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Tips and tricks for cutting down on your trash

When we asked y’all to share your Earth Day pledges to help the environment, many chimed in with promises to cut down on their waste. So, with some help from the community, we pulled together a couple easy ways you can do that in the 305:

Use less packaging by buying in bulk

Bring your tupperwares and jars with you next time you hit up places like Whole Foods and Fresh Market, where you can buy a lot of staples like beans, dried fruit, and nuts in bulk. Some places, like Aunt Jenn’s at Yellow Green Market in Broward, will even give you a discount if you bring your own containers. (Thanks to reader Lina Castaneda for this tip!)

Bonus: Even with the initial purchase of a container, this will quickly end up cheaper than always buying packaged versions.

Sign up for Hungry Harvest

Hungry Harvest sells packages of produce that can’t be sold to grocery stores, either because the produce is visually flawed (but still totally okay to eat!) or because there’s too much of it. Most of this stuff would otherwise just head to the garbage dump.

Like many CSAs, Hungry Harvest will drop your delivery right on your doorstep. Bonus: if you’re willing to be surprised by what you’ll be cooking that week, it’s cheaper than buying at the grocery store. We have one complaint though: They don’t take back the ice packs they use to keep the produce cold (it’s a health issue). So help us out. Does anyone know of any organization that could use these secondhand?

Bring your own mug/cup/water bottle/tote bag

We promise you don’t look like a dweeb when you do this. Plus, an increasing number of places actually give you discounts if you bring your own container; Wynwood Yard knocks $1 off your drink. Know of other local spots that do this? Hit reply and let us know – we’ll share it out!

If you wanna have a multiplier effect, buy a reusable cup or water bottle from a nonprofit like Miami Waterkeeperor Debris Free Oceans (their “Zero Waste Toolkit” is pretty awesome) – the proceeds go to supporting their environmental work.

Also, #StopSucking (h/t to @volunteercleanup for that hashtag). Plastic straws are terrible for the environment, end up discarded everywhere, and are totally unnecessary. Ask your server to leave it out when you order your drink.

Upcycling

Fabric waste is one that we don’t talk about too often, but a lot of that clothing you donate so you don’t have to throw away doesn’t actually get reused.

There’s a growing effort across the U.S. to upcycle unwanted clothing, and it’s got some traction right here in Miami with companies like The Full Editand Nomad Tribe, which help people give their clothing a second life by organizing workshops on how to alter and upcycle it. They also organize clothing swaps. (There’s a full day of sustainable fashion awesomeness happening this weekend, with a clothing swap and workshops. Details here.)

The Blue Jeans Go Green initiative partners with major retailers (previous ones include Madewell and J. Crew) to collect your old blue jeans and turn them into denim insulation for homes. A lot of those stores will give you credit toward new jeans bought in their store. Check here to find out what stores are accepting donations right now.

Did we miss anything? Hit us up at [email protected].com to let us know.