Switching to Reusables

We love seeing Rhode Islanders reusing! Here are five reusable items you can swap for their disposable counterparts. Have more ideas? Let us know.


Paper beverage cups are waterproof, and we cannot yet sort and sell them to recyclers. Consider investing in a stainless steel or microwaveable ceramic to-go mug. Making coffee, tea, or cocoa at home certainly saves money, but you can also take clean to-go mugs into your favorite coffee shop for a refill, and many give discounts. 


Swap out cases of bottled water for a reusable bottle. While Providence Water is consistently ranked high in terms of water quality, you can still test the water coming out of your pipes, and/or choose to use a filter. Be sure to choose glass, stainless steel, or BPA-free plastic bottles.

Shopping Bags

If you carried the item(s) to the counter in your hands, consider taking them out that way, too.  Simply tell the cashier you don’t need a bag this time. If you’re going in for a lot, make sure you have reusable bags with you (TIP: every time you unpack your bags at home, make sure they get back into the car right away or hang them on the door knob you’ll turn when next leaving the house). There are tons of different reusable bags and baskets available, in every size, shape, color, and pattern imaginable--but no fashion statement required: plain old canvas or black will do.

Produce Bags

Step your reusable bag game up a notch by replacing single-use produce bags, too. For example, these fine mesh bags are great for buying dry food in bulk as well. Please note that we don't recommend any one company or product over another. 

To-Go Ware

If you’re packing lunch for yourself or your children, consider making the switch to zero-waste lunches by investing in a reusable lunch box or bag, reusable to-go containers for food and drink, reusable utensils, and real cloth napkins. According to www.wastefreelunches.org, doing so can save you about $250 per child, per school year.