EcoUsable Ech2o Stainless Steel Filtered Water Bottle GIVEAWAY!

Photo: TreeHugger

I feel the same way about plastic water bottles as Andrea (read her Bottled Water, Bottled Hype series), and many others who feel that it's disturbing that over 60 million plastic water bottles go into landfills every day.  Even more disturbing are images like this one, showing the The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.


It's a stew of trash floating in the Pacific that's twice the size of Texas, floating between California and Hawaii.

The impact of our actions is clear and striking. We can each do our small part in relieving the problem.

EcoUsable is here to help with that! They've created the Ech2o, the world's first stainless steel filtered water bottle.'s a stainless steel water bottle...with a filter inside it!!  Get great-tasting, filtered water, anytime, anywhere! Drink from tap water, streams, rivers, lakes, and pools -- everything but salt water.

The filter not only reduces unpleasant taste, odor, chlorine, sand, and sediment, but also toxic chemicals, detergents, pesticides, and other harmful industrial and agricultural wastes. The 25 oz. bottles remove pollutants for up to 100 gallons, which lasts the average person about a year. Each bottle uses 304 food grade stainless steel that is non-leaching, BPA-free, reusable and lightweight!

Save money. Save the planet.  It's that simple.

To get you started, EcoUsable sent us three Ech2o filtered water bottles to give away to our Wise Bread readers. To enter, leave a comment about ways to reduce your plastic use. Drawing ends on July 20. Only open to U.S. residents aged 18 and over, void where prohibited. Only one entry per person will be counted.

This drawing has ended. Congrats to:  Sarah, Beceky, and John Meche

Don't forget. Even if you aren't one of the lucky winners, all Wise Bread readers can also get 10% off.

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Guest's picture

bring your own backpack/canvas bag/old plastic bags with you to all stores... OR, when they give you one item, carry it out with you - you don't really need the bag.

Guest's picture

Opt for retail items that use less packaging. Do you really need a package of toilet paper with each roll individually wrapped in plastic?

Decline a straw with your drink at restaurants.

At gas station convenience stores, buy a fountain drink in a biodegradable paper cup instead of a plastic bottle of soda.

Guest's picture

Instead of purchasing convenient individual snack packs (usually wrapped in plastic), purchase the larger size and create your own snack packs by distributing the goodies in reusable containers.

Guest's picture
Antoine Bugleboy

Use the backs of paper to jot down notes and other temporary information.

Guest's picture

In our home, we don't line our trash cans. We rinse anything that can be recycled. We opt to buy things that are fresh, in bulk or opt for packaging other than plastic if possible. We bring our pages to the store so we don't have to depend on plastic bags. You can bring muslin or mesh bags to the store to use instead of produce bags. There are so many little things that can be done like not buying things in plastic but if there is no other choice then definitely recycle or reuse the item.

Guest's picture

definitely office use of styrofoam cups and paper plates needs to bet cut down dramatically. also...recycle, please!!!

Guest's picture

just say "no" to plastic anything. (and in that creates the problem of what not to buy)

as an urban dweller and cat lover, my animal must have cat litter. there are no places to let her "out" to do her business. (not that I would ever let her out, she knows nothing but the inside of my apartment and hallway)

purchasing cat litter means buying the huge cardboard box. those plastic jugs are mighty convenient. nice handle, easy to schlep, not very heavy. I give that up to be able to purchase a product packed in cardboard.

I look at it like this, any plastic brought in, must be packed back out to a recycling center.

good luck with plastic reduction. if you won't recycle for yourself, do it for your grandchildren.

Guest's picture
Melissa Sue

Use reusable canvas bags when you shop for groceries. If you forget them, carry them out. Find the recycling centers that will take all the harder to recycle plastics, like #5, then utilize them. Our family also reuses sandwich bags, washing in between uses.

Guest's picture

we reuse our plastic bottles refilling them with filtered water from the tap

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At the grocery store, I *strongly* prefer to buy products not packaged in plastic. If I buy a product available only in plastic, I prefer the recyclable containers.

Offer leftover quart-size yogurt/cottage cheese containers on Freecycle or craigslist. Some crafters use them for storage (Nancy's Yogurt, for example, comes with space on the container to mark the purpose for which you're reusing the container!). Some animal shelters also will accept the containers so they can send animals home with some food.

