A million-bottle start with Plastic Bank

If you’ve been following our adventure for a while, you’re quite familiar with our mission of eliminating plastic waste and improving the health of our planet, not just with our sustainable self-cleaning water bottles, but also with our philanthropic initiatives. We’re proud members of 1% for the Planet, a network of nonprofit organizations and like-minded businesses that are proactively saving the world. 

LARQ Bottles at the beach - Pictured in Granite White and Seaside Mint color combinations

What’s the problem, anyway? 

Every minute, 1 million single-use plastic bottles are purchased. If we don’t act now, this number is predicted to increase by 20% by 2021. In addition, only 9% of plastic ever produced has been recycled. 

So, where does it all end up?

plastic bottle waste floating in the ocean

Plastic ends up in landfills, littered all over the world, and in rivers that lead to our oceans. They take approximately 1,000 years to decompose, simultaneously leaching toxic chemicals like BPA (Bisphenol-A), a known carcinogen into marine life, soil, and consequently, our food. The average person ingests about 70,000 microplastics a year–that’s about 100 pieces of plastic per meal. With this, comes long-term consequences to your health, which is why our passion for ending single-use plastic consumption is so great. 

As the world’s single-use plastic consumption is skyrocketing in today’s climate, we were eager to find a nonprofit to partner with that can help. We’re proud to announce that we’ve partnered up with Plastic Bank to help clean up our oceans. 

plastic bank logo transparent background

Plastic Bank has employed over 4300+ collectors around the world to intercept ocean-bound plastic. Our impact helps clean up the ocean and provides a living wage to families in developing countries like Haiti, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Plastic Bank translates the plastic collected into currency, ethically boosting local economies, and educating the next generation about waste management and its environmental impacts. Plastic Bank is also the only platform that directly impacts 14 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and indirectly supports the remaining 3.

With Plastic Bank, every $1 helps to prevent 100 single-use plastic bottles from entering the ocean. We’ve partnered with Plastic Bank to remove 1 million ocean-bound single-use plastic bottles. Together we can make an even greater impact.

oStarting May 12, 1% of every LARQ Bottle or LARQ Bottle Movement purchase helps to remove ocean-bound plastic waste. 

What can you do?

LARQ Bottle Movement in White/Coral color combination (24 oz, 740ml)

  1. Refuse single-use plastic as much as possible. Letting go of our dependence on single-use plastic like plastic wrap, bottled water, plastic utensils, and plastic bags will have a huge impact on our health and the future of our world. It may be difficult now, in many ways, we can end our dependence on single-use plastic and explore reusable options instead–even during a pandemic. If you’re looking for substitutions for normal household single-use plastic, check out our article on ways to live a more sustainable plastic-free lifestyle with some reusable swaps
  2. By switching to a sustainable water bottle like LARQ, you can help keep 1,460 plastic bottles per year from ending up in the ocean. 
  3. Support environmental nonprofits like Plastic Bank either by a direct donation or by purchasing a LARQ Bottle or LARQ Bottle Movement. Every purchase helps remove plastic waste from the ocean! 
  4. Educate those around you about the impact of single-use plastic waste, and be an advocate for living a plastic-free lifestyle. 

For those who can, we encourage you to take action. Together, we can make a change. 



How to live sustainably during a pandemic

These days, living a sustainable lifestyle seems to have taken a backseat to grabbing what we can from the stores while they’re still on the shelves. Seriously, why can’t a person find paper towels or toilet paper anywhere? Whether it’s the result of hoarding or that people simply have been using more due to quarantine, this is a cause for reflection on how much we’re using. 

In recent news, grocery stores have temporarily banned reusable grocery bags from entering the premises. In addition, quarantine or shelter-in-place for COVID-19 means that more people are ordering takeout than before. This is causing a major spike in plastic consumption during this time and expected to rise as more time passes. 

Reduce, reuse, recycle–is this possible during a coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, or rather any global crisis for that matter? We think so. If you really thought about it, you could very well find workarounds for using say, too many paper towels, or too much plastic wrap, or even too many disinfectant wipes. 

Refrain from buying bottled water

The importance of sustainable habits and living a mindful lifestyle is more important than ever. As we approach Earth Day, we want to drive home the fact that people are buying more plastic bottled water than ever, among other products, that add to the single-use waste issue. Bottled water should be used as a last resort in disaster situations to provide relief to the masses. Not for daily consumption. 

Plastic bottles are made with toxic chemicals like BPA that will leech into the very water it’s bottling, and as you can gather, you’d be exposing yourself to unnecessary chemicals by drinking it. Instead, use a filter system to eliminate heavy metals from your tap water, or use your LARQ Bottle to purify and eradicate germs from your water. 

Reduce paper towel use 

If you got your hands on paper towels, that’s great! But that doesn’t mean that you should use them to your heart’s content. Paper towels can be used for everything under the sun, but if you’re using a sheet every single time you wash your hands, this can get quite wasteful. 

The CDC recommends washing hands thoroughly and wiping dry on a clean cloth or air drying. The important steps are lathering with soap and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds (about the length of singing “Happy Birthday” twice). Use a clean cloth to wipe your hands. You should replace your hand towels routinely depending on how many people in your household are using it–the frequency should be increased if there are more people using the same cloth after washing. 

For light kitchen spills or cleaning, use a washcloth for spot cleaning countertops after cooking instead of using paper towels or disinfectant wipes every time. Simply hand wash the washcloth with dish soap and warm water after each use and hang it to dry. 

You can probably tell there are a lot of little ways to reduce your paper towel use. Always reuse when you can. And please, don’t hoard essential products like this from people who might desperately need them. People caring for infected loved ones at home or severely ill individuals need these to take extra precautions at home. 

Be stingy with your disinfectant wipes

Some of us are in a place where nothing that enters the home without a good disinfectant wipe-down, and with good reason. However, being extra careful doesn’t mean being extra wasteful. With wipes, we all know sometimes they’re a little too saturated or the sheets are too large for what you’re using them for. 

How I’m living now with my partner has changed drastically since our pre-shelter-in-place days. First of all, before quarantining, I only used disinfectant wipes to do a weekly deep clean of my room, living areas, kitchen, and the bathroom. Now, it’s used for everything that enters the house. So, we try to cut down our sheets if we only ordered a few grocery items via Instacart, or packages from Amazon. If we did a big grocery haul, we cut a sheet in half and divide and conquer. For phones and other electronics, we’ve been using 91% Isopropyl that we already had on hand, soaked a tiny spot of this on half of a cotton pad (yes, we’re being stingy with this too), and wipe our phones down. Alternatively, we’ve been using our Bust-a-germ box to do a zero-waste UV-sanitization clean. The Bust-a-germ box was a really quick and easy DIY on how to build your own UV-sanitizer to utilize with your LARQ Bottle caps you already have. We built two Bust-a-germs for our phones, keys, hand sanitizer, and even our reusable face masks. Basically, anything that we took with us out goes into the Bust-a-germ as soon as we get home and finish washing our hands. 

