Waste Minimization Tips

Trash-Free Lunch

Trying to stay healthy by packing your own lunch, but feel like you’re creating a lot of waste? Consider working toward a zero-waste lunch. Lunches packed without disposable bags and containers will not only save you time and money, but they also will lower your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of waste you produce.


Composting is a great way to reduce your waste and help the environment. Checkout our Composting Page where we have tips for composting, as well as composing drop-off locations.

Smart with Small Steps

Plastic Free July is a monthlong challenge that helps millions of people across the globe become change makers in reducing plastic consumption and pollution. The idea for Plastic Free July originated from a small group in Western Australia and has continued to grow since 2011. In 2022 and 2023, the Sustainability Office recommended key tips to minimize waste for those interested in taking part of Plastic Free July. 

Consider Your Waste at Work

Minimizing waste can be a part of both your home and work life. If your role at UMB includes working in labs, check out our article in the Elm, Reminder: Utilize Lab Share to Donate and Claim Lab Supplies and Equipment. Also, consider turning your lab into a Green Lab! Go to our Green Labs page to learn more about the Green Labs Program, and other ways to reduce your waste. 

Are you moving out of your office, or just having a big cleanout? The Moving-Out-Checklist is a great resource that has great tips to minimize your waste, like suing the UMB Facilities Work Request Portal to request recycling and trash toters. 

Seasonal Tips


Spring Cleaning and Closet Cleanouts

When the seasons change it is popular to clean out your closets and your home. Try and sustainably dispose of your clothes or household items/furniture by either giving them to a friend, donating it to a thrift or reuse store, or see if there is a resource in your area that you can donate items for those in need. If you purchase new clothing or items after the cleanout, consider getting pre-loved items or thrifting.


Summer is a great time to diversify your modes of transportation by switching from driving to walking and biking around. Our Transportation page lists different green modes of transportation and helpful resources. 

Staying hydrated during the summer is very important, so consider carrying around a reusable water bottle to reduce your use of single-use plastics. 

Farmers Markets are very popular during the summer, and you can usually find produce there that has less plastic waste then those in grocery stores. Checkout the UMMC Farmers Market on Tuesdays at the University Park Plaza. 

Ice cream is one of our favorite ways to stay cool during the summer. If you are able, pick an ice cream cone over a cup/bowl to reduce your plastic waste. While it may seem small, think of how many people probably had ice cream that day! 


A Green Halloween

Check out these tips from the World Wildlife Fund for minimizing the environmental impact of your costumes, trick-or-treat bags, jack-o-lanterns, candy, and décor.

A Green Thanksgiving

According to RecycleWorks, a household waste increases by more than 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Start your holiday season the green way by reducing your carbon footprint and making eco-friendly changes that even your friends and family can get involved with. Check out our article about how to have a Regenerative Thanksgiving for tips.


Lessen Your Impact During the Winter Holiday Season

According to RecycleWorks, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, and bows and ribbons all add up to an additional 1 million tons a week in our landfills. The good news is that you can participate in the holiday festivities while still managing to stay green. Check out our "'Tis the Season to Buy Nothing" article for holiday tips.

Leaving over the Winter Break?

If you know you are going to be away from your apartment for winter break, consider planning ahead when grocery shopping before break to reduce the amount of food waste you may have when you leave/return.