Plastic cutlery can be taken home and washed and reused. I haven't had to pick up a new plastic fork or knife in months. There's also the biodegradable kind, but that's not what's typically offered commercially.

Guest's picture

I find it amazing that people trash plastic utensils and cups after one use. When using a cup - I put a colored rubber band around it so I know it is mine and I keep using it. I also am the one in the office who takes the plastic utensils home to wash. The office hasn't had to replace that stuff and I feel better that a fork I used for 10 minutes isn't in a landfill.

Guest's picture

In our house, if it's plastic it gets reused. After that it goes to the recycle bin. It's our household law.

Guest's picture

I always have a stash of grocery bags in the back of my car for store trips. I'm also stitching up some produce bags so I don't have to use the ones in the store.

Guest's picture
Rob O.

We switched to taking reusable shopping bags to the grocery store about 2 years ago. I like that we're not wasting plastic, sure, but I'm slightly selfishly motivated too - I prefer having 3 or 4 sacks (that'll stand on their own) to carry neatly into the house and unload rather than a dozen or more shapeless plastic sacks.

And we've switched to reusable thermal cups for our morning brew.

We do still buy bottled water, but we sanitize & reuse those plastic water bottles several times before they make their way into the plastics recycling bin in the garage. And we're trying to cut back on this too since we've installed an under-sink RO unit.

Guest's picture

Bring my own eusable tote bags, which I make from old pants.
Use washable sandwich and snd snack packages,which I make from recycled materials, to pack my lunch.
Reusable water bottles. I have two in case I don't get around to doing dishes!
Make totes and drawere organizers by cutting down plastic containers.
Make shrink art charms and beads from plastic containers.
Buy refills in pouches or make your own cleaning supplies to refill dispenser bottles.
Crochet rugs or make fused fabric from shopping bags.

Guest's picture

Use canvas grocery bags instead of plastic, I re-use zip lock bags by washing them and letting them dry and using as few as possible. I still drink too much from plastic bottles, but have been researching stainless steel containers to see which is the best one. This one sounds outstanding with it's own filtration inside of it. What an excellent idea.

Guest's picture
Valerie R.

I keep reusable shopping bags in my car at all times so I'm ready whenever I make a run to the grocery store. I acquired most of them for free at community events. I also make sure to have water in reusable water bottles filled and ready to go when the kids and I go out.

Guest's picture

An interesting tip someone told me was to go back to using bar soap instead of buying body wash in plastic bottles. There's a little bit of paper use from the bar wrapping, but the trash created from the packaging of bar soap is far less than the plastic bottles.

Guest's picture

I love V8 - I hate all the plastic bottles. We buy it in the can or if we must buy it in plastic, we choose the largest plastic bottle and transfer it into smaller bottles to bring to work every day. Then we recycle the large one. I wash and reuse plastic baggies.

To avoid the seduction of plastic convenience, I keep my own mug and silverware at work.

Guest's picture

What great comments and ideas. I bring my own bags to the grocery store too. I have a ton of them. I have one hanging in my kitchen that I put the ones I used in and then when the one in the car is almost empty i switch them.
I had a lot of the reusable plastic water bottles to take camping, hiking, and kayaking. Now I am told they aren't safe. Can't really afford to replace all of them. I am also told that you should not refill the plastic water bottles you buy in the store as chemicals leech out of them. The same with microwaving in plastic. This has helped to make people more creative i think. Bring plates and bowls and mugs from home. I even bring my own silverware so i do not have to buy plastic. Most work situations have a kitchen or at least a sink. This way you can bring in stuff in reusable plastic but heat with ceramic.
I try to be aware when I am grocery shopping to buy things that are not shrinked wrapped. That can be challenging. Summertime is a lot easier with farmers markets, etc... I find it a little more challenging in the winter.

Guest's picture

We try to recycle all of our plastic bags if we forgot to bring reusable canvas bags to the grocery store. We also recycle the small, clear bags that you use to put produce in. We use some of the bags for our dog's waste as well if we are out of biodegrable poop bags.

Guest's picture

I always have reuseable bags tucked into my purse. Not only for groceries; but dept stores, drugstores, bookstores, etc. etc. I have a ceramic coffee and a reuseable water bottle in the office. And we recycle everything we can at home. I hope we're making progress when I see that the recycling is a bigger pile than the trash each week.