Use your DIY Bust-a-germ box

The Bust-a-germ box is no doubt the best method to sanitize sustainably and without the use of scarce resources like disinfectant wipes or sprays. This DIY UV-sanitization chamber we concocted uses your LARQ Bottle cap’s PureVis™ technology to neutralize bio-contaminants from your household objects without the use of harsh chemicals or supplies you can use for other things. This device has saved us from using too many disinfectant wipes and sprays which we use on larger surfaces and objects in the house. Did you know your LARQ Bottle’s technology could do all that? Well yes, it can, and all the while, it’s doing the same thing in your water bottle to purify water and keep it bacteria-free. 

Make your own reusable face mask

The CDC is officially recommending the public to use or make reusable cloth face masks instead of buying N95 masks or even surgical masks as these should be reserved for our frontline healthcare professionals. In fact, we donated the 1,000 face masks that we had on hand to healthcare heroes fighting COVID-19. And instead, we’re using our own reusable cloth face masks, reducing the amount of time we’re out to avoid exposure, and staying 6ft apart from others when we are out. 


Reusable cloth face masks are more environmentally friendly than single-use masks. They’re not meant for people who are regularly interacting with a loved one who is ill, but are for everyone who is not working the frontlines during COVID-19. Just remember to launder or hand wash your reusable face masks routinely (depending on the frequency of use) and follow the CDC’s guidelines on how to make reusable cloth masks

Use reusable containers or eco-friendly cling wrap

Due to the quarantine, we’re staying home and cooking a lot more, which also means that there is the potential need for plastic sandwich bags and saran wrap for storing leftovers. Not to mention all the takeout containers for those days where you’re ordering in instead. 

If you’re cooking up a storm and have leftovers, opt to use your reusable food containers instead or eco-friendly cling wrap made from silicone or beeswax instead of saran wrap. 

As for your frequent takeout situation, we believe you should support local restaurants, but try to limit the amount of takeout you’re ordering in a week. Or, make a note to the restaurant to omit single-use cutlery from the order, or encourage restaurants to use paper instead of plastic. 

Prevent food waste 

For those of us who aren’t used to cooking every meal, cooking at home can be challenging and inadvertently result in food waste. An easy way to prevent this is to plan ahead. Do your research on some meals you want to cook. It’s important to find recipe ideas that call for similar ingredients. Also, keep some produce on hand that you know you can whip up something fast with like avocado toast, grilled cheese, or a caesar salad. Just remember to consume within a week to avoid food waste! If you haven’t already, compost any food scraps. This reduces the volume of waste going into landfills and helps repurpose organic material. 

Reuse glass jars

Whether you’re buying tomato sauce or jams, opt for glass jarred products instead of plastic at the grocery store when possible. These glass jars can be recycled or even upcycled as containers around the house. You can grow your own scallions in just some water in a glass, and 2-3 inches of the root of the scallion. You can organize your snacking nut collection in jars or make some overnight oats in them too! Think beyond the kitchen and organize your push pins or paper clips in the glass jars. The possibilities are endless.

Take shorter showers

Water conservation is more important than ever as more products are being produced all the time. Most processing, produce, and production requires an amount of freshwater and carbon emissions. Only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater supply, and 70% of that freshwater supply is used for agriculture. With everyone (hopefully) washing their hands frequently, we’ll need to find other ways to conserve water. 


World Water Day 2020: What It is and How You Can Help

There are a ton of “holidays” throughout the year to get excited about (hey there, Ice Cream Day), but let’s step back a minute to observe something way more pressing–World Water Day. This and other environmental awareness dates like Earth Day (April 22) and World Environment Day (June 5) are designated days to bring attention to the environmental crises our world faces each day.

What is World Water Day?

International World Water Day is held on March 22 each year. The importance of World Water Day is to bring attention to the lack of access to safe drinking water to impoverished and disadvantaged individuals around the world and to advocate for more sustainable management of freshwater resources. Every year, events are held around the world on this day to bring awareness and action upon people who have the power to inspire change.


This international day to celebrate freshwater was suggested at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. Shortly after, the United Nations General Assembly designated March 22, 1993, as the first World Water Day.

Why World Water Day?

World Water Day invites people around the world to observe and take this day as an opportunity to learn more about water-related issues around the world, to spread awareness regarding access to water, and to make an impact on the global water crisis. We should really be aware of our water usage year-round, but having a dedicated day is like a reminder that we all need to be a bit more conscious.

If you’re here, you’re making the effort to learn about what World Water Day really means, and that’s the essence of it, so GO YOU.

What is this year’s World Water Day theme?

Every year, UN-Water sets a theme for World Water Day that corresponds to a current or future challenge. The central theme for World Water Day 2019 is ‘Leaving no one behind’, an adaptation of UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6)’s core promise to bring access to clean water to every person on earth by 2030, also known as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit.

Last year’s theme was ‘The Answer is in Nature’. World Water Day 2020’s theme will be about climate change.

What problem does World Water Day aim to solve?

Billions of people are still living without safe water worldwide–households, schools, workplaces, farms, and factories struggle to survive and thrive. The lack of access to clean water occurs in marginalized groups–women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, disabled people, and many others–and they struggle to gain access to the safe water they need and deserve due to discrimination. Examples of some of the ‘grounds for discrimination’ are sex and gender, race, ethnicity, religion, birth, caste, language, and nationality, disability, age, health status, property, tenure, residence, economic and social status–among others.

It is important to think of clean water as a basic human right. It’s a critical resource that everyone should have access to. The water crisis is a public health issue as well as a sustainable development issue that we need to work together to improve.

Water Sanitation and Hygiene

Without proper systems in place for water sanitation, contamination between water sources can pose a real problem for communities. Along with the issue of accessibility to clean water, people all over the world are still prone to disease from contaminated water and unhygienic water conditions that can lead to death.

Warning: Some of the following statistics might shock you.

Facts about Water Sanitation and Hygiene from the World Health Organization

  • 71% of the global population is using a safely managed drinking water service
  • 2 billion people around the world are using a drinking water source that is contaminated with fecal matter
  • 68% of the global population uses improved sanitation facilities Water sanitation is critical for public health. Good sanitation practices prevent diseases including diarrhea, intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and trachoma, which affect millions of people today.
  • 2.1 billion people have access to improved sanitation facilities and sanitation services since 1990
  • 842,000 deaths by diarrhea per year resulting from a lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation and hygiene
  • 58% of the diarrheal deaths could be prevented through safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene

Visit for more information.

