My tree-hugging tendencies are honestly fairly new-ish in nature. Two years ago I accepted a position teaching Science and Social Studies to students in Kindergarten through Third Grade. It was unexpected, but I absolutely loved teaching these subjects and honestly, it was crazy just how much it made me question myself and my own habits as a consumer. I didn't change these habits overnight, but I did certainly change them, and I don't think I could ever go back to my wasteful ways.
1. Paper Towels - This was where it first started for me. Prior to trying to reduce waste, we used paper towels constantly. When I was trying to cut them out altogether, I started by simply buying one roll at a time rather than a huge package. This alone made us extremely conscious of when we actually "needed" them and how much we were using. We stocked a drawer full of (dark colored) cotton dish towels instead. In the rare case of REALLY yucky stuff (uh, cat puke...) we still have toilet paper.
2. Body Wash - I've been able to cut back on buying so much plastic just by purchasing bar soap with very minimal (and recyclable) packaging from a local honeybee farm. Now, I realize that most plastic bottles can still be recycled, but why use it in the first place if it can be avoided?
3. Prepackaged Snacks - They're typically pretty unhealthy anyway. Now, we really don't have to worry about it. We still slip up every once in a while, but our staple snacks are typically fruits, vegetables, and nuts. I know those prepackaged snacks are super convenient when you have little ones, but man are they wasteful! Start slow.
4. Dental Floss - We did away with the average dental floss and dental picks, and now we are using Dental Lace. It comes in a refillable glass bottle and the actual floss can be composted when you're done. Hooray!
5. My Garbage Can - Yep, you heard that right. When I first had the inspiration for this, I read about a few very cool people who were able to stuff all their trash in just a mason jar for a whole year. I haven't gotten to this level yet, but I did totally clean out and donate my perfectly good, large trash can. I moved the small bathroom trash can to my kitchen instead, purchased a small kitchen compost bucket as well, and decided it was game on. Now we are VERY intentional with what we purchase because this tiny trash can has forced us to question every purchase.
The other perks to lessening your waste? Things that are low to no waste also tend to be healthier for us AND save us lots of money in the long run. Everyone is winning.