We live in a society that has come to appreciate convenient and disposable a bit too much. Why clean it when you can just throw it away right? What could be more convenient than to use a brand, spanking new product each time you need one and then throw it away and make it someone else’s problem when you are done. There are many of us though that realize that it is just lazy and selfish to to get hooked on one use disposables. Not only are we throwing our money away on what is essentially garbage…we are contributing to the endless supply of products heading into our landfills. Many times these products will stay there for decades or even hundreds of years…all because we couldn’t be bothered to wash a dish or bring a reusable bag to carry our groceries. I don’t want to be THAT guy (or gal). Do you??? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
We all know (hopefully) not to use those red Solo cups or paper plates, and to bring our cloth bags to the store. But are there disposables lurking in your home that you never really thought about? Here are 15 products that you may not have realized you can buy reusable:
Produce Bags – We are used to taking our reusable shopping bags to the store with us but do we still grab for the plastic produce bags to bag our fresh leeks, green beans, and loose apples? If so, there is no need. You can get thin cotton bags, see-though nylon bags, and even mesh bags that can hold loose produce like this. Skip the plastic! The photo above is one of the brands I use…Flip & Tumble. Love them!
Panty Liners and Sanitary Napkins – Plastic based panty liners and sanitary pads are bad for the planet in much the same way baby diapers are and there is no need for them. Cloth pads and liners are not only washable they are infinitely more comfortble. After giving them a go you will never want to go back. Try Sckoon Organic or GladRags.
Straws – Sometimes it is preferable to drink though a straw. I know I prefer to drink smoothies with a straw but there is no need to buy plastic straws when there are other great options out there that will last you a long time. Stainless steel straws and glass straws work great and you can take them with you to restaurants and eateries. You can even buy straw sleeves and cases for trips and eating out. How much more convenient could it get?
Cotton Balls and Rounds – Okay I have yet to see an reusable cotton BALL but rounds work just as well and those are available. They make it easy to remove makeup, apply toner, etc.
Sandwich Bags – These are one of the biggest lunch time waste items and it is understandable because they do make it super easy to package up all sorts of foods for easy transportation and consumption. They are also hugely wasteful though since we only use them for a few hours and then relegate them to the landfills where they will remain entombed for hundreds of years. Are Cheetos in our lunch box really THAT important? Try some of these great reusable lunch baggies.
Wrapping Paper – Birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions need not be so wasteful any longer. There are several companies that make reusable fabric bags that you can use instead of paper. Imagine how much time and money will be saved too.
Coffee Filters – No more paper coffee filters. Get one filter and use it over and over again. I am not a coffee drinker myself but my husband insists that these perform very well.
Dryer Sheets – These products are especially bad for our health because they have lots of nasty chemicals but they are also very wasteful. These reusable cloth dryer sheets last for more than 500 loads and they eliminate static and wrinkles just like conventional ones.
Furnace/AC Filters – We are supposed to replace our furnace and AC filters every four months. This ensures that our unit runs smoothly and efficiently and also that our indoor air is cleaner and free of allergens. There actually is a filter though that can be washed and reused instead of completely replaced. Each one last for about ten years.
Paper Towels – The standard for replacing paper towels is usually cloth rags but there are some options that look and feel like paper towels. Bambooee makes bamboo towels on a roll that look just like the real thing.
Sweeper Cleaning Pads & Mop Heads – Ditch the plastic and use microfiber pads and mops covers.
Chopsticks – If you love sushi and Asian restaurants, like I do then you might be interested to know that several companies make reusable chopsticks that you can take with you. The ones in the eateries are wood and wrapped in paper so why waste them if you can bring your own? If you are serious about your sushi then be serious about bringing your own chopsticks. I have and use a pair of Collapsible Compact Chopsticks. They fit nicely inside a purse or pocket.
Squishable Food/Juice Pouches – The squishable pouches filled with applesauce and juice seem to be all the rage right now but the disposable ones are a big waste. You can still provide these in your kiddos lunch box just get the ones you can wash and reuse. Sqooshi makes some that are adorable plus they can be put in the dishwasher and freezer, and they are BPA, PVC, Lead and Phthalate Free.
Take Out Food Containers – Plan in advance and you will never have to use the Styrofoam takeout boxes found in restaurants. There are several small lunch containers that can double as takeout boxes. One that comes to mind immediately is the LunchBot. Perfect size for takeout! You can also take a Tiffin box with you and then you have space for a couple different meals…perhaps your leftovers and your child’s?
Electric Shaver – Yes, they make these for ladies too. You can ditch the disposable razors and the cuts that come along with trying to make them last longer than they should. This Panasonic shaver for ladies can be used wet or dry.
Have you spotted at least one thing you need to try? Do you have any to add to this list?
Monday, March 18th, 2013