Guest's picture

I reuse bags from store-bought bread for various kitchen uses - storing homemade cookies and breads, packing picnic lunches or covering a dish of food for a short while.

Guest's picture

By now, many of the ideas, I could likst here - using totes at the stores, washing "baggies" and reusing them, washing plastic whatever for a second use... My main thought when it comes to plastic whatever is not to bring it into the house in the first place. We don't eat at fastfood places so we don't have that. I buy bulk using bags I have made from scraps of material, don't buy stuff in plastic if I can help it at all (choosing perhaps glass packaging when it is a bit more expensive - I get a usable glass jar out of it!). I am concious to take my store totes into all stores - fabric, Target, etc and get them to use them.

Guest's picture

Use bar soap instead of body wash

Choose a washable tupperware instead of a plastic baggy when storing food

Keep reusable shopping bags in your car or bunched up in your purse

Guest's picture

Anytime you can't avoid using plastic, at least recycle. Simply be responsible. That's all it takes. Think about what we are doing and the consequenses and act accordingly.

Guest's picture

I love all these tips! Wish I had something original to add, but we do reusable grocery bags, too. What frustrates me is the eye-rolling of the cashier when you bring them back to the store. I guess they're not as easy to bag as the earth-strangling kind.

If I happen to forget them, I make it a point to go through the u-scan. When you bag it yourself, you're in control of how many of those plastic bags leave the store with you. We also recycle the bags in interesting ways - i.e. did you know they make wonderful packing material for items being shipped? They've got to be better than those nasty styrofoam peanuts, and they can serve a purpose to the shippee, too.

Guest's picture

We have lots of hand crocheted grocery bags and although it's still a learning process to take them for quick trips to the store, we're doing good on the big trips and recycling the ones we do end up with.

Our water bottles, when we do buy them get used over and over and over again with a good wash between them. We buy our water in 5 gallon jugs and have crockery dispenser.

Guest's picture

Some plastics leach harmful chemicals when washed in the dishwasher or with certain detergents. Be careful with refilling plastic water bottles.

Guest's picture

Ditch the ziploc plastic bags for some hard plastic storage container. Every bit helps!

Guest's picture

If you forget your canvas shopping bags - or have too much to fit in them, opt for paper instead of plastic. The paper bags can hold more, but also can be re-used as holders for recycled household paper.

Every piece of paper and cardboard in our house gets recycled and we have a bin (with a paper bag in it) in our kitchen. This dramatically cuts down on trash.

Forgo bags entirely when you can. I'm constantly amazed when clerks will put just a single small purchase in a plastic bag. I'd rather just put it in my purse.

Guest's picture

Canvas bags, reusable drink bottles, Pyrex instead of baggies or plastic containers, just like the previous posters. We also quit buying plastic toys for our kids and stick to wood, fabric, and other materials that are gentle on the earth. Oh, I BF my kids so no plastic baby bottles :)

Guest's picture

I like to use reuseable canvas bags and tote bags for grocery shopping as well as for carrying things while doing errands. Then if I do have to use a store shopping bag, I make sure to either reuse the bag as a trashbag or recycle it at my city's recycling center.

Guest's picture

We are using reusable as much as possible. Less disposable plastics, and recycling what we do use, if possible.

Guest's picture
Tracey Jones

we use the reusable grocery bags from grocery stores when we shop. and we ask friends for their plastic bags (rather than throwing them away) from stores to reuse when walking the dog as pick-up bags.

Guest's picture

I have plants around my apartment and in order to take up some of the room at the bottom I cut up some plastic bottles and put it in the bottom of the pot before putting in the soil or rocks. No one will ever know!

Look for wooden coffee stirs when you go out.

Don't put a lid on your fountain drinks.

Save cool whip, peanut butter, cottage cheese and any reasonable sized resealable container to store things in. Cottages cheese and cool whip ones are good for storing leftovers. Peanut butter jars are good for storing screws and nails. The lid won't pop off if you drop it and they are pretty durable.

Repurpose and recycle!

Guest's picture

I make a lot of my own toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, face wash), so that has cut my plastic use down by quite a lot. I keep most of what I make in glass jars that I would have recycled were they not so darn useful. I just run them through the dishwasher and they're good as new.

