Ithaca / Finger Lakes Reduces | BYO Program

We simply ask local businesses to put our Reduces stickers on to let their customers know they welcome BYO (Bring Your Own containers, cups, utensils, bags, etc.) to reduce use of single-use disposables.

It’s a win-win-win proposal. It costs us nothing; we help ourselves to part with single-use disposables wreaking havoc on the planet; and we also help our local businesses save money from purchase of disposables and trash removal.

Over 90 local businesses and festivals participate in our Reduces program as of November 1, 2022. See the map and list of participants.

Please read more about Ithaca / Finger Lakes Reduces.

Our Reduces program is sponsored by Sustainable Finger Lakes neighborhood mini-grant and Park Foundation.

Who We Are



The mission of the group is to promote Zero Waste policies and culture, toward prosperity without growth (from Tim Jackson’s bestseller book title).

Our long-term goal is to make Ithaca / Tompkins a Zero Waste City or Municipality. See Zero Waste City Masterplan from GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives).

We also have fun going for hikes, trash pickups, dumpster observations, gift exchanges in Buy Nothing groups, gardening, fixing, mending and doing crafty things and sharing everyday zero waste hacks.

We think Zero Waste is not only a serious climate goal, but also it is a way to bring all kinds of people together for the right purposes.

Read more about us in About.


The local outfitter Paddle-N-More is a participant of the Ithaca / Finger Lakes Reduces program and generously lets us use their watercrafts for our trash pick up events, and also teach their summer camp students the importance of keeping our waterways clean. Thank you, Paddle-N-More, for being such a a wonderful part of the community!

Beautiful photos from Kayak trash pickup from August, 2022 are courtesy of a local farmer/photographer Rich Mattingly. Thanks so much, Rich!

Zero Waste Ithaca is a proud GAIA member. GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries. We envision a just, zero waste world built on respect for ecological limits and community rights, where people are free from the burden of toxic pollution, and resources are sustainably conserved, not burned or dumped. 

Zero Waste Ithaca are an official Beyond Plastics affiliate. Beyond Plastics is a nationwide project based at Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont. Its mission is to end plastic pollution by being a catalyst for change at every level of our society.

We are a part of National ReUse Network and Reusable Community Coalitions by Upstream. Upstream was founded in 2003 as a public-interest, non-profit organization by a group of Zero Waste activists in the US and Canada working on upstream solutions such as reusables initiatives. Upstream helped create #BreakFreeFromPlastic, an international movement.

On January 27, 2022, we co-hosted our first webinar on single-use plastics, with support from our friends from Zero Waste Warren County, with over 300 registrants from around the world. We had incredible guests from Toronto, Berkeley and Silicon Valley. Thank you for your support!

Hierarchy of Rs - Recycling is the last resort.  The photo courtesy of @refillworthing on instagram.

Zero Waste Ithaca is fiscally sponsored by NOPI – Nonprofit Incubator, a program of NOPI INC, a Massachusetts nonprofit corporation and 501(c)(3) organization, EIN 81-5089505. Learn more at https://thenopi.org.

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