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In the kitchen
Electric can openers - Push wasted energy to the wayside by using a little muscle and an old-school manual opener instead.
Plastic wrap - Most soft plastics — with the exception of plastic grocery bags — cannot be recycled because of their potential of jamming up the sorting machines at the recycling plants. Instead opt for reusable bowl lids or store your food in plastic or glass storage containers.
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Bottled water - While obviously practical in certain situations, like an emergency, when it comes to day-to-day use, fill up a reusable water bottle instead. Although most plastic water bottles can be recycled, recycling uses energy.
Paper towels - Dish towels or clean, no-longer-used burp cloths dry wet hands without cluttering the planet.
Plastic silverware - You may not know that many curbside recycling programs actually do accept plastic cutlery for recycling, but regardless of whether your waste management does or not, cut down on this wasteful resource by using metal flatware that will stand the test of time.
Paper plates - While more convenient than having to wash your durable dishes, despite the fact they're made of paper, disposable plates cannot be recycled and end up in the landfill.
Plastic cups - Sure a disposable plastic cup will eventually decompose in 80 years, but if you just can't keep away from these party staples, opt for recycled or recyclable cups like Bare by Solo.
Around the house
Disposable dusters - Tap into your recycled rag pile or use a soft cloth that can be washed and reused.
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Non-rechargeable batteries - Powering up with rechargeable batteries not only keeps these acid-packed articles from seeping into the Earth, but it will also save you money in the long run.
Disposable toilet wands - Although the benefits of the disposable toilet wands take the ick out of cleaning the commode, it's best to stick with the traditional reusable toilet brushes to reduce waste.
Disposable razors - Pick shavers that only need the blade replaced to cut down on excess trash.
Tissues - Keeping a hankie on hand will keep the Kleenex out of the landfills.
Disposable diapers and wipes - Decrease diaper debris by using washable cloth diapers and eco-friendly washcloths for wiping.
At the store
Packaged produce - There is no rule that requires you bag your produce, so fill up your cart with fruits and vegetables without the plastic bag and pass on the excess pre-packaged fare as well.
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Black plastic packaging - According to WRAP UK, containers that are colored by carbon black pigments do not allow the plastic pack to be identified and sorted for reconditioning by the recycling systems. Look for clear packaging instead.
Individually wrapped snacks - Save money and cut down on debris by buying traditionally-packed munchies or family-sized snacks.
Juice boxes - Similar to the individually wrapped snacks, the extra packaging can be avoided when you purchase a regular-sized jug of juice and serve in reusable cups or bottles.
Individual coffee capsules - The single-serve coffee pods may be ultra-convenient and trendy but the excess containers aren't sustainable. Aren't ready to give up the coffee capsules? At least reach for the refillable ones each morning.
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Plastic and paper grocery bags - You may think using paper grocery bags is better for the environment than using plastic bags, but paper bags use more natural resources than its plastic counterpart. By using canvas and tote bags you can use them over and over again, as well as ditch the worry of your eggs dropping out the bottom of your bag.
Online shipping containers - Shop locally to minimize waste. Not only are the chances your package took more fuel to get to your home than if you drove to your local retailer, the packing materials and too-big shipping container more than doubles the amount of packaging your product is using.
While no one is expecting you to abandon all of these surprising products you can live without all at once, reducing the amount of energy you use and reducing the quantity of disposable products you exhaust is an easy way to show Mother Earth some love. Going green doesn't have to mean ditching all the conveniences life has to offer, but by raising your eco-friendly consciousness you can reduce your environmental footprint, even if it is in baby steps!