Facts about the Global Water Crisis from

  • 1 in 9 people lack access to safe water
  • 1 in 3 lack access to a toilet
  • 844 million people are living without access to safe water
  • 2.3 billion people are living without access to improved sanitation
  • women and girls around the world spend approximately 200 million hours every day collecting water
  • every 2 minutes, a child dies from a water-related disease
  • 1/3 of all schools lack access to water and sanitation, taking time away from school and play
  • the 3rd leading cause of child death is diarrhea, caused by unsafe water

Visit for more information.

Ways to Observe World Water Day

  1. Conserve water at home
    Even though it may not seem like you use a lot of water, being mindful of your water footprint is an important step toward conservation. Reduce the amount of time it takes for you to shower, invest in water-saving toilets, low flow shower-heads, reduce the number of times you run the laundry machine–every bit counts.
  2. Organize a campaign to raise funds and awareness

    Spread the word about the global water crisis. It’s important to talk about water issues and how they can be mitigated across the world. Discuss what can be done to improve water quality through proper water services and how water sources can be brought to water-scarce areas. You can also donate your birthday to a cause via Facebook, a crowdfunding tool that allows you to raise awareness and funds for a non-profit of your choice.
  3. Companies can contribute too
    Setting an example in your industry or for your employees can help boost company morale and culture. Your company can seek opportunities to aid the water crisis by partnering with non-profit organizations, becoming sponsors for water projects, and implementing sustainable practices company-wide.
    At LARQ, we’re doing our part by partnering with 1% for the Planet, an organization that aims to amplify the impact of member-nonprofit partnerships through strategic donations to fuel environmental change. By contributing to 1% for the Planet, we’re benefiting nonprofits in that help improve our environment and protect the planet from further damage. This network of environmental non-profits includes organizations in the land, climate, food, pollution, water, and wildlife sectors. For 2020, we’re committing 1% of proceeds to Well Aware, a member of 1% for the Planet that builds water systems in communities lacking access to safe drinking water. These well systems are life-changing. No longer do women and children need to walk miles to get water–missing work or school in the process. Access to safe water also reduces disease rates otherwise caused by drinking contaminated water.
  4. If you would like to contribute financially to the water crisis, here’s a list of nonprofit organizations that help close the gap for access to water around the world:

1% for the Planet

Become a member as a business or as an individual in 1% for the Planet’s member-nonprofit network. You’ll be contributing to global environmental causes–water-related and other.

Well Aware

Well Aware is a nonprofit organization based in Austin, TX that builds sustainable water systems in communities lacking access to safe drinking water. With Well Aware’s help, disease rates are reduced by at least 64% and education is increased by 34%. It’s amazing what clean water can do for communities. Further instilling the fact that water is a privilege–not a right. For the year 2020, LARQ is donating 1% of all proceeds to Well Aware to support their efforts. In addition, the LARQ Bottle Benefit Edition donates 5% of proceeds to Well Aware.


With Charity:Water, 100% of your donation will bring clean water to people in need. They partner with local organizations worldwide to provide sustainable water and sanitation services. They’ve funded 35,281 water projects for 9.5 million people all over the globe, and want to continue to do this with your help. To help with the water crisis, LARQ helped fund a water project in Uganda with Charity:Water during the launch of our self-cleaning water bottle. We believe in action more than words, and intend to continue bringing awareness to the water crisis and environmental pollution. wants to bring access to safe water and sanitation by providing help with small, affordable loans. They make your $1 donation go further by putting it into something called WaterCredit, which creates $47 worth of impact. Founders, Matt Damon and Gary White, discovered this smart sustainable solution to the water crisis, helping to bring water and sanitation expertise to people in need.


Established in 1981, WaterAid equips people with clean water and functioning toilets to normalize a clean quality of life. By focusing on bringing clean water, toilets, and promoting good hygiene, WaterAid hopes to reduce the number of child deaths resulting from diarrhea and transform people’s lives for good.

Planet Water Foundation

Planet Water Foundation supports more than 1 million people in 13 countries by bringing clean water to impoverished communities. Their chief water projects include the “AquaTower” and “AquaHome”, community-based water filtration systems that are installed to provide access to clean water, coupled with Water-Health and Hygiene Education programs. Planet Water Foundation focuses its efforts on schools, children, and rural communities across the Asia-Pacific Region and Latin America.

Water For People

Water For People’s goal is to promote the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services, to make them accessible to all, and to be sustained by strong communities, businesses, and governments. Water For People explores possibilities for innovation, cost reduction, and overall improvements of the communities they support.


As a Christian clean water organization, Lifewater has been bringing clean water, improved health, and gospel hope to people living in extreme poverty around the world. Donate directly to a project of your choice on their website.


Help Blood:Water equip African organizations with the resources to provide access to clean water through technologies. They also support individuals affected by HIV/AIDS on medical, psychological, social, cultural, material, and legal levels throughout their illness.

The spirit of generosity is about giving and empowering, and that’s exactly what does. They focus on water and sanitation to give clean water to impoverished peoples, medical aid, education, family support, and much more.


The goal of Splash is focused on bringing clean drinking water to children by providing customized hygiene education services, to change lives by bringing safe water to kids in schools, orphanages, hospitals and shelters around the world.

Remember, water is a basic human need and no one should be left behind. Let’s help the entire population of the earth to gain access to clean water by 2030!


Step up your sustainable shoe game

More than 20 billion pairs of shoes have been produced worldwide. On average, one shoe produces 30 pounds of carbon dioxide. Plus, it takes on average 30 to 40 years to decompose. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Americans alone throw away at least 300 million pairs of shoes per year. That’s a lot of waste. 

If you reflect on how many shoes you’ve purchased in your lifetime–we’re talking from the time you could even crawl or walk ‘til now–how many shoes do you think you’ve gone through? Where did those old shoes go? 

On the bright side, sustainability has become a priority with many companies, big and small, and there’s a huge demand for more sustainable footwear and sustainable practices. 


It’s no secret that the textile industry is a primary contributor to pollution on a global scale. The processing that it takes to produce new textiles requires an abundance of resources and results in a large carbon footprint. Likewise with footwear, producing these new textiles is extremely wasteful, but companies are starting to change this by finding carbon-neutral solutions such as using wool or natural fibers instead of synthetic. 


Another main component of shoes is rubber to form rubber outsoles. The majority of shoes produced use synthetic rubber. This results in the release of more waste than the volume of rubber output. The danger of this is that the process of making synthetic rubbers forms volatile organic compounds that include suspected carcinogens. We don’t have to tell you the adverse effects of these, now do we? Cariuma, a footwear brand from Rio, Brazil, uses natural rubber found in the hevea brasiliensis tree. By ethically tapping hevea brasiliensis trees to harvest the milky sap, the unharmed trees can continue to live and convert carbon dioxide into oxygen for us. This is a model example of how to reduce the environmental impact of footwear, but it’s a rare case in the shoe industry. 