Guest's picture

I always take reusable bags- I have several nice ones that were cheap that you can fold up and snap closed when not in use so they don't take up alot of space- with me to stores when I shop. I recycle/reuse everything that we can recycle around here. I save any food jars that I can so that we can put leftovers in them or store/freeze stuff. It is amazing what you can recycle/reuse when you put your mind to it.

Guest's picture

I have a small dog with small poop - one "deposit" from her fills one tiny corner of a poop bag. I start with one bag in the morning and just twist the bag between uses. She eats high quality food so smell is not a problem and this longer-lasting method more than makes up for the added expense of biodegradable bags.

Guest's picture

3 things I've done come to mind: I stopped buying frozen entrees for lunch and started packing leftovers in reusable containers. I stopped buying individual cartons of yogurt and opted for the big tub -- now I make my own yogurt and reuse the old tubs to store it. I used to drink a lot of Gatorade in bottles, and now I mix it up from powder (and dilute it so it lasts longer).

Guest's picture

We save the glass jars from the products we buy and use them to store leftovers. You can reheat in them and in a pinch eat directly from them. They don't degrade and can be used indefinitely. I love them.

We've also started taking the plastic containers that cat litter comes in and use them for drip irrigation on our plants. I've cut holes in them and use them for rags and to store what few plastic bags we have. They are GREAT storage containers after they are thoroughly rinsed. I've cut one and drilled holes in the top to hole my screwdrivers and sockets in my workshop.

Guest's picture

I modify plastic bottles in various ways to use as pool/bath toys for my daughter.

Guest's picture

When going to the store, bring your own bags. Carry around your own metal utensils to avoid having to use single-use forks and knives, and when picking up lunch, I tell them I don't need a bag if I can just carry it- little things like that add up very quickly.

Guest's picture

It saddens me to see how our planet is being treated. I have never like plastics. I prefer wood and metal products and have tried to eliminate the use of plastic in my daily life. It can be quite a challenge. Most childrens toys are made of plastic. Most packaged food comes in plastic. Glossy magazines contain plastics. Eyeglasses. Retainers. Food containers (for leftovers). My wife and I bring our own cloth bags to the grocery store to reduce the use of plastic bags.

I developed Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes at the age of 38. I believe it was caused by plastics. But each day I use 5 plastic disposable needles, 7 plastic test strips (the are not reusable), and 7 plastic lancets just to deliver my insulin (without which I would be dead).

I'm having trouble convincing my wife to give up bottled water (even though we have refillable bottles). What do you do when you go on picnic with the kids on a hot summer day? One little bottle of water is insufficient.

So ... it can seem hopeless.

Guest's picture

I have a friend who is using old plastic bottles to make bird feeders. Not exactly eliminating use of plastic bottles, but it is reuse. And don't need to buy a plastic bird feeder.

Guest's picture

I use the gallon jugs from milk and fill them with the cold water from my hot water tap until the water gets hot. I water my plants with the water and hand wash my clothes in a big cooler , that i keep in my bath tub. This saves water and plastic. I pick up other people's plastic bottles cans and glass bottles) on the street and beach and give them to my neighbor who donates the money to charity. I save bubble wrap from anywhere and reuse it to repack items. I don't use plast throwaway cups- ever. If you can't stand to reuse a cup when brushing teeth -use paper ones or wash after each use. You could also put names on each cup so they wouldn't have to share toothbrushing rinse cups.

Guest's picture

Use reusable containers and buy in bulk so that you can refill these container. Use reusable shopping bags instead of the plastic. When you do use water bottles, save them and refill them several times from a filtered water source.

Guest's picture

We reuse any plastics at least once and more if safe, and recycle the plastics that we can. I always have my cloth bags with me for shopping.

Guest's picture

I start off by trying not to be anything overpackaged. I reuse anything that can be rinsed and salvaged a few more times. When we get take-out, I decline the plastic flatware. I try to use Tupperware-type containers instead of zipper-lock bags for leftovers. There's always one more little thing we can do to reduce waste!

Guest's picture

I have my local espresso shop put my iced coffee's in my Nalgene instead of using a plastic cup. They don't mind since it has markings on the side so they know they're not giving me more or less than I ordered.

Guest's picture

We joined a fruit and veg coop in Arizona, and now get all out F/V without any packaging at all. We just take along our reusable bags and fill them up.
Saves a LOT of plastic wrap and Styrofoam trays.

