household waste. Here are a few tips to help you get started!
Choose products with little or no packaging and those that are recyclable or reusable.
BUY IN BULK.
Purchase products in bulk in the largest containers possible to reduce packaging waste.
AVOID INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED PRODUCTS.
Buy fruits, vegetables, and other food and household items loose to reduce unnecessary trays, wraps, and bags — it can also be cheaper!
BUY TO LAST.
Buy durable products and keep them for as long as possible. Choose long-lasting metal or wood household items rather than plastic ones.
SHOP WITH REUSABLE BAGS.
Bring reusable bags shopping with you and refuse disposable plastic ones.
BRING YOUR OWN CUP.
Bring your own reusable water bottle and coffee mug with you to fill up.
REPLACE PAPER PRODUCTS.
Replace paper towels, napkins, and plates with reusable cloth ones.
USE REUSABLE FOOD CONTAINERS.
Use reusable containers for lunch and leftovers.
USE DURABLE HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS.
Use durable, long-lasting household products (like dishware, utensils, cups, and mugs) rather than disposables.
STOP UNWANTED MAIL AND CATALOGS.
Opt out of national junk mail, and contact local and regional companies sending you unwanted mail and ask to be taken off their lists.
PREVENT FOOD WASTE.
Compost your food and yard waste, and prevent food waste at its source by meal planning, prepping food, storing food properly, and making sure you eat all that you buy. For packaged foods, “sell-by,” “best-by,” and “use-by” dates relate to peak quality or flavor, not to food safety. Use the “sniff test” to check for obvious spoilage. Learn about composting in Philly.
Make sure you know the ins and outs of recycling. Properly dispose of/recycle items like electronics, mattresses, and tires.
RENT OR BORROW SELDOM-USED EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING.
Many companies offer rental services for yard, construction, and household equipment. Similarly, borrowing or renting clothing for special occasions or costumes prevents these items from becoming single-use.
FIND NEW LIFE FOR USED FURNITURE AND HOUSEHOLD ITEMS.
Repair, sell, or donate furniture and other used household items. Give usable old clothes to charities, and make non-usable ones into cleaning rags.
AVOID HOLIDAY & SEASONAL WASTE.
The holidays can result in overbuying and may require disposing of bulky and unconventional items (i.e. holiday trees). After the holidays, take an inventory of your pantry and donate unneeded nonperishable food items to local food pantries. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation holds a Christmas tree recycling program each year, and residents can drop off their trees for free at one of several locations citywide. Learn more about tree recycling. Halloween Jack-o-Lanterns and yard waste can be composted; many composting services and neighborhood associations offer these services seasonally. Learn about composting in Philly.