Reduce Your Use

Working, Traveling, Shopping, Eating:
Tips to Reduce Your Consumer Waste


Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is taking legislative action this year to reduce the amount of single-use product and plastic pollution in California.

Assembly Bill 1080 will establish a comprehensive framework to address the pollution and waste crisis, dramatically reducing the amount of single-use waste generated in the California and requiring the remaining packaging and products to be truly recyclable or compostable.

Here are easy steps you can take to reduce your use of single-use products and plastic while you’re at work, traveling, shopping or eating:

WORKING

Ditch the plastic and paper cups at the water cooler. Encourage coworkers to use their mugs and reusable water bottles when they need to hydrate, and talk to your boss about purchasing a few reusable glasses for thirsty guests.

The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we consume 30 percent of the world’s paper. Print all items double-sided on paper -- better yet, use email or other digital forms of communication whenever possible.

TRAVELING

The average hotel goes through over 23,000 of those tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner a year, according to Marriot when the company announced in 2018 that it would replace those iconic bottles with bulk dispensers.

Since you likely won’t stay at a Marriot hotel every time you travel, start bringing your own toiletries in refillable travel size bottles when you’re on a trip. Better yet, bring solid soap toiletries and avoid the plastic all together.

SHOPPING

Many Californians are now used to bringing reusable bags wherever they go since voters approved a statewide ban on plastic bags in 2016. But if you’re still spending the 10 cents for thicker plastic bags at the grocery, make the commitment to stop.

Already bring reusable bags whenever you shop? Take your waste-free shopping to the next level by investing in some cloth alternatives to those plastic produce bags when you buy fruits and vegetables. And put a dent in the amount of packaging you throw out by purchasing grocery items in bulk whenever possible.

EATING

Scientists estimate there are 7.5 million plastic straws polluting U.S. shorelines. This year California became the first state to ban plastic straws in restaurants, unless one is requested by the customer. What better time to start getting used to bringing reusable straws when you go out to eat? You can find tons of convenient options online made from materials like silicone or steel, and even some available in travel cases.