Reduce your waste

Your family might use plastic straws, water bottles, and bags for just a few minutes, but those items don’t disappear when they’re thrown out. Single-use items like these account for more than 40 percent of plastic waste. Get tips for cutting back on waste in your house.

Bulk up

To eliminate some of the excess packaging piling up in landfills, encourage your parents to shop for snacks, cereal, and pasta in the bulk section of your grocery store (if yours doesn’t have any bulk items, check out a nearby natural food shop). Then, store it all in reusable glass jars.

Give back

Recycle whatever—and whenever—you can. This includes clothes you’ve grown out of and old toys. Instead of sending them to the dump, donate them to friends or family or to a local thrift store.

Minimize your mail

Is your mailbox always full of catalogs? Talk to your family about reducing junk mail by unsubscribing from catalogs that you don't use.

Reach for reusable

Instead of packing your sandwich and snacks in plastic bags, use reusable containers or cloth sacks instead. Same goes for your drink: Skip the juice boxes and opt for a refillable water bottle.

Bag it

Reduce the amount of plastic bags clogging up our trash and oceans by shopping with reusable bags instead.

Toss in fruit

Pack an apple, a banana, or an orange. Fruit fills you up in a healthy way, plus there’s no need for extra packaging. (Save the core, peels, and rinds for your compost bin.)

Nix paper napkins and wipe out paper towels

It’s estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper. Save some branches by bringing a cloth napkin that you can wash and reuse. Then clean up in an eco-friendly way by using cloths instead of paper towels. Make your own rags by cutting up old towels or clothes headed to the donation bin.

Credits: Billion Photos, Shutterstock (bulk); GoodMood Photo, Shutterstock; Photka, Shutterstock; HomeStudio, Shutterstock; Africa Studio, Shutterstock; HomeStudio, Shutterstock; 5 Second Studio, Shutterstock