Plastic baggies are incredibly convenient because they’re easy to tuck in a lunchbox or purse. But after one use, they are fodder for a landfill heap. Using just two a week means throwing out more than 100 baggies—plus the money you spend on them—a year, says Lisa Beres, a building biologist and healthy home expert and author. And sending your kids to school with those bags every day makes the numbers add up even faster. Instead, use a reusable baggie like (re)zip, which are more durable but just as lightweight and compact as a disposable Ziploc. A two-pack costs about $8, so the savings will add up when you keep reusing instead of buying new. Find out the 11 Trader Joe’s items you should never buy.
Americans use an estimated 500 million straws a day—that’s a lot of plastic going into landfills! If you like sipping your beverages through a straw, switch to a reusable glass, metal, or bamboo straw, says Jonathan Zaidman, head of regional expansion for The Ecology Center. Even if you stock reusable straws at home, you can’t control restaurants that deliver a straw for every drink and refill, whether you use it or not. But you can ask your server not to leave any when you get your drinks. “It takes a little time to get used to remembering to ask, and oftentimes you ask and the server will still bring you a straw,” says Zaidman, “but we think … taking that first consumer step forward is a beneficial and impactful way to make change.” These eco-friendly habits will save you money.