Guest's picture

*Recycle all plastic goods through waste management.
*Buy the plastic ziplock containers that can be reused over and over
*Do not buy bottled water, instead use your own (this way you will probably drink more water too if you always have one with you
*reuse shopping bags for trash bags, doggie droppings, yard work, and if you dont use them, take them to any wal mart and recycle them for the next people.

Guest's picture

When you put leftovers away for "tomorrow", put them in a ceramic bowl and top with a ceramic plate that fits - no possibility of plastic storage container leakage of chemicals into food and no use of plastic wrap to seal the bowl. The not-air-tight plate/bowl seal works fine for the short time you should keep leftovers.

Guest's picture

Try to avoid using plastic bags. Of course I am generally using plastic containers instead, but I am slowly switching to glass as the plastics wear out. Try to use/buy things in containers that can be reused. Don't eat out at much at places that serve your food with plastic throwaway silverware.

Guest's picture

Use a refillable mug at the convenience store fountain for soda or other beverages. No trash and you often get a better buy than if you use their cups. You can even get a cup of ice and fill with water from the machine if you don't drink soda. Much cheaper than those bottles of water.

Guest's picture

We walk to the farmer's market, grocery store, and food co-op and bring our own canvas bags. And since we wash our produce when we get home anyway, no need to wrap vegetables in the plastic provided for the walk home.

Guest's picture

We also use cloth totes for shopping. I keep a small one folded in my bag for unplanned shopping, so I never have to take a bag from any store.
If we bring a plastic bottle into the house, after it is empty, I wash it out, fill it with water and freeze it, to use in the picnic cooler.
I make small totes for the kids lunch bags, and I pack in cloth baggies I have made. Grown ups get sandwiches in a cloth wrap.
I bought flatware at a yard sale, and we never have plastic forks or spoons. Since the kids have to bring their ,lunch bag home anyway, they just bring the spoon back, too. And I made placemats with utensil "pockets" and rolled them up and jeep in the car, for any take-out meals we may have on the road. No need to take their plastic utensils.

Guest's picture

What's the carbon footprint for creating a stainless steel bottle with filter? How does that compare to a plastic bottle? Or a glass bottle? Or how about just drinking from a cup or glass several times a day and not carrying water around all the time? Most of the world, most of the time, manage life without a continuous supply of sipping water.

Guest's picture

Buy as much in bulk as possible to reduce plastic packaging. Old jars are perfect to reuse for holding your bulk items & use cloth bags for produce (& groceries) instead of plastic. When you can't avoid plastic - make sure to recycle!

Guest's picture
Ann Porter

I bought blueberries at the farmers market yesterday packed in little plastic containers. After I prepped the green beans I bought also, I put them in the leftover containers (left over from freezing 1/2 of the blueberries) instead of using plastic food storage bags. Air will circulate around them in the hydrator, keeping them fresh.

Guest's picture

The easiest of course was to stop using bottled water. We have a filtered pitcher that we keep in our fridge. We inherited 4 Nalgene bottles, which I'd very much like to swap out.

We also use cloth bags instead of accumulating plastic ones from the stores.

Most recently, I buy in bulk as much as possible and split into individual portions. Yesterday, I portioned two 32oz containers of yogurt into eight 8oz cups (saved from a prior yogurt experience; it's really hard these days to find individual cups with lids on them).

And of course, any plastic we do wind up using, we recycle.

Guest's picture

I try to buy products with minimal packaging.
aorlflood at comcast dot net

Guest's picture

Getting produce at the local farmer's market instead of the supermarket reducecs plastic because because it always has less packaging. Don't forget your reuseable shopping basket or bag. If your produce does come in packaging, you can often return it to the farmers the next time you go to the market, and they'll be happy to reuse it.

Guest's picture

I bring reusable bags to the grocery store and I try to buy products without excessive packaging.

I reuse plastic containers when I can.

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We recycle all plastic, glass, paper, etc.

We reuse the plastic OJ containers (rare to find glass anymore), fill with water and keep in frig & carry with you in the car.

Also, as mentioned always carry a couple of cloth bags in the car. Not just for supermarket but craft fairs, our local farmer's market, other shopping trips, etc.

Guest's picture

This is the second go round for my generation. We were the original recyclers because we had to be. I was raised by two depression era parents that reused or recycled everything. We made banks by turning a gallon vinegar jug on its side adding 4 feet and decorating it to look like a pig with old felt scraps. and cutting a slit at the top. They last forever and work well as a cheap craft project for all age levels.