Recycled Plastic

Other companies in the shoe industry are making moves to reduce their footprint by recycling post-consumer plastics. We can’t inform people enough that 1 million single-use plastic bottles are being used and tossed away per minute. After decades of this kind of gross use of single-use plastic bottles, we’re up to our eyeballs in it. Rothy’s, a women and children’s shoe company, makes shoes from recycled plastic bottles. Post-consumer plastic bottles are taken through a process that spins them into a thread that they work into a textile for shoes. Allbirds, another sustainable shoe company, makes sleek shoelaces from plastic bottles too.

Natural Materials

Moreover, Allbirds also uses better-for-the-planet materials to make the rest of their shoes. Materials like insoles made of merino wool produced using castor oil instead of petroleum-based foam. Or, their carbon negative green EVA called SweetFoam™, made from Brazilian sugarcane instead of synthetic rubber.

Closing the loop

Another piece is closing the loop on footwear altogether. Nike is a star example of this. They have been recycling shoes for a while now. In fact, 71% of Nike’s footwear and apparel products are made with Nike Grind, their trademarked recycled textiles. Yes, your beloved Flyknit Vapormax’s are made from recycled materials! They also offer a recycling program, Reuse-a-shoe, where anyone can drop off their old shoes for Nike to recycle and produce new ones. What better way to recycle your old shoes than with the sportswear giant that can turn them into premium performance gear? In addition to Nike’s commitment to go zero waste, Nike also launched a new footwear collection aptly named “Space Hippie”, an exploratory collection inspired by life on Mars. The collection marries sustainable practices and radical design. Space Hippie is made from scraps they call “Space Junk” that includes at least 85% rPoly made from recycled plastic water bottles, t-shirts, and yarn scraps. 

Luckily, more and more brands are adopting sustainable practices and going zero waste. We’re hoping to see this trend skyrocket in the coming years.


Tips for nurturing your dream sustainable home

Is your home eco-friendly? Take a few tips from the experts. You don’t have to break the bank in order to save the planet (believe it or not). And you don’t have to completely change your home’s aesthetic either if you don’t want to. One of the keys to cultivating an eco-friendly home is to buy less. 

Yes, the minimalistic approach to home design can be more eco-friendly but we’ll talk more on that later. 

Be mindful

Be mindful of what you bring into your home. This is the foundation of any sustainable home and sustainable lifestyles. Being mindful means that you are considering the outcomes and repercussions of your purchase. Does it add value to your space? Does it perform multiple functions that improve your quality of life? What is the longevity of the item? How likely are you to keep it for years to come? Considering these questions and more can help guide your decision–a decision that mitigates waste. 

Go for minimal

We’re not saying everyone needs to be a minimalist, but taking a minimalistic approach to your home can be more sustainable in the sense that you should be buying less. Think Marie Kondo–only keep what sparks joy in your life and nothing else. Taking this approach will help you build a home free of clutter and distractions–just pure oasis (what a home should be in our opinion). More stuff means more potential for trash. Let’s face it–impulse purchases are not our best moments, but they tend to happen. 

Energy-efficient appliances and lighting fixtures

Daily use of appliances and light is a fact of life, but there are ways to make it sustainable. For starters, switch to energy-efficient everything. Your refrigerator, toaster oven, microwave, laundry machine (washer and dryer), lightbulbs, TVs–you name it. 

Water-saving appliances and fixtures

Similar to energy-efficient appliances, there are water-saving ones too. Think about your dishwasher, kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower, and even your toilet. Swapping out old fixtures (if the house was built before 1994) can reduce your water consumption and lower the water bill. Who doesn’t want that? 

Our friends at Nebia, partnered up with Moen to create the latest water-saving shower: Nebia by Moen. The Nebia Shower is a piece of luxury in itself with its proprietary H2Micro technology that optimizes droplet size and controlled water coverage to have maximum impact without the extra water. The latest project, Nebia by Moen aims to reach more homes than ever in order to save one billion gallons of water by 2021. You can actually become a Kickstarter backer and receive your own Nebia by Moen shower (starting at $160) now until February 28. 

Sustainable materials

The demand for eco-friendly materials in homes has grown just over the last few years, so naturally, eco-friendly materials for the home are more accessible than ever. So your dream sustainable home is certainly within reach.


Unlike wood, bamboo is a highly renewable resource. It requires minimal care and water to produce. Technically, bamboo is a grass, not a tree. And it grows at a higher rate than trees do; it takes just three to five years for bamboo to regrow to its full adult size. Bamboo is naturally pest-resistant (no need for pesticides in growing it), antibacterial, antifungal, and requires far less water than similar plants. It’s also better for the environment–absorbing 5 times more carbon dioxide, and producing 35% more oxygen than similar plants. 

FSC-certified wood

Wood is a luxurious component to add in your home, but it can be costly for the environment. Shop responsibly for FSC-certified wood. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible and sustainable forest management. This certification indicates that the wood was sourced from a responsibly-managed forest.

Reclaimed, recycled or salvaged wood

These tend to be used interchangeably, so we’ll define them for you. Reclaimed wood is wood taken from old buildings, warehouses, or ships, that are then upcycled and repurposed. Its physical properties are not changed. Recycled wood refers to wood that is reconstructed into a new product. Salvaged wood refers to unused wood such as fallen branches, trees or logs.


Similar to bamboo, this natural material also grows quickly and uses minimal energy and resources to produce. Since it’s a natural material, it is also biodegradable and recyclable.

Recycled plastic, metal, and other recycled materials

As aforementioned, the demand for more sustainable furniture is on the rise, and so are the options. When shopping for furniture, keep an eye out for furniture made from recycled materials. These can comprise of anything from recycled ocean plastic, to recycled metal, and even stone. 

Natural fabrics and textiles

Textiles can have a major impact on the home, adding texture and warmth. For home textiles such as throw blankets, rugs, bedding, towels, and window treatments, seek out organic products. Processing takes a lot of energy and resources and varies drastically. Certified organic textiles can be identified by GOTS- (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification. This certification is the standard for processing organic fibers and certifies the ecological and social criteria of the entire supply chain. Organic fibers include cotton, organic wool, bamboo, hemp, jute, linen, ramie, and Tencel–to name a few. 

Buy used. Upcycle. Get creative. 

Depending on the type of furniture, buying used can be a bit taboo. We’d steer clear of buying a used mattress from someone you don’t know. You know, for hygienic reasons. But how about that cool vintage dresser at the antique store? Or that free coffee table at the yard sale? Part of fostering your sustainable home is to find new ways to buy less. 

Oftentimes, these can add a whole lot of character to your space, or they can be refinished to fit your home. After all, who doesn’t love a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture that makes a bold statement or tells a story?

