I just watched a documentary (available on netflix.com) called "Bag It." It spoke to me about NOT using things, such as plastic bags. I've come a long way on that particular topic, but I've still got a long way to go. Things I am currently doing well: #1 Mason jars for storage of many different types. Mason jars are readily available from several sources, have interchangeable lids so you can dispose of ones that get nasty and still replace them easily. They are made of glass, which is one of the least reactive substances on earth. Whatever you store in a Mason jar does not influence the next thing you choose to store in the same jar. #2 Compost of all food items and many other items. Before I throw/recycle anything I first ask myself if I can compost it. Hair from haircuts, natural fiber clothing, paper bags, and, of course, food waste of all sorts. If it is compost-able it goes in the future garden plot (otherwise known as the compost pile). I even have a humanure toilet, which no one in the house uses, except me, but it is a viable compost item. My latest adventure in composting is grey water. I'm diverting dish water and laundry water into the compost pile and that prevents water from going down the drain. #3 I liberally use the thrift store. That in and of itself is a huge packaging savings (saves money, too). #4 I am a member of a CSA and support my local farmer, which cuts down on packaging in a multitude of ways and gives me much healthier food in the process. #5 I garden. Last year wasn't that great, but this year I'll have a beginner garden and hopefully next year a fabulous one. #6 I buy from the farmer's market, which cuts down on packaging. #7 I cook. This is huge. Because I enjoy cooking I forget what a difference it makes. I don't buy MUCH of what is sold in the grocery stores as a result of my willingness to cook meals from scratch. #8 I make our own cleaning products and beauty products (disclaimer-- I'm the only one using the homemade shampoo and body oils, but everyone likes the soap and the lip balm). This frees up the amount of plastic and chemicals we have in our house. Things I NEED to work on-- #1 I use too many plastic bags. You'd think I would have this one down pat. I've managed to lose most of the grocery totes I had and I just need to replace them. #2 Buy less packaged stuff. Even though I've cut back I still buy too much. I like my morning breakfast cereal. That's a hard habit to break.
Over all I need to look at what I am using that comes packaged and decide if there is a way to cut back on the packaging. "Bag It" It's an interesting documentary.