Going green / Simple swaps for big impact

Small changes add up.

Photos by Stephen Gabris


Ginny Leary is a North Buffalo resident who regularly shares tips and stories on her Instagram page, @zerowastebuffalo. Read all about her here. This year, January through June, she had produced a mere three pounds of trash. Here are some of Leary’s suggestions to reduce your waste:


Store reusable shopping bags where you’ll remember them, like in your car or by the door. For produce, refuse single-use plastic bags for items like bananas, avocados, and eggplants, and invest in a couple reusable produce bags for loose items like string beans and brussels sprouts.


Only buy the perishable food your family can realistically eat before it goes bad and be sure to store it properly for maximum freshness.


Use cloth towels to clean up messes and spills instead of paper towels or napkins.


Ask for a mug—or bring your own—if you’re out for coffee.


Find ways to eliminate single-use plastic bottles and containers. For example, for shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, Leary uses Plaine Products, which come in aluminum bottles that she sends back to the company to be refilled when they’re empty.


Buy items like nuts, pasta, quinoa, and rice in bulk with a reusable bag to eliminate packaging.


If possible, compost or use a compost pickup service, like the Buffalo-based Farmer Pirates. For new composters, Leary’s biggest advice is to maintain a good carbon-to-nitrogen ratio in your compost (the mix of food scraps and other “greens” to dried leaves, newspaper, and other “browns”).


Get more tips from Ginny Leary and read about her here.


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