The Stasher Waste-Free Challenge
We can do anything when we all do something.
Welcome! We’re excited to be with you on your journey to reduce single-use plastic and other waste. Get ready for success, because it’s way easier than you might think.
Rather than overhauling your whole life, it’s easiest to take things one step at a time. That’s why we’ve broken the month up into fun little action items for 28 days — the amount of time it takes to form a new habit!
Have a buddy who’s game to take on the challenge with you? That’s a fun and easy way to double your impact. We’re ready to cheer you on, so be sure to share your progress. Tag us (@Stasherbag) and use #SaveWhatMatters.
Ready? Let’s do this.
WEEK 1: Start strong!Long term change starts with solid foundational habits. These challenges are a great way to ease your way in while making a difference.
Eco tip: We’ve designed each week by theme, but if you need to switch the order up throughout the challenge, that’s AOK! For instance, maybe your farmer’s market falls on Day 2. Give yourself the best chance of success by doing what works for you.
Challenge 1: Track your plastic usage this week
First things first: Get a sense of where waste is coming from. Grab a pen and paper (or better yet, a notes app on your phone) and list every piece of plastic or single-use item you use this week. Include things like disposable shopping bags, to-go containers, delivery boxes, and more.
Challenge 2: Gather your essential gear
Preparation is the key to success! The best part about this challenge? You probably already own most of what you need to get started, including your Stasher bags. First, take a look around your home for any jars or containers that you can peel the labels from, wash, and safely reuse for organization and storage. Start a collection of reusable shopping bags that you can keep on hand for groceries and errands. Find a metal or bamboo straw, a water bottle and/or reusable to-go coffee cup, and you’re off to a great sustainable start.
Challenge 3: Build your waste-free to-go kit
Remembering to leave your house with the reusables you’ve collected is key! Make it easy for yourself by creating a little to-go kit that lives by your front door or in your car — anywhere you’ll see it often enough that you won’t leave it behind. Stasher bags are perfect for holding your reusable hand sani bottle, clean face covering, and homemade disinfectant wipes. Add your reusable drinking vessel and put it all in a tote or shopping bag so you’ll be waste-free wherever you go.
Challenge 4: Make a plan for existing plastics
Going waste-free doesn't mean erasing any evidence that plastic ever existed in your life. It’s actually the opposite! The plastic you already own or use can be used through to the end of its life, or reused for other things. Today, consciously make a plan for the plastics you already own to be reused or recycled. Need some inspo? Check out our blog post for some ideas.
Challenge 5: Shop at a farmers market
We're big fans of farmers markets for their ability to provide fresh, local produce with a minimum amount of plastic. If you haven't shopped at a farmers market recently, there are lots of ways to make your visit go further for the planet and your wallet. Gather your reusable bags and check out our blog post for tips and tricks.
Challenge 6: Combine your online purchases
We get it, sometimes you can’t get away with shopping local. But you can reduce waste by minimizing the number of shipments that get delivered to your door. Try waiting to place your online orders until you have a full cart, and choose a delivery date that allows your items to be shipped in as few boxes as possible.
Challenge 7: Find a local environmental group
Chances are, there are several local environmental groups in your area — and they’re looking for new members! Social media can be a great way to find them. Choose a cause that’s close to your heart and be realistic about the level of commitment that works for you. Whether you’re sharing useful info to your network or donating time or money, being part of a group will help you stay inspired and meet some new like-minded friends.
WEEK 2: Now you're cookin'
This week's set of challenges focuses on the kitchen where you'll be whipping up some reusable and sustainable magic. Show us what you're cookin' with by tagging us on Instagram and using #SaveWhatMatters.
Challenge 8: Create a weekly meal prep menu
Who doesn’t love dreaming about food? Meal prep is a great way to organize your shopping list (so you only buy what you need) and have convenient grab-and-go meals on busy mornings. This requires a little extra effort up front, but will be more than worth it when you realize how much further your groceries go and how much less waste your meals generate throughout the week.
Challenge 9: Buy something in bulk
You've heard this a time or two if you follow us on Instagram, and for good reason. Buying in bulk is a killer way to eliminate plastic from your shopping excursions, especially when armed with reusable containers like Stasher bags, mason jars, or other containers. Feel like a newbie to the bulk section? Here’s a handy step-by-step guide to get you started.
Challenge 10: Order a CSA box
Also called cropsharing, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) lets you order produce directly from local farms. You can subscribe to a certain harvest, specific farm, or group of farms, depending on what’s available near you. This kind of farm-to-table shopping is not only sustainable, it’s delicious! Your fruits and veggies will be even more fresh than what you can get at a grocery store chain.
Challenge 11: Bag your own groceries
Bringing your own grocery bags is a fantastic way to minimize waste AND make sure your bags never break! Check your grocery store’s safety policies to be Covid-compliant. If you’re not able to bring your bags inside — or if you’ve forgotten them in the trunk (it happens!) — just load your cart back up from the conveyor belt and transfer items to your bags once you’ve reached your car.
