When Recycling Isn’t Enough, Reusable Items Are The Best Option

Maybe I have constantly reminded all of you (in the past) here in Radiant Peach to recycle your garbage. However, there are times that recycling isn’t enough anymore. Especially now that China has recently changed their rules on what types of recyclables they will accept. Thus, leading a lot of cities in the U.S. struggling to find a place to send their trash. Even some of our recyclables are being sent to the landfill for now. Sad, right?

Now that recycling isn’t enough, using reusable items instead of disposable ones is a better option. Here are 5 simple tips on how you can incorporate reusable items in your life instead:

1. Reusable Containers

No worries, I’m not going to ask you to eat in reusable containers in a restaurant. That would be a little weird and it wouldn’t be quite nice to look at. However, you might want to use these reusable containers if you have leftovers in a restaurant or when you buy a take-out.  Styrofoam isn’t recyclable in many U.S cities, which is why it’s better to avoid getting a disposable container when you’re out to get some food.

You might also want to find a lightweight container that you can just tuck inside your bag when you’re going to go out. Also, just in-case you don’t feel comfortable asking the waiter or cashier lady to put your food in the reusable containers, maybe it would be better if you tell them that you’re doing this for the environment. Which is the actual point, right? Not only will they appreciate the fact that you’re helping their company save up on styrofoam stocks, but Mother Nature will also appreciate your gesture. There’s actually nothing to be ashamed about!

Feel free to explore all the possible things that you can substitute reusable containers in your life.


When Recycling Isn't Enough, Reusable Items Are The Best Option

2. Thermos

Are you a coffee lover or tea lover? Then, you have to make sure that you’re carrying one around when you’re going out. Not only will it keep your coffee/tea warm/cold as long as possible, again, it’s better for the environment! Although, keep in mind that only a certain amount of liquid can fill your thermos, so don’t order anything that would be beyond its capacity.

Whether it’s Starbucks or any other coffee shops, they love the idea of eco-friendly efforts that their consumers do. They will highly appreciate your concern for the environment.

3. Reusable Straws

I’ve mentioned this before in a previous article about straws. While I don’t necessarily promote the use of straws, whether disposable or not, I know that there are drinks available in the market that can’t be consumed without the use of straws. Like smoothies, frappes, etc. So, I highly suggest that you guys keep reusable straws inside your bags. There are a lot of brands that have been producing this now, from stainless to bamboo straws, it’s available. Some brands even excel in aesthetics so if you prefer drinking fabulously in rose gold metallic straws, it’s your choice.

When Recycling Isn't Enough, Reusable Items Are The Best Option

4. Tote Bags

Some of you have already been using this whenever you would go to the grocery store or farmer’s market. But you might want to purchase smaller versions for other loose items such as vegetables. Sometimes, they would still put it in plastic bags and we really want to avoid the use of it as much as possible. Opt for a very lightweight version though, since there are times that they weigh your produce along with the plastic/tote bag it comes with.

5. Cloth Napkins

Once paper napkins have food residue on them, they’re no longer recyclable. Soiled paper can’t be cleaned in order to be used in new products, so it will be disposed of already. Do you know how many trees have been cut down just so you can have that paper napkin to clean your mouth with? Why not just use reusable cloth napkins that you can wash and reuse? All you have to do is fold them neatly after a meal and it won’t be too much of a mess inside your bag. You can purchase a set of this and just toss them into the washing machine once you get home.

When Recycling Isn't Enough, Reusable Items Are The Best Option

You see, there is always an option in how we go through our everyday lives. Eco-friendly options are always available as much as the options for non-eco-friendly is available right within our reach. You can always choose the option that can benefit the world instead of the other way around. Always keep in mind that our choices as an individual can create a big impact on the bigger population. Things like this can be a ripple effect and you might end up inspiring a friend or two, or even a stranger in switching up to eco-friendly options.

The choice is yours to make. So, which one do you choose?

You may also like


  • I would have to agree on all of this. Although it requires a bit of a space in my bag by putting some of this, I know that it’s really helpful for the environment.

  • Maria Wolfe says:

    We can have this goal of zero waste by using less and less of plastic and using more of these reusable things. Maybe companies can invent something that’s more lightweight as well so that we can easily stuff all of this in our bags.

  • Victoria Lawson says:

    Amazing ideas. I think I’m going to go purchase these reusable straws. I always complain about food chains having paper straws, so maybe I should just bring my own.

  • Felicia Blake says:

    It’s really nice to have options like this available now.

  • Leticia Bass says:

    Restaurants actually like it when you provide them with your own take-out container. The manager even gave me a note saying that my efforts for the environment will be rewarded in due time and they gave me a small dessert from their menu along with my take-out. It wasn’t an expensive desert and I wasn’t really aiming to be rewarded, but it’s things like this that encourage people to do better or not be ashamed in going eco-friendly.

    • Hannah Rose says:

      I agree. Maybe sometimes restaurants can do this in order to encourage more and more people. Like a free drink even the one that’s the cheapest in the menu. It’s a good incentive even if it’s such a small thing.

