"Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" has become a mantra for people who want to live a more responsible, sustainable lifestyle. The most effective step is "Reducing" the amount of potential waste at the front end.
The first step in "Reducing" is "Refusing." Fill up your travel mug at the convenience store. Say "No straw please" when ordering at a restaurant. Remember to bring your reusable grocery bags into the store, including smaller bags for loose or wet produce and for bulk items. Shop at farmers markets and stores that use the least amount of packaging.
"Reducing" can have additional benefits. Take a smartphone photo of flyers, business cards and other handouts and you'll always have the information with you – and less waste.