Donate or give away your old stuff

If you can, donate, resell, or give away your used furniture and household items instead of hauling them to the landfill. You never know if someone could potentially upcycle or reuse the item for years to come. 



The Planetary Health Diet

The diet that can save the world

The issue 

Our world population is growing at a rapid rate–currently close to 8 billion people worldwide, and expected to surpass 10 billion people by 2050. At this rate, today’s eating habits continue to pose fatal health problems and severe global warming. 


According to the EAT-Lancet Report, “food is the single strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth.” Yet, malnutrition or poor quality diets and overeating are threatening both people and the planet. If eating habits don’t change now, the world we leave for our children will be severely degraded, where an increasing percentage of the population will continue to suffer from malnutrition and preventable disease.

The solution

A collection of 37 world-leading scientists from 16 countries in various disciplines, the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, and Health, put together the first full scientific review of a sustainable, healthy diet that benefits the health of humans as well as the planet. By assessing existing scientific evidence, the Commission defined a framework for the Planetary Health Diet that is sustainable for both human health and the environment. 


You’ve heard it before and here it is again–eat your vegetables. There’s no surprise that the Planetary Health Diet focuses on diverse plant-based foods, as these require far fewer resources to produce than their animal-based counterparts. In addition to diverse plant-based foods, the Planetary Health Diet also encourages the consumption of unsaturated fats rather than saturated fats, and whole grains. 


What this sustainable diet limits is–as you can guess–all the bad stuff. Limit the amount of refined grains, highly processed foods, and added sugars as well as animal-based products and meat. Notice this diet is not about quitting anything cold turkey, but rather reducing consumption of less sustainable and less healthy food choices so that people can live better for longer. 

animal-based foods more resource-intensive than plant-based foods
Source: World Resources Institute

In developing this diet, the Commission collected data regarding plant-based and animal-based foods and ranked them by their carbon footprint. Beef, unsurprisingly, has the largest carbon footprint; it’s resource-intensive meaning it uses significantly more land, freshwater, and produces higher CO2 emissions than any other food. 

Environmental impacts aside, red meat is also harmful to your health in high quantities. According to a study published in the European Heart Journal, daily consumption of red meat tripled trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) in patients, a chemical linked to heart disease.  Furthermore, the World Health Organization even classifies processed meat (like hotdogs and bacon) as carcinogens, known to increase risk for certain diseases and cancers.


The difference between the Planetary Health Diet and other plant-based diets is that the Commission is outlining a reduction in the foods that produce a high number of carbon emissions with the lowest health benefits. A guideline for following the Planetary Health Diet is reducing the intake of eggs, fish, refined sugars, and meat by less than 50 grams per day. This equates to doubling consumption of healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts) and reducing 50% of global consumption of less healthy foods such as added sugars and red meat. 


In the culinary space, world-class chefs see the importance of ingredients that nourish our bodies and the planet, developing recipes featured on EAT-Lancet’s website as well as boasting these same sustainable food ideals in their own restaurants. It proves that food can be delicious without the need for excessive amounts of meat or animal-based products. Take to Eat-Lancet’s website for Planetary Health Diet recipe ideas you’ll want to try tonight.


This diet, along with leading a sustainable lifestyle by cutting out waste, can save the world so that our Earth can sustain us past 2050 (that’s in 30 years!). If more people reduced their consumption of high-resource foods, we will be steps closer to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement so we can leave a world for today’s children to inhabit for a lifetime.


How to organize a beach clean-up

It’s no secret that plastic is basically the enemy of all species–especially to the ocean–and here’s one way to help: a beach clean-up. Plastic has an effect on everyone, it’s found in 62% of all seabirds, 100% of all turtles, and guess what? It’s in the fish we eat too, so chances are we’ve ingested quite a bit of plastic over the years. 


A beach clean-up is not only a great way to clean your local beach or waterway to prevent more plastic and other waste from entering the ocean, but it’s also a way to get others involved and to spread awareness about the effects of single-use plastic consumption on our planet, a way to educate others about proper recycling techniques, and to encourage everyone to reduce their consumption of single-use plastic. Here’s how you can do all that:

Choose a location

Whether it’s a beach, lake, or river, cleaning up litter around waterways prevents more of it from ending up in the ocean–so you don’t have to be in a coastal city to do your part. The location can be anywhere you frequent or a popular destination among the locals. Your community will thank you for it–and so will marine life! 

Promote on social media 

Keep your event organized by creating an event page on Facebook. You can set the page to “Public” and invite your friends and family to share your event with their friends, friends of friends, and the sharing continues!


  • When should I start promoting my event? Do this a month or two in advance to ensure that people can make time for it in their calendars, but not too much earlier where people forget about it! The key to a great turn out is how much buzz you can create. 


  • How do I write the description? Make sure the description of the event gets people excited to join your event. State why you decided to do a beach clean-up and how it benefits our Earth. Educate your fellow humans on the environmental and social impact this clean-up will have and how it will benefit us all. Also, include details on the event page for what to bring, what supplies people can donate, and anything else people might find helpful! You can take this opportunity to drop some stats too so that people know what the issue is and how this particular clean-up will help!


  • How do I promote my event? Invite friends and family to participate, spread the word, or donate money to the event. Sometimes people have prior engagements and can’t make it to the event, or don’t have the capacity to make it out to the location, but people are more willing to help than you may think! Encourage people to (at the very least) share the event so that it reaches people who can show up and are happy to help the clean-up! You can also offer an option for people to donate supplies for the clean-up, hauling services, or even donate money to purchase supplies and to cover other expenses the clean-up might entail. 


  • What other ways are there to promote my event? In addition to Facebook, promote your event on any and all other channels as well! Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit, Twitch–anywhere. A unique hashtag for the event will also help you generate buzz and help build recognition between channels. Have a graphic design friend or have some design skills yourself? Create some awesome graphics to help spread the word. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words! Videos? Even better. 


Practice proper waste disposal

Have designated bags for trash, glass, plastic, cans, scrap metals, etc. (educate participants on what goes where!). It might be helpful to distribute a digital cheat sheet of the types of waste people might find, where they go and where to put them. You might even want to have someone who knows the waste disposal system pretty well to help others figure out where to put their items. This will help minimize any incorrect disposals that may jam up the recycling process and cause problems for the waste management facility. 


Recyclables, liquids, compost, hazardous materials, scrap metal, and landfill waste must be organized into separate bins. Plan ahead so you have a good system in place that won’t get confusing over time. 


We can’t stress the importance of proper waste disposal enough! This is the perfect opportunity to educate people on how to recycle properly since this applies to how they recycle at home as well. What your local waste management company is able to take varies by location so be sure to check with them before you hold your event. 