Guest's picture

By far, the easiest way I found of reducing plastic consumption for me was to make it a complete pain in the ass to throw out the trash. At the moment, I have to go down a flight of stairs, and up two very steep grades (and then back) in order to take out my trash. Ever since then, I've been so much better about recycling, it's absurd.

I've started:
Bringing my own bags to the grocery store. Sadly, my memory sucks so I'm still not perfect about it. I am, however, seriously thinking about getting this bag, on the basis that it's hard to forget a reusable bag that's on my keychain.
Cutting my computer gear needs to a minimum. Since computer gear is inevitably horribly packed and hard to open, going off the "oh man I should upgrade my memory/mouse/graphics card whatever" cycle I was in with my self-built Windows machine has greatly reduced my trash. I switched over to Macs, which also tend to use much more eco-friendly packaging.
Using soap versus bodywash. Granted, I'm still vain and picky over what soap I use, and even with the ultra-organic homemade soaps I use, the shipping does reduce the eco-friendliness of it.
Not drinking bottled water. Between the waste and the cost, I don't drink it. I have been looking at good water bottles lately, though, since I've been letting myself get dehydrated a lot this summer. But I haven't gotten around to getting one yet.
Reusing food containers. I prefer stuff that isn't overly packaged, obviously. But I do like my yogurt, and I don't believe anyone sells that in non-plastic packaging. So I buy the largest one I can, and reuse as many as I can think of uses for. So far, they've mostly been turned into cheap tupperware. I'm starting to run out of need for tupperware, though, so I'm not sure what I'll turn it into next.
Growing my own herbs. I'll admit that herbs are expensive enough in store that I rarely bought them beforehand. But it still saves a package or two a week, and that adds up. Not to mention the flexibility and added taste it gives to my meals.

Generally, I'd say the most important step is just start paying attention to where you waste, and having the will to fix it.

Guest's picture

Some of the things I do:
1. Bring your own grocery bags.
2. Buy in bulk (i.e. get the big yogurt tub and spoon it out into individual tupperwares)
3. Ditch pop and bottled water -- bring a reusable water bottle for car trips.
4. buy a shampoo bar instead of in a bottle (the shampoo bar surprisingly lathers much better, and I don't need conditioner)
5. My work doesn't have recycling, so anything plastic I bring in my lunch (like an applesauce cup or something) goes back home with me so I can recycle it.

Guest's picture

I Make as much food at home from scratch as possible
Don't use bottled water
Try to purchase beverages and foods available in glass bottles
Use reusable bags when shopping
Don't use produce bags at the grocery store
Avoid using ziploc bags whenever possible

Guest's picture

Bring own coffee cup to coffee shop/brew own coffee.
Make your own trail mix and divvy up into reusable bags for single servings.
I keep any plastic/glass bottle, clean it and use it again to make my own eco-cleaner from vinegar/water/essential oils/ or castille soap.

Guest's picture

Buy in bulk with fabric bags, and then store them when you get home. My local co-op just started carrying bulk rice krispies -- awesome!

Guest's picture

I'm good about remembering to bring bags for grocery shopping, but I realized that it was the smaller, less planned shopping where I was collecting bags or buying bottled water. Now in my work bag I always pack a water bottle and one of those shopping bags that folds into a little pouch. It's really cut down on the plastic I accumulate.

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We buy in bulk and use tote bags.

Guest's picture

For years our family has avoided bottled water/soda and either boiled tap water instead (or used brita)/bought canned soda.
In my mum's frugality, she washes and reuses ziploc type bags all the time, they are pretty durable.
Plastic bags, when we have them, are reused to line garbage or used to store different items such as separating different clothes/miscellaneous types in closets/pantries.
Buying things with as little packaging as possible, or packaging that breaks down more easily in landfills, or recyclable.

Guest's picture

Just stop drinking soda... it's hard to tell whether diet or regular is worse for you anyway.

Guest's picture

Rather than use pots from the store to start seeds, I use my paper pot maker (a wooden form) to make pots from newspaper. Our local paper gives away it's extra papers on Sunday and I usually pick up a trunk full each season for pot making and mulch. I also have what must be the largest collection of reusable shopping bags in my county. I keep them in the trunk of my car and put them back after each trip so I am never without one for a quick market stop. Finally, If I have to buy things in plastic containers, I only buy those marked with a 1 or 2. Those plastic containers marked 5 and 7 are not recycled by the majority of recycling centers (a big deception by companies trying to appear eco-friendly).

