Lately we’ve been giving a lot of thought to how to reduce single-use plastic consumption. Most people know to carry a water bottle
instead of buying water, and tote bags
to replace plastic bags, but some ideas were new to me. In her piece on how to break your single-use plastics habit
, staff writer Kaitlyn Wells suggests bringing a food storage container to a restaurant so you don’t have to bring a takeaway container home. In travel editor Ria Misra’s piece on traveling without leaving a trace
, I learned that Yosemite National Park staff often has to haul out packaging from brand-new camping gear people bring in—unwrapping your new tent and supplies before you get to your destination helps reduce the amount of waste they have to handle.
One thing I strive to do is not buy packaged things at all. I have made my own yogurt in the Instant Pot
, which is incredibly easy and much more consistent than making it in a regular pot, and this cuts down on those plastic tubs yogurt comes in. I also try to reduce the number of prepackaged goods I buy in general—washing a head of lettuce is not much harder than buying a plastic bag of prewashed greens.
I also do my part to capture usable things and keep them from going into landfills, which happens to dovetail with one of my favorite weekend pastimes: estate sale shopping. EstateSales.net
has local listings for estate sales all over the country. This is my favorite source for picking up unique appliances and decor that might otherwise get junked. My friends and I have picked up hardly used pizzelle irons, special-occasion utensil sets, vintage linens, and handmade ceramics for bargain prices. The best days to go to an estate sale are the first day (if you see something you want from the EstateSales.net preview pictures) and early in the morning on the last day to get deep discounts. (I know this sounds like an ad for them, but I swear it isn’t. I’m obsessed.)
Also, after months of beta testing, we’re launching a brand-new way to explore picks on Wirecutter: lists!
Whether you’re looking to take a road trip
, put together a home office
, or learn how to bake bread
, lists can help get you started. In each one, we pull from our guides and our own personal recommendations to let you know what’s essential, what’s nice to have, and what you should skip. Let us know what you think!