  • This is such an easy change of lifestyle and it can reap very big effects. I would rather bring containers with me all the time than keep using styrofoam that destroys the environment.

  • Josephine Murphy says:

    So the US ships recyclables to China for future use? Wow.

  • Grace Reyes says:

    I would normally bring handkerchiefs with me but it’s a good idea to bring a cloth that’s solely for wiping food stains.?

  • Come on people. We know the state of our environment and it isn’t a big deal to be stuffing these reusable items in our bags for the sake of it.

    • Bernice Hodges says:

      True. You can always decide to bring it only on days that you need it. No need to take it all the time.

    • Rebecca Givens says:

      Exactly, Wanda! Our small efforts can create big results.

  • Connie Collier says:

    Thanks for always reminding us to make better choices. Healthy not only for our bodies but for the environment as well.?

  • Anita Cortez says:

    I think I’m going to go for the rose gold straws. That looks so nice.?

  • Vera Wolfe says:

    I do keep cloth napkins in my bag all the time. I think it’s a good step to minimizing my trash.

  • Valerie Fritz says:

    I choose to make better choices. We’re the one who’s responsible in doing this to our environment and it’s our job to make better choices for it as well.?

  • Hilda Curtis says:

    Aww I really want one of those bamboo straws! I want a case too! ?

  • People shouldn’t be ashamed for doing the right thing, especially this. Saving the environment is a good thing if you ask me and anybody else. No need to be ashamed in doing something that’s actually for the better.

  • Lyla Seddon says:

    I am 52 and I remember when plastic bottles were still a novelty. Most, if not all, bottles were glass. And coffee to go was an oddity. If my parents wanted a coffee or tea we’d stop at a dinner, sit at a counter for it and they would actually talk to people.

  • Roselyn Lister says:

    I live in a country where being eco-friendly and being a person who wants to use less plastic isn’t easy, but I’m still trying. I live with flatmates and I try to teach them not to use plastic bags. I give them their own cotton bags and use they use them. It’s my little success. Thanks for the great ideas.

  • Leona Dykes says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this helpful information without being preachy!! You presented your ideas beautifully.

  • Kristine Parrott says:

    I stopped buying paper towels 12 years ago. I now have approximately 40 kitchen tea towels and am happy for the family to use them, to clean messes, the washing machine will clean them anyway. I also recently got, metal drinking straw to stop buying plastic ones. we’re not zero waste but reduce waste.

  • Angelina Crowley says:

    What I really enjoy about living minimal waste, zero waste lifestyle is the amount of money I’ve been able to save.

  • Alexa Haskins says:

    Great tips. My partner and I have adopted some of these zero waste ideas recently. Our reusable products bags always get comments at the checkout at the grocery store.

  • Louise Prather says:

    Thanks for all the ideas!! I’ve added stainless straw with metal cutlery in my bag. Best to avoid straws, but if you need one, metal is the best way to go.

  • Kate Cottman says:

    we started to use the old fashion way of using a cloth handkerchief that gets washed instead of boxes of paper towel.

  • Doris Spinella says:

    Thank you for the tips. I do use reusable shopping and try to buy less packaging but sometimes it is difficult.

  • Jessy Steinbeck says:

    I haven’t done it yet, but plan to get a metal straw to keep in my purse for use when we go out to eat.

  • Sandy Holmes says:

    These are all great tips, thank you. I definitely need to invest in some of those reusable produce bags. I always feel so guilty when I come out of the produce section and look at how many plastic bags are in my cart.

  • Chrystalle Brubaker says:

    I am doing some of the things already, I have reusable shopping bags, I do not buy bottled water. I pack my lunches in a steel container, I recycle religiously. people do not realize it but it really is next to impossible to be zero waste in most parts of the world. There has been no recycling in this country. I really wish I can go completely without waste, but I would settle for no plastic first. Hopefully, baby steps and we will get there.

  • Jamie Torrez says:

    So basically revert back to sixties and the seventies?

  • Brittany Schrecengost says:

    I don’t understand a lot of these things. Someone, please help. If factories, companies, and stores are still producing all these plastic bags and straws etc. What difference does it make if I take it home or not?? It’s not like my suing it or not using is gonna change the fact that companies are still gonna produce plastic bottles, bags, straws. etc.. Of course, I wish it wasn’t the case, but still, it starts with you they say, still I don’t get it how it changes anything? Not trying to be offensive. Just an uneducated idiot trying to learn. Thanks.

  • Kamelia Tinch says:

    I just learned about stainless steel straws and am looking for some to buy. Great tips. Like you said, it seems like too much to do at first but it quickly becomes 2nd nature.

  • Christie Holley says:

    Thank you so much for this!! Sometimes reducing waste can be a bit overwhelming and I think your tips are easy and very practical, they make so much sense. also the friendly and kind of relaxed but still effective way you approached this issue make a difference in my opinion. Thanks a lot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *