We all know the classic “waste hierarchy” saying, reduce, reuse and recycle! But how many of us are actually reducing, reusing and recycling? Are you keeping track of your waste? Do you stay mindful of your carbon footprint? If you’ve answered both of those questions with a no, don’t feel exposed! Becoming aware of how your lifestyle impacts the environment takes time. A great place to start reducing your waste is in the kitchen. Check out 5 tips on how to swap out some everyday kitchen items for more sustainable options:

1. KICK THE COFFEE FILTERS! To reduce your paper waste, replace those paper coffee filters with a reusable coffee filter. Not only does this reduce waste, but it saves you money in the long run. Bonus: reuse those old coffee grounds by making a hand scrub or use them to scrub pots and pans! (Buy locally at Animalia SLC!)

2. REPLACE PLASTIC WRAPS/ PLASTIC BAGGIES with reusable food wraps, like ones made with beeswax. Say a much-needed goodbye to plastic and wrap your sandwiches, snacks and leftovers in an eco-friendly material.

3. TRY BULK REFILLS. There’s no need to continue buying multiple plastic containers filled with cleaning products every other week at the grocery store. Reuse those bottles and refill them with sustainable cleaning products at a local bulk refill spot like Animalia SLC or Hello Bulk Markets.

4. RECYCLE! THE RIGHT WAY! Glass, styrofoam, plastic bags, food wrappers and napkins/tissues are all things that CANNOT be recycled in your recycling bin. Be sure to swap the plastic bags for reusable ones and take glass to the many glass recycling locations around the city and/or sign up for curbside glass recycling. Visit recyleutah.org or slc.gov/sustainability to learn more about recycling.

5. AMERICA LOVES THEIR PAPER TOWELS… But it’s a toxic relationship, according to the EPA paper and paperboard products made up the largest percentage of all the materials in municipal solid waste. So replace paper towels with darker colored towelettes. Reserve a towelette for each form of cleaning, one for glass, one for dishes, one for the usual kitchen wipe down. After a day or two of use, wash and reuse them! It’s that simple.

Want to find out what your carbon footprint is? Take a quiz here to find out!

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