Challenge 12: Organize your fridge and pantry
One way to reduce plastic and food waste is to keep storage facilities nice and organized. Prepping your food — portioning out meats, cheeses, or fresh vegetables into freezer-friendly Stasher bags — and making sure you can actually see what's in your fridge will ensure you use everything you buy. Set your #FridgeGoals and get your food organized this week.
Challenge 13: Make a freezer meal
Keeping the meal prep theme going, freezer meals are clutch for using what you have and making it last. Thankfully Stasher bags are freezer-friendly (and microwave safe, oven safe, stovetop save, and dishwasher safe!) and can help you store food securely without plastic waste. Digest our blog post on making freezer meals and get cooking!
Challenge 14: Design a litter-free lunch
Lunches are a huge source of plastic waste. All those takeout containers, disposable utensils, and to-go cups can really add up. But with your reusable essentials at hand and your meal prep game strong, your mid-day meals can make a huge difference. Check out our first-ever cookbook, Let’s Fix Lunch! for tips.
WEEK 3: Home Improvement
Now that your kitchen and food is all prepped, we'll turn our gaze to other rooms in your home. Need a helping hand, support, or a pat on the back? That’s what we’re here for. Don't forget to share your weekly progress with the Squad using #SaveWhatMatters on Instagram!
Challenge 15: Check your labels
The waste-free lifestyle doesn't end with plastic. There's a big opportunity to become more aware of the ingredients listed in products used everyday, that may be harmful to the environment and your health. If you haven't before, check your labels this week to see what actually goes into your favorite products. To make it easy, we created a cheat sheet of a few ingredients to avoid.
Challenge 16: Try toothpaste tablets
Is that tube of toothpaste getting low? Try toothpaste tablets instead of re-upping your regular supply. This may seem like a small change, but, it’s estimated that approximately 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes and over 1 billion toothpaste tubes are sent to landfills every year. Usually sold in sustainable or reusable jars, toothpaste tablets significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste coming in and out of your home. We’ve tried a few and love Bite. It’s plant-derived, cruelty-free, naturally whitening, and comes in a refillable glass container.
Challenge 17: Buy shampoos and lotions in bulk
Did you know you can buy shampoos and lotions in bulk? Not only is this a great way to cut back on plastic, but you can reuse and refill empty bottles to extend their life. Check your local natural health stores for options, and our blog post on how to shop in bulk.
Challenge 18: Recycle the right way
You’ve already mastered managing the plastics you already own. But if you just can’t find a way to reuse or repurpose a plastic item, make sure you recycle it correctly. It may seem simple, but here in the US, only 14% of food packaging gets recycled — and that containers soiled by food are eliminated from the recycling process altogether. This handy guide will help you ensure that your recycling efforts pay off, each and every time.
Challenge 19: Make your own laundry detergent
Believe it: Homemade detergent can clean your clothes just as well as store-bought varieties, without all the crazy chemicals! And you'll save a ton of cash while you're at it. This week, try making your own laundry detergent and see the sparkling clean results in your next load. There are tons of great DIY ideas out there, so do a quick online search and get mixing.
Challenge 20: Donate old sheets and towels
If you have some linens that have seen better days, don’t toss them out just yet! Most animal shelters will accept your used sheets, towels, bath rugs, and even old t-shirts to line crates and keep their residents warm and dry. Make sure they’ve been laundered, and call ahead to see if the shelters have any other requests or guidelines.
Challenge 21: Use or make a washable cloth mask
Since masks have become part of our lives, disposable versions have been piling up in our landfills and in some cases, littered on streets and beaches. Reuse fabric you have around the house to make your own mask, or buy one that’s washable and re-wearable. There are plenty of great options out there! Check with health officials for the most up-to-date recommendations on fabrics and techniques.
WEEK 4: Good Lookin' OutHeading into the home stretch, we're taking this final week on the road. Check out this week's challenges below and don't forget to share your progress with us by tagging us and using #SaveWhatMatters on Instagram!
Challenge 22: Sip your way to sustainability
Let's put our prep into action this week! If you find yourself out and about ordering a coffee or other beverage, refuse the straw and proudly ask for the drink in your reusable mug or cup. This is where your to-go kit can come in handy! If your local establishments aren’t allowing reusable containers for safety reasons, always opt for paper over plastic.
Challenge 23: Try secondhand first
Challenge 24: Keep your car in park
A little extra movement does the body good! When it’s time to run errands around town, ask yourself if you really need to drive, or if you can get by on foot or bike with a backpack. Driving less saves you money on gas, and saves the planet from extra carbon emissions.
Challenge 25: Unsubscribe for life
It’s called junk mail for a reason. Carve out some time to unsubscribe from mailing lists, email lists, and enroll in online bill pay to reduce the amount of paper and plastic waste that makes its way into your physical mailbox every day. Note: this may be best to do with a hot mug of tea or a full glass of wine.
Challenge 26: Pack it up, pack it out
Challenge 27: Organize a cleanup
Want to make an even bigger impact this week? Try organizing your own cleanup in your area — safely distanced, of course! We've got all the tips you'd need to get started, so save a weekend day for this challenge and make it a fun, planet-saving party!
Challenge 28: Donate your plastic bags