Zero Waste Tips: Easy Changes You Can Make to Send Less Trash to Landfills

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!

SHOP SELECTIVELY.

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.

RECYCLE PROPERLY.

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.

Many companies offer rental services for yard, construction, and household equipment.

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.

Zero Waste Superstars

Our friends at Keep Philadelphia Beautiful profiled Philly Zero Waste Superstars Philadelphians who are making positive change in our city by reducing waste. Learn about each of these superstars and their actions.

Photos: Blanche Helbling, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful

Have a great photo of your Zero Waste actions or a tip you’d like to share? Use #CleanPHL!

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