Disposables represent a system of materials rapidly entering the waste stream. Tossed after a single use and rarely recycled, disposables are typically made with plastic—a petroleum-based material that exists in our environment years after that single use.

Evaluate the disposables you rely on for your everyday life and replace them with reusable items. Never use single-use plastic water bottles. Always take reusable bags with you when shopping. Replace everyday plastics like sandwich bags with reusable containers.

For those
essential single-use products, always recycle! Also, search for environmentally preferable products that are biodegradable with recycled content.

2. Buy local or sustainable food

Food purchasing represents close to 95% of a food service’s environmental impact—clearly what food you buy is important. Eat local food in the season it was produced. For example, try not to eat watermelon in the wintertime. The further food travels, the greater the impact.

Start a garden, explore your local farmers’ market, or participate in a
community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. Ask your favorite restaurants what sustainable food and beverages they offer. To delve deeper read the summary of Green Seal’s lifecycle-based standard for restaurants and food services.