Helpful contacts

If this is your first time putting together an event, remember–you’re not alone! Leverage your friends and family who are as passionate about this cause as you are and seek out help from others! Here are some helpful groups of people to reach out to that can provide some guidance and support for your beach clean-up:


Connect with local park rangers

For any medium-sized or large event, it’s always a good idea to make sure that law enforcement gets a heads-up. There might be supplies you were thinking about bringing that isn’t allowed. Local park rangers are the perfect people to ask questions about where to park, how to get there, the best routes to use for efficiently disposing of waste, whether or not there are dumpsters nearby or if you’d have to use a hauling service to take the collected waste to a nearby waste management facility. 


Connect with local waste management facility

It’s very important to educate your volunteers about proper recycling procedure and what goes where. Did you know that plastic toothbrushes are not recyclable? It’s because they have nylon bristles attached to them. The goal here is to be able to minimize the number of items that go into the landfill by filtering out recyclables and delivering them to the proper recycling facilities. However, some things do have to go to the landfill, and your local waste management facility will be able to tell you what goes where. 


Contact municipality

It does take a bit of leg work, coordinating, and money to haul litter away and the waste management facility does charge for its services as well. Sometimes, the city will want to step in to provide some help taking care of these types of expenses and provide hauling services as a courtesy for the cleanup. Compose a professional email detailing your event and what your goals are, how it will benefit the community, and how big of a turnout you expect. It might also be helpful to provide some images of the location you are planning to hold the clean-up. Don’t forget to provide your own contact information and the event page so city employees have a lot of information to base their decision on! 


Monetary donations

If you’re doing this right, you might have some monetary donations coming your way. Now, you don’t want to just have people Venmo or Paypal you because that might get a little messy. Instead, set up a fundraising option on Facebook, GoFundme, or another fundraising site to keep the total amount separate from your personal banking account. It’s also good practice to keep things transparent for your supporters by doing so. 


What to do with that money? 

For starters, you should check to see if you have enough supplies–if not, you could use the money to buy some for the clean-up (and plan to use them again for future clean-ups). If you were able to get enough supplies donated, you could use the money to cover the costs of hauling services or the fees for waste management and recycling facilities if applicable. If these are all covered (woohoo!), it might be nice to treat volunteers to some food (for example, from a local sandwich shop), or donate the money to the Ocean Conservancy or other environmental nonprofits focused on cleaning up our oceans!

Supplies you might need

  • Water for the volunteers – this is a must. people are taking time out of their days to help clean the area, and it’s important to make sure everyone stays hydrated. Encourage your volunteers to bring their own reusable water bottle to reduce single-use plastic waste from plastic water bottles. Although it is more convenient, we don’t want more trash on top of the trash we’re picking up, right? Remind your participants a few days before the event to bring their reusable water bottles. Provide large containers of water where participants can fill up and compostable cups for those who don’t have reusable bottles. 
  • First aid kit – always have one of these on hand for minor injuries like cuts or scrapes. 
  • Try to use burlap (reusable), buckets, wagons or paper bags to collect the trash rather than plastic garbage bags to reduce plastic waste. 
  • Trash grabbers – Trash grabbers will help reduce fatigue from bending over and picking up trash. These can also be a little safer than grabbing something with your hands.  
  • Thick gloves – If you don’t have trash grabbers, the next best thing is a pair of thick gloves to prevent cuts from broken glass and other potentially harmful litter. 
  • Metal sifter or sieve – You can do a little DIY project or ask if anyone has this, but a metal sifter or sieve is perfect for finding smaller things in the sand or dirt that you might otherwise miss. 


Safety Tips 

  • Try to find a volunteer who knows basic first aid or has medical experience in case of an emergency. 
  • To dispose of hazardous materials like broken glass or syringes, use wide mouth containers such as empty laundry detergent containers that are clearly marked as hazardous.
  • Make sure all participants are wearing close-toed shoes to prevent injury. 
  • Use the sign-in sheet as a way to do a headcount at the beginning and end of the event to make sure no one has gone missing, especially if there will be children in attendance. 
  • Remind volunteers to wear and bring reef-safe sunscreen (no matter if its sunny or cloudy outside); depending on the climate, you might want to advise participants to bring eco-friendly bug spray as well. 
  • Brush up on what to do if you find beached marine life or other wildlife during your event. Let everyone know who to reach and to stay a few feet away until the appropriate people arrive. 


Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash


How to Throw a Plastic-free Party

If you’re still purchasing single-use plastic cutlery and cups for your parties, you might want to think again. Plastic can take 10,000 years or more to disintegrate, all the while releasing toxic chemicals into the Earth. And if you think about how much single-use plastic cutlery is tossed away after each party, it won’t come as a shock to us if we end up living in a world made of complete and utter trash. And how, you may ask, do we even go about hosting a zero-waste party?

Well, the answer is to stop thinking in terms of convenience and to start becoming more aware. If you’re conscious of the plastic you use and toss away, you’ll begin to realize how much of it you’ve actually used over the years. We did, and we certainly found some creative ways to reduce single-use plastic consumption. We think you can too.

Here’s some food for thought: why do we use and dispose of plastic so frivolously when the material lasts practically forever?

Use REAL silverware and plating

For smaller gatherings, the answer is in reusables. Now, bear with us for a sec, we know it seems daunting to use silverware and real plates when hosting, but it’s much easier than you may think. Guests are usually more attentive with silverware and plating because it comes with the notion that you only get one! Single-use plastic cutlery and plates, however, are considered disposable and abundant, so it’s likely someone will toss it away right and be quick to grab a new one.

Keep your washing machine handy and allow a few willing guests to help with clean-up. You’ll be surprised when your guests spring to help you since you busted out the fine china (or Ikea?). It makes your gatherings that much more special.

Use glassware and labels

Go for glassware that’s versatile and that will hold up for many parties to come–like mason jars–to avoid using single-use plastic cups. We know that rustic style isn’t for everyone, but there are ways to dress them up for any occasion. We love mason jars because they are just that–versatile and pretty durable considering the material. Labeling will help guests hold onto their glasses instead of grabbing a new one.

For labeling, get creative. Tie a ribbon around the jar below the ridges and include a felt tip Sharpie so your guests can write their names. The ribbon will stay on throughout the event and you don’t have to worry about your jars being ruined. If ribbons aren’t your thing, you could also invest in some chalkboard labels for your jars. You stick these on and allow your guests to write their names in chalk–erase them after the party and reuse! Have fun with it. There are plenty of creative ideas you can use to fit your party’s theme.

How about for beer pong?

Don’t worry, you can still have your fun! If you and your crew love beer pong, maybe it’s time to invest in reusable stainless steel party cups. Yes, they do exist, and you’re welcome. If you must, however, try to reuse your plastic cups as much as possible instead of getting new cups every time. You can even label them so you know for the next party that they’re for beer pong.


