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Seven easy ways to go plastic and trash free

02/17/2015, 10:00am CST
By Hannah Van Eendenburg, MN GreenCorps Waste Prevention and Recycling

The National Sports Center is working hard to reduce the amount of waste we produce. This list has been shared with NSC employees, and we thought you'd be interested. Here are seven practical ways you can reduce your waste and go plastic free:

1. Reusable shopping bags: There is no reason to continually get a new bag every time you go grocery shopping. Throw a few reusable bags in your car, and grab one whenever you head into a store. Some stores even give you money back or credit for a reusable bag!

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A sample of the micro-beads found during a study of the Great Lakes.

2. Reusable food ware: have your own plate, bowl, cup, and utensils at work or in your lunch with you. If you throw a cloth napkin into your lunch as well, you can have a zero-waste lunch every day.  

3. Say no to bottled water! Always have a reusable water bottle. Watch “The Story of Bottled Water” to understand the many reasons why this is so important.

4. Buy in bulk. Bulk products reduce the amount of packaging for a food product, especially if you remember to bring your own reusable container to package it in.

5. Clean out and reuse glass containers for food storage. This allows you to see what food you have, reducing the chance of it going bad.

6. Avoid using micro-bead exfoliates. These plastic beads, usually made out of polyethylene or polypropylene, are showing up in the Great Lakes and causing irreparable harm to the ecosystem. The University of Wisconsin-Superior’s Lake Superior Research institute team found over 1.7 million micro-beads in a study involving the Great Lakes. Illinois is the first state to place a ban on products containing micro-beads, with other states quickly following.

7. Think twice before purchasing: How long will you use this item before it ends up in the trash? Take into consideration how useful the item will be to you, what alternatives there are, and if you really need it. By minimizing the amount of material items we have in our lives before purchasing them, we are REDUCING waste.

Have ideas, comments, or suggestions on plastic and trash free practices? Contact Hannah Van Eendenburg at 763-785-5647 or

Tag(s): NSC Blog