When it comes to "living green," there are three basic tenets to keep in mind: reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

I don't know about you, but trash day is something of a wake-up call for me. Do I really need to send that many bags of trash to the local landfill? A while back, I made the decision to try and cut back what I was tossing out, and here are the simplest cuts I made.

Reuse your kitchen scraps as compost.

You don't need an expensive tumbling composter to create garden soil. I used a tutorial like this to make our simple trash can composter that lives on the side of our house. It's easy to dump a load of vegetable peels and scraps when the compost bin is nearby.

Reuse glass jars for storage.

If you get spaghetti sauce pretty regularly, keep some of the jars for storing things. Soak off the labels in hot water and use them to store dry goods or even for taking salads to work. The Classico brand sauce comes in nice, heavy jars in the classic canning jar shape if you're going for a uniform look.

It's always nice to have some on hand when you're making homemade soup—no more stained plastic storage containers! They're also good for gift-giving; you won't have to fret about giving away your "good Tupperware" if you're sharing some soup or your famous Sunday spaghetti sauce.

jars

Reduce your single-use plastic needs.

Take a set of silverware to work so you're not tempted to use the plastic stuff in the staff lounge. 

silverware

Recycle and Upcycle!

This doesn't have to mean sorting your trash for the county recycling center, though that's certainly a big part of it. Upcycling is another method that incorporates finding another use for something instead of throwing it out. T-shirts bound for the donation bin can be cut into rags to use around the house.

Yogurt cups can be used as planters for starting seeds in the spring. Pages from an old paperback can be used to make a gorgeous Christmas wreath. Pinterest is your friend when it comes to finding ways to recycle materials.

Buy reusable grocery totes and keep them in your car.

Not only are the reusable grocery bags stronger and more earth-friendly than their thin plastic counterparts, they make great gift bags. Spread the green mentality by giving your next present in one!

Reuse those produce bags.

There's no rule saying that your produce has to go into a plastic bag at the grocery store. If you do end up with some, reuse them instead of tossing them when you get home. They make cleanup infinitely easier when you're shaking on a dry batter and you can also use them to line your juicer to collect the pulp. 

produce

Find your local green spot.

In my case, Mom's Organic Market is a great inspiration for going green. They encourage shoppers to bring their own containers for bulk goods (remember those glass jars?) and have sorting centers in each store for recycling.

Their produce bags are 100-percent biodegradable so can be composted and they have a whole section for cool products to replace single-use plastic. If you have one in your area, give it a try!

Mom's Organic Market

Courtesy of Mom's Organic Market

**All of the photos in this article are courtesy of Pexels unless credited otherwise.

Do you have easy tips or tricks for going green? Share them with us in the comments!