When it comes to water, the most common, quick and convenient thing to do is to buy a case of bottled water for your party. But let me ask you this–how often will you find a bunch of half full bottles of water around unclaimed and forced to pour out the water and toss the bottle? Too many times. Not only is that contributing to plastic pollution, but it also is a complete waste of water!

The solution? Encourage guests to drink tap water. You can fill up some pitchers with iced tap water at the table that will make a great addition to the table setting. For extra filtration, add a stick of activated charcoal into the water overnight so you’ll have filtered water by the day of the event. If you’re attending any party, bring your water purifying LARQ Bottle and avoid using another glass for water.


Sustainable reusable bamboo straws by The Other Straw
Courtesy of The Other Straw

By now, you should know better than to buy a bunch of plastic straws for your party. Depending on the type of drinks you’re serving you might not even need straws and we can trim off unnecessary waste here for sure. But if you absolutely must, try to find paper straws instead which are widely available at stores like Target, Walmart, and even discount stores. For more durable reusable straws that your guests can even take home as party favors, try reusable bamboo straws. They’re biodegradable so, at the end of their lifespan, they won’t be contributors to the growing issue of waste.

Compostable cutlery and plates

These usually use abundant and extremely eco-friendly material, bamboo. Bamboo is 100% compostable and biodegradable, so it’s a great choice as a single-use substitute. You’ll find plates, cutlery, and all things bamboo with a quick google search. We’d highly recommend this if you’re having larger gatherings that you just don’t have enough silverware and dinnerware for–or if you’ve got children attending your gathering.

Label landfill, recyclable and compost bins

Too many a time we’ve been in the awkward position where we don’t quite know if there is a recycling bin at a party or if everyone’s just tossing things in the same large trash bag. To help your guests decipher what’s what, label or even color code your waste bins–even including examples of what to toss will help! Put them in layman’s terms; “Scrape off food waste here” or “EMPTY beer bottles only” are some easy-to-understand, easy-to-follow examples of instructions you should use! If you’re not sure what kind of plastics are recyclable, read about how to recycle plastics. This will help you properly dispose of all the trash without having to sort through everything in the end too. Yay for efficient clean-up!

Make an announcement to your guests

If you’re throwing a plastic-free or zero-waste party, you ought to let all your guests know. Shout it from the rooftops, include it in the Evite, or even make a sign at your party about it! Seriously, the more you educate your guests and friends, the more we can help save the environment one zero-waste party at a time. Plus, we’ll have a ton of fun in the process.

By cutting out single-use plastic from parties you throw, or encouraging others to eliminate the use of plastic at parties, you’ll be saving thousands of single-use plastic from entering our environment and polluting the Earth. Don’t forget that sustainable practices can be applied anywhere–from sustainable travel to ways to conserve water. Now, who needs a drink?


6 Sustainable Chefs that are Changing the World

#1 Massimo Bottura

massimo bottura - italian michelin star chef cooking in food for soul kitchen
Source: Grundig

Massimo Bottura, Italian restauranteur and chef patron of Osteria Francescana was named the top restaurant in the world by World’s 50 Best. Osteria Francescana is a three-Michelin star restaurant based in Modena, Italy. Needless to say, he’s masterful at his craft. What is admirable about Bottura is his vigor toward not only creating delicious food but also changing the world by reducing food waste. Bottura turned an abandoned theater in a Milan suburb into Refettorio, a soup kitchen that turned over 15 tons of excess food into meals for the homeless, working poor, and refugees. He remains a champion in reducing food waste–one of the prime issues of the restaurant industry–and has even formed his own non-profit Food for Soul to encourage sustainable practices in the food industry to reduce food waste.


#2 Dan Barber

Dan Barber - Michelin star farm-to-table chef in his Blue Hill farm

Dan Barber hails from Manhattan’s West Village as the Chef of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns located within the nonprofit farm and education center, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. Also known as a “chef-thinker” or chef and scholar, Barber is a philosopher of sorts when it comes to food–emphasizing the importance of pleasure and thoughtful conservation, knowing the source of the food on your plate, and the process of how your food got there. Barber evangelizes agricultural policies to push forth more a model of environmental responsibility. His book, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, explores the world of food beyond “farm-to-table” to propose a revolutionary way of delicious and ethical eating. His mission is to educate and push Americans toward a future of food that is as sustainable as it is delicious.


#3 Melissa Kelly

Melissa Kelly from her Primo restaurant farm
Source: Primo Restaurant

Melissa Kelly is the Executive Chef and proprietor of Primo, a restaurant located in Maine, US. Kelly and her partner have spent over a decade cultivating a farm on Primo’s 4.5-acre property that serves as the main source of the ingredients she uses for the restaurant. Having access to her own farm means that she is in control of how the ingredients are grown from start to finish and can ensure the freshest and highest quality of ingredients are being served. It also means that kitchen waste can be recycled or composted properly. She spreads the importance of farm fresh local ingredients to aspiring young cooks and educates others about the true farm-to-table philosophy.

#4 Jose Garces

Former Iron Chef Jose Garces in his Luna Farms home
Source: SJ Magazine

Jose Garces is not only an Iron Chef, but he’s also an author, restauranteur, and the owner of Luna Farms, 40-acres of farmland aimed to grow fresh organic vegetables, fruits, eggs, and honey year-round in Ottsville, PA. Luna Farm plays a critical role in supporting the Garces Foundation and its mission to educate children about the nutritional benefits of sustainable agriculture, meal preparation, and healthy eating.


#5 Eneko Atxa

Eneko Atxa, Michelin star chef-owner of the most sustainable restaurant in the world, Azurmendi in Spain.
Source: En La Cocina

Azurmendi, a Michelin 3-Star restaurant located near Bilbao, Spain, named Most Sustainable Restaurant in the World, is the product of famed chef, Eneko Atxa, who is also one of the youngest chefs to ever achieve 3 Michelin Stars. The Azurmendi restaurant was designed and built on sustainability, Atxa’s philosophy to life and cooking. The building itself reuses rainwater for the garden, greenhouses, toilets and more. The large open windows make you feel like you are outdoors and takes advantage of the sunlight to reduce the need for artificial light and energy, it produces renewable energy to cover part of the restaurant’s energy needs, and produces a portion of the ingredients used in the kitchen in their greenhouses on site–planting more than 800 trees to reduce CO2. The building as a whole is a testament to the commitment to sustainability Atxa is advocating for–a truly inspirational masterpiece.


#6 Filip Fasten

Filip Fasten, Michelin star chef of Agrikultur in Stockholm
Source: Superb Experience

Michelin-starred Agrikultur, run by Filip Fasten in Stockholm, offers what Fasten calls “Nordic Comfort Food”, a prix fix menu of vegetable-based dishes where the protein is used to enhance the flavor depth rather than to be the star of the dish. He sources his produce and food from local farms and uses flavors that honor the land. The menu changes constantly to celebrate seasonable harvests to ensure the freshest quality, flavor, and helps the community, including hunting his own game during hunting season to serve at the restaurant.