Guest's picture

I basically just use the Scout's motto: be prepared. I carry a water bottle in my messenger bag, along with one of those fold-up grocery bags, and a couple of fabric produce bags. Having those things at the ready (and being super cognizant of my carbon footprint without hopefully being smug and annoying about it), means I have a lot more freedom to make better choices when confronted with a situation that would normally mean using plastic.

Guest's picture

To reduce plastic use, reuse plastic bags as trash bags or as lunchbags. Buy items with little packaging or recycled paper packaging, avoid individually packaged items. Use a reusable bottle and filtered tap water instead of buying bottled water.

Guest's picture

In my house we try to avoid individually wrapped items. My husband brings his lunch to work everyday and we buy big packages of things and then use plastic baggies or containers to create single servings. Then of course we wash and reuse the baggies when we can. I do the same thing with baby food... instead of the little jars (which my 8 month old would eat 4-6 of everyday) I just buy fresh food and puree it, then freeze in ice cube trays for individual servings.

Guest's picture

I keep and reuse bread bags and produce bags for wrapping up food and food storage. I also reuse water bottles by refilling them with filtered tap water.

Guest's picture

I get paper bags from the grocery store instead of plastic and then I reuse the paper bags as shipping materials for my Amazon selling business. Thus I don't use plastic shopping bags and I don't use plastic shipping bags/envelopes.

I try not to buy bottled water, but when I do, I reuse the bottles over and over again.

Guest's picture

In addition to the popular was to reduce plastic, I try to limit consumption of intentionally-shortlived disposal plastic items for babies. Probably the biggest one so far is disposable diapers.

This is not only for reasons of reducing pollution, but also my daughter's potential consumption of chemicals through exposure. I fear BPA may only be the tip of the iceberg. I also try to avoid purchasing plastic playthings for her, opting for wood or paper. Besides, she destroys or gets bored of new toys faster and faster!

Guest's picture

I have been using canvas bags from LLBeans for years for grocery and other shopping. They hold lots of stuff and stand up in the car.

I cook at home all the time and use whole fresh fruit, veggies, and grains. If you do this you produce so little waste. We take one bag every two weeks to the dump. This is all we produce even though we have our own business too and I find lately I can even get away with taking the trip every 3 weeks for the bag is not full enough.

I also make lemonade using real lemons and organic sugar from the bin at the health food store (can reuse the bag many times). The lemon peels go into the compost so I am not producing waste. I also use tea bags or mints herbs in my garden to make ice tea so again no garbage for the herbs or tea bags get composted.

This winter I have also started washing my hair with goat milk soap so I do not have to recycle a plastic shampoo bottle anymore either.

There is so much we can all work into our lives if we think and plan well to create a much better environment for all.

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I recycle any cans, bottles and plastic containers that I have to use. I have my own bag that I use when I'm out buying groceries.

I rarely use a mineral water bottle and even when I do, I fill it up again and reuse it for myself

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Rather than wrap leftovers in plastic cling wrap, put it in a rewashable container. Rather than bag items from a store in the disposable plastic bags available there, bring your own canvas bags.

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Buy things in bulk not individually wrapped items. Bring your own grocery bag and not use the wimpy plastic bags. Any plastic you do get: recycle, recycle, recycle.

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When I have potlucks with friends, someone tries to bring reusable picnic plates, glasses, and cutlerly, rather than disposables.

I also canvas shopping bags, but I do save plastic bags to donate to food banks, which often run low.

I also don't take strangely sized bags that are not a standard grocery bag, because they're nearly impossible to reuse. If I buy a book, or something small like packs of incense, I'll put it in my purse.

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I don't buy water bottles period. I have some nice jugs in my fridge and the tap water does just fine. I save a lot of money.

If there are any other plastics of which I can reuse such as containers I'll put them to work (i.e. leftovers, scooping up dogfood etc).

By and large, if I have products that our recycling guys don't yet recycle I will try and find a place for them. And really, I just try to stay away from excess packaging in the first place.

It's not that hard and I save money in the process by not using as much, reusing what I can and not throwing away as much trash (reduce, reuse, recycle).

