Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ditch the disposables for goodness sakes!

I was reading up on my reader today and once again The Good Human really inspired me. Disposable's make your life easier right? You put your children first right? Well when you use disposables, your affecting your children. In a way. Just think about all that disposable junk in landfills sitting there. One day our children or children's children will have to deal with it. And why? All because it was convenient for us. Makes you think huh?
There is only one way to get around this. Stop buying disposable anything!  Buy with your eyes open and recycle as much as possible. When you grocery shop look for items that are Eco friendly brands, recyclable packaging or no packaging at all. This way you cut back on your garbage. My neighbors (4 person family) and us (6 person family) share a garbage can/recycle bin/yard debris. Guess how much trash in the actual trash bin has in it? One medium trash bag. Thats it.   Everything is recycled or taken in to be recycled (some plastics). We compost everything possible.  You see, it can be done!
I can see how this seems kinda too much for people so I thought I would share with you some small things you can do that are super easy.

1. Ditch paper filters for your coffee pot and buy a "Gold Filter". Some coffee makers actually come with them now. Yes you will pay a tiny bit more but you will save so much money and tree's by buying that one.

2.  Ditch the plastic bags/disposable containers when grocery shopping. Use reusable fabric bags (google it and make your own) or you can use net bags found in sports shops. I found mine at the dollar store. I can put everything except flours into them. Some places like Whole Foods will let you bring your own container for these types of things and weigh your container before you fill it. Saving you even more money!

3.  Ditch the bags. Some items dont even need a bag. I simply put things in my cart with no bag because I wash everything before I eat it. Cauliflower, cucumbers, banana's, and large things do not need bags.

4.  Ditch the paper bags. Bring your own bags to put your groceries in. Any bag will do! Maybe you have a great back pack, or a old book bag, etc. Don't think you have to go buy a new fabric bag. Just use what you have.

5.  Ditch the tissue. Instead of using tissue paper or toilet paper to blow your nose, try a fabric handkerchief. Remember those things your grandparents always had on hand? They were onto something! Just wash daily.

6.  Ditch the paper towels. First of all you will be saving so many tree's by not buying these things. You will also save yourself a ton of money.  Invest in 1 fabric napkin per family member and thats it. You will not have to buy another one for years! Same idea for the kitchen. Invest in one cotton set of kitchen towels. Just wash them daily and your set. No more paper towels!

7.  Ditch the plastic utensils. I bought 2 sets of utensils for my home years ago. I also have some from thrift stores/garage sales. This way I do not ever have to buy plastic utensils for any special occasion. Another great tip:Carry a set of metal utensils in your car or purse. This way you will not have to use any plastic ones ever again.

8.  Ditch the paper/plastic plates. Again just have extra glass plates on hand so you will never have to buy any disposable ones. They sell these super cheap in thrift stores/garage sales.

9.  Ditch plastic trash bags. This one might be hard for you. I am using up my last few plastic bags and once they are gone, they are gone! I will instead just carry my trash to the trash bin. If you cannot part with your trash bags, buy the ones made from recycled plastics. Better yet buy the biodegradable ones. Doesnt it sound silly to put your trash (stuff that wont decompose) into a plastic trash bag (that wont decompose either) ? Exactly.

10.  Ditch the retail sponge. I have always disliked sponges because they are just disgusting.  You use them for a few weeks, then they get all nasty and you throw them out. You can get by a few ways without buying conventional ones. There are several products out there made out of natural materials. But just like regular sponges, they break down and have to be replaced. I started off by knitting my own sponges a few years ago and just washing them every few days with my regular load of laundry. Love this idea!! I found some better ones on I found some crocheted ones with nubbies that help get food off my dishes. They only cost me $3 each and shipping was super cheap (independent sellers send them first class).  These will last for years and years.

11.  Ditch the plastic straws. How about just drink it like an adult? Were not kids anymore and we can drink our liquids from a cup with no straw. If you just love straws, you can now find glass straws in some stores and on the internet.

12.  Ditch the plastic wrap. You hear all the time how plastic can leach toxins into your food when heated up. Guess what plastic wrap is made of? Plastic! How about get rid of plastic wrap and just use good old glass wear with lids just like your grandmother did? Im telling you, they were onto something! While your at it try to limit yourself with the aluminum foil. I get away with not using any by using my metal pan lids covering my glass wear. There are times when I do need it (Turkey time comes to mind) and when I do need it I buy recycled aluminum foil. Its available in any store. No excuse.

13.  Ditch disposable diapers. I know I know in some cases you just cannot do it. Lifestyles are so different and we understand this. BUT you can find other alternatives. There are several lines of all natural disposable diapers that are just as good as name brands. Seventh Generation has a great diaper available at any Fred Meyers and even online. Most major stores carry these natural diapers so look for them. While your at it buy the all natural diaper wipes too!

14.  Ditch bottled water. This is a major problem we as humans have. How about just buying 1 stainless steel container for your water? This will last you for years and years. Better yet, when your at home and you get thirsty just use a cup. Who would of thought? We are lazy lazy humans.

15.  Ditch regular batteries. Invest in a set of rechargeable batteries. You will not have to buy another battery for years and years. This is especially handy for people with children.  Everything takes batteries anymore so invest in rechargeable ones!

16.  Ditch paper cups. This also includes specialty coffee drinks! Again you can find glass cups in thrift stores/garage sales for super cheap so just buy extra for when you have company or special occasions. When you go to get a cup of your favorite coffee from you know who, just bring your own reusable coffee cup. One small investment means you save a ton of tree's. While your at it, get your favorite coffee place to start recycling their paper garbage or at least start a recycling program. Yes Starbucks im talking to you!

17.  Ditch boxed juices or drinks. Instead of sending boxed juices with your kids in their lunch, invest in reusable drink containers. This has saved me a ton of money each year. And while your at it, just pack water. This will save you some money too!

18.  Ditch disposable food containers. Invest in stainless steel containers which you can find just about anywhere now. They even sell sets that clip together. Most come with a bowl, plate, small container and all clip together with a handle so its easy to carry. They run about $20 but worth every penny. Just keep it in your car and anytime you go through a drive though (which I hope you do not) or out to eat, just bring it and you can put your food in it.

19.  Ditch portable tissue. You know, those tiny prepackaged tissues (yeah thats you mom!) .  How about just toss some tissue in your purse or better yet a fabric one that you can wash.

20.  Ditch disposable med's. Single use any type of med usually involves plastic. How about just take some time and plan out what your gonna need. Invest in a non plastic container to put your med's in. Make sure its small enough to put in your purse or glove compartment. This will also save you some money. I am shocked at the mark up they put on these easy convenient products.

Now Ive given you so many idea's on how to eliminate your disposable habit. Challenge yourself to a few or all of these and watch your garbage go down and your money stay in your wallet.


Melissa said...

GREAT post - some excellent and easy-to-implement ideas here.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate this post! Our family has recently taken a big step in lessening the disposables in our lives....we've started using washable flannel wipes instead of toilet paper (for #1 only). Since we are a family of 6, this has greatly reduced the amount of toilet paper we buy and use each month. I will confess that when I first read about using "family cloth" the idea was way too over the top for me, but as I continued to think about it (for a year and a half!) I realized that it was the next logical step in doing away with disposables. (We have already almost completely eliminated all other disposables.) There are many families who use the flannel wipes for #2 also, and just wash them with their baby's cloth diapers.