Reducing food waste, eliminating added chemicals and processing from food, and locally sourcing food products are the biggest ways these Michelin-rated chefs and restauranteurs are helping to lead change in the food industry.


Some of these ideas can be adopted into your own daily life using methods of composting, nurturing your own organic garden, and buying what you need instead of what you want, locally. The best chefs in the world know exactly where their food is coming from and how it was produced or raised–whether it’s from their own farms or from a local farmer. Do you know where your food is from, or what went into producing it?


Are you recycling plastics correctly?

Ever walk up to a waste disposal area and wonder what goes where? There’s trash, compost, plastic, paper–it can be a bit overwhelming. You don’t want to put a recyclable plastic in the trash that goes to the landfill, but you also aren’t sure if what you have is even recyclable.

Get to know your trash a little more so you’ll know what goes where next time you encounter this dilemma. Here are some facts about recycling plastics that may help you along the way:

#1 Plastic bags aren’t always allowed in the recycling bin

Although plastic bags are made up of the same materials that theoretically can be recycled in most modern recycling systems, machinery just isn’t able to handle it. Depending on your waste management service, plastic bags might not be accepted as recyclable items because they get tangled in the machines which slow down the process of recycling. They end up being manually detangled and ripped from the machines and thrown into the landfill. Do a little research to find out if your local waste management services allow plastic bags.

In most cases, it’s recommended to have loose plastics in your plastic recycling bin rather than plastic that is tied up in plastic bags. It’s confusing because we think, “well it’s all plastic right?” Right, but they’re not the same type of plastic. We’ll get into more on that later.

Most large grocery store chains accept clean, dry, used plastic bags for special recycling programs to be used to make new items. Take them here if you have plastic bag waste!

#2 Rinse it out

Any recyclable containers that originally contained food should be rinsed out before tossing into the recycling bin. You just need to make sure you rinse out any remaining food particles. However, for sticky substances like jam or honey, you will need to scrub a little to get the stickiness off of the container.

If your local recycling program allows plastic bags, make sure you get any remaining residue off before tossing it into the recycling bin. If there are small crumbs, shake it out; if you had a spill, rinse off the remaining residue and allow to dry before tossing.

#3 Always cap your bottles

In the past, it was advised that people remove caps from bottles because the caps are made from a different material than the bottle, which made them difficult to recycle. Now, waste management facilities are able to recycle the bottles with caps and are advising that people first crush the empty bottles, then put the cap back on. This will increase the number of plastic bottles that can be transported at one time.

#4 Check the codes on plastic cutlery

Not all plastic cutlery is made of the same recyclable resin. And unfortunately, the recycling symbol is not always labeled on each individual fork, knife, or spoon. The plastic recycling number should be indicated on the box or bag that the cutlery comes in, so before you toss it, read the labels so you can let your guests know to throw them in the trash or in the recycling bin.

#5 Remove paper labels on plastic mailers


This one seems intuitive if you think about it since paper and plastic are recycled separately, but if you didn’t know, please remove the paper labels from your plastic mailers before putting them in your plastic recycling bin. The paper and adhesive interrupt the recycling process of the actual plastic, and with interruptions, there is more time wasted and less plastic being recycled.

#6 Know what those recycling symbols and numbers mean

There are 7 Resin Identification Codes (RIC), those little numbers with recycling symbols you see on plastic packaging and products. Be advised: just because a product has a RIC labeled on it, doesn’t mean it can go in your curbside recycling bin at home. As the name suggests, these are merely identification numbers to let you know what kind of material the plastic is made of–some are easy to recycle and accepted almost all recycling programs, and some are extremely difficult to recycle or cannot be thrown into your usual curbside recycling bins.

Why do you need to know these codes? Chances are if you’ve been throwing everything with an RIC on it thinking they all can go in the same recycling bin, you’ve probably been making the recycling process more difficult, inefficient, and causing more problems for the environment along the way. As it turns out, sometimes throwing a certain plastic in the trash is far better than guessing that it’s recyclable, as you read in tip #1.


PETE (1) – Polyethylene Terephthalate

PETE or PET products like soda bottles, water bottles, salad dressing containers, peanut butter containers, and others are allowed in your curbside recycling.

HDPE (2) – High-Density Polyethylene

HDPE include products like milk jugs, shampoo bottles, household cleaner containers, cereal box liners, and yogurt containers that are allowed in your curbside recycling.

PVC (3) – Polyvinyl Chloride (also known as Vinyl)

V or PVC is difficult to recycle, so it is rarely accepted by curbside recycling programs. These products include food wrap, plumbing pipes, window cleaner bottles, detergent bottles, medical equipment, cooking oil bottles and shampoo bottles.

LDPE (4) Low-density Polyethylene

LDPE products are not accepted by most curbside recycling programs. However, there are some that do, and even some independent recycling programs that may be accessible in your community. Common LDPE products include squeeze bottles (think hand creams and toothpaste), plastic shopping bags, carpets, food wraps, shopping bags, clothing, dry cleaning bags, and frozen food or bread bags.

PP (5) Polypropylene

PP is considered one of the safer plastic products and can usually be recycled by your local curbside recycling program. PP products include medicine bottles, straws, bottle caps, ketchup bottles, syrup bottles, and some yogurt containers.

PS (6) Polystyrene (Styrofoam)

PS has been deemed difficult to recycle and has even been subject to local bans as it poses health and environmental risks. PS products include foam packing, insulation, egg cartons, disposable cups, plates, carry-out containers, and meat trays. Most curbside recycling programs won’t accept these.

OTHER (7) Miscellaneous Plastics

Products with this symbol are difficult to recycle and contain toxic BPA. It is extremely rare for a curbside recycling program to accept this type of material. Number 7 products can include nylon, baby bottles, certain food containers, signs and displays, computer cases, sunglasses, and bulletproof materials.

#7 Check your local recycling programs

In order to find out what type of plastics your local recycling program accepts, and are great places to get started. These sites narrow down your search in your zip code and provide links to information from your communities recycling and waste management programs.

If you find that some products aren’t accepted like shopping bags, might have drop-off locations near you. You’ll find a list of items that will be accepted and be on your way to helping this global issue.

Earth Day may be over (April 22), but here’s your gentle reminder that you should be thinking about your impact on the Earth every single day. You don’t have to go completely plastic-free (because we know how difficult that is), but every small change–even something like sorting your waste properly–can make a huge difference. Wherever you can, refuse or substitute single-use plastic, especially the harmful ones we’ve mentioned in this article. Don’t know where to start? Check out our article on sustainable ways to start living a plastic-free lifestyle.