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Pre-packaged food uses an awful lot of plastic. Think of how much plastic goes around a couple of ounces of 'food' in a Lunchables!

And please enter me in the drawing for the Echo2o bottles...

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We recycle all plastic and have all but stopped using plastic wrap (reusable tupperware to store leftovers works so much better!).

A big thing I used to do when I was working was bring my lunch to work in a reusable bento box. It was cute, gave me perfectly sized portions of food (always good to keep an eye on overconsumption), and didn't require any plastic waste. The food was made in bulk and placed in storage containers in the fridge. I also brought a travel mug for making tea in the breakroom - thereby saving me from using the plastic and styrofoam disposable cups provided.

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I eliminated the two biggest plastic bombs for babies by breastfeeding (no packaging) and cloth diapering with wool covers. Eight years later some of those diapers are still cleaning rags!

Reducing plastic is about attrition - questioning each use and finding different solutions, changing brands or habits one at a time. Do I need this product at all? If so, how else can I get it? In a different size, container, brand? Can I make it? If the only options are plastic, what is the most useful or easily recycled version?

I love liquid soaps for many reasons, but buy castile soap in a bulk refillable bottle and then portion it out into re-used foam pumps at a 1:5 soap:water ratio. A gallon jug lasts forever!

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Recycle everything you possibly can! If your community doesn't allow you to recycle #5 plastics (like yogurt containers come in) you can mail them in to be recycled -- it's worth the postage cost IMO. You can mail them to Preserve Products to be recycled into a bunch of neat things --

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I've found that reducing my consumption of plastic is a direct result of reducing my materialism in general. Find things to do that are fun and free: talk with your friends and tell stories, go on walks, or listen to music (purchased online, not from a plastic CD case). The more your life revolves around simple pleasures and not what the media tells you to want, the more plastic you'll be saving.

PS: it's always a good idea to shop at stores such as goodwill, since the reuse of items means that the environmental cost of production is that much lower.

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My husband and I:

* Use reusable bags and try to avoid produce bags.
* Make our own tea using loose leaf tea bought in bulk (and plan to start making lemonade soon, too)
* Use stainless steel water bottles
* Go the farmers' market weekly
* Try to buy food with the least packaging
* Don't buy or use a lot of disposable stuff. I use an electric razor & reusable fem. products. We both use rechargeable batteries and real dishes.
* Don't use fabric softener or jet dry or a lot of other products we don't really need (I wear some makeup, but am other-wise low maintenance in the bathroom. I don't even use conditioner or moisturizer.)
* I use tooth powder and a salt block deodorant because they last a lot longer.
* We use Pyrex bowls and glass jars instead of storing food in plastic most of the time, and do reuse zip top bags often when we do use them.
* We compost, recycle, and just throw out less stuff, so we need fewer garbage bags.

And most importantly...

* We just generally buy less stuff.

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I actually bought my own bottle at the gas station a couple weeks ago, but it tastes metallic when i drink out of it. So one of these would come in handy.

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We keep reuseable bags in the cars for last-minute grocery trips. It's a bonus that some stores give you a 5-cent credit for bringing in your own bags and Trader Joe's enters you into a raffle.

I've also started putting snacks into containers instead of using plastic baggies for everything.

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i bring my own bags to stores. otherwise i just carry out whatever i bought, i am only going to the car anyways.

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buy the toothbrushes that just switch out the head, so you buy replacement heads instead of whole new toothbrushes. also buy the dental floss that comes in a cardboard instead of of a plastic container, which also holds more so that you don't have to buy as often, and can recycle the container.

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We use reusable containers and a Pur water container.

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Ok, not used deodorant- but have you ever noticed that as you apply stick deodorant, there always seems to be quite a bit left in the container that you can't apply because of the edge of the container? There is about 1/2 to 3/4 of an ounce of extra deodrant in there that is used to 'anchor' the stick to the container.

Save your used deodorant containers, and when you have 5 or 6 of them, take them to your microwave. On 'Low', it only takes about 30 seconds to soften it enough to pour into a half empty deodorant product. Watch it carefully, then pour as soon as it's soft enough.

Depending on the brand you use, it's like getting one free stick deodorant for every 5 or so purchases. This saves plastic because you will be purchasing less deodorant.

When you're done, don't forget to carry them into your kitchen recycler!