I have been slowly working towards replacing as much of my disposable stuff as possible. It just feels so wasteful to continue to spending money on things that you throw away when you can invest in things that you can continue to use.
For me, this has been a pretty slow process and it is still a work in progress. As I run out or low on something I look to see if there is something reusable that I can get instead of the disposable. This makes the task a long process but keeps it simple and not overwhelming. I couldn’t imagine just buying all of the stuff at once then figuring out what to do with the stuff I already have.
Below are a few things that I naturally already avoided.
Refillable soap dispensers
Instead of buying the small prefilled soap dispensers I have reusable dispensers for each bathroom and the kitchen. Then I can save money by buying a larger bottle of soap and refilling when needed. Plus, then you can buy cute dispensers that go with the rooms theme. Looks much more put together.
This would seem to be the most obvious thing. Pretty much everyone has a set of dishes right? But some use paper plates instead to avoid washing dishes. Start using your regular plates on a daily basis, this will save a lot of waste and save on buying plates. I have never personally been a fan of using paper plates except if I am at a cookout or something where your plates are not as safe. Here, you can buy cheap plastic plates instead, but yes, that does mean you still will have dishes to wash.
Same as with the paper plates. Avoid using plastic silverware, use regular silverware as your normal use. Big parties may be an exception on this, but for every day it should be simple to avoid.
This I have seen the most wasting with. Buying cases of water, instead of using a reusable water bottle. If you are worried about drinking sink water, then buy a water filter. You can get one for your faucet that filters as you use it. Or you can get one that you can fill and put in the fridge. It’s also useful to take a full bottle of water out with you when you are shopping and running errands. This will help not only keep you hydrated since its readily available but you can avoid buying individual bottles in line at the store, or making an unhealthy decision by getting a pop when you are thirsty.
Over the last couple months there were a few things that took a little more to adjust to.
This one was a little hard for me to adjust to. I love using a sponge to wash dishes with. But if you think about it… Not only is it wasteful, it’s a little gross. I know there are ways to disinfect your sponge to keep it lasting longer and reduce the germs. But, if I am going to be completely honest.. I never follow through on those things. I wash dishes, rinse sponge, set on sink. By the time I am done with the dishes and clean up I am not thinking about remember to put my sponge in the microwave or whatever trick there is to clean it. Even then the sponge still starts to look gross and you throw it away after a couple weeks anyway.
There are a lot of reusable options out there. For now, I chose to stick to a basic dish cloth. After a lot of research I decided it was the best price for me for now. I wanted something to not only to wash dishes but wipe down counters as well. Then at the end of the day I can change them out and start with a clean one the next day.
Note: You may think this would increase my laundry, but it has not. I just toss them in with other loads of towels.
Paper towels get a lot of use in my house. They are probably the most wasted product I have. I am still in progress on eliminating or at least almost eliminating the use of paper towels. I will share with you what I have done so far.
The dishcloth I purchased to replace my sponge, also acts to clean the kitchen counters. Instead of grabbing a paper towel for every little spill or spot I just grab the dishcloth. Just this small change has already saved me a ton in paper towels.
Cleaning the bathroom used almost a whole roll of paper towels for me a week. I have 3 bathrooms, and I was a little too generous with my paper towel usage. Instead of having a roll of paper towels to carry around with me, I put some microfiber rags in each bathroom and my homemade reusable wipes, with a small box to put the dirty ones in. This has helped make bathroom cleaning so much easier. Read more about how I manage this on my post Never “Clean” Your Bathroom Again.
Keep rags, old washcloths, old clothes, ect. Use these to clean with vs grabbing a paper towel.
Cleaning the Floors
This one I am probably the most excited about. Mostly because the storage I need to keep hardwood, tile floor, and carpet is a lot. I had boxes for my Swiffer, dry pads, and wet pads, and hardwood floor product. On top of the vacuum cleaner. I love the Swiffer products, so this was a hard switch. I switched to a Bona Microfiber Floor Mop that I can use reusable pads and spray the required product on the floor. There is different products for Wood vs Tile. Plus a pad for just dusting. Once done I take off and throw it in the wash. This has taken me down to one bin of storage, and is saving me some on products.
I was totally sold on these adorable Puffer Fish Dryer Buddies. Seriously the cuteness of these encouraged me to do the switch from dryer sheets to dryer balls. I have been using them for a few weeks now and they are working just as good as a dryer sheet would.
This is pretty much what I have done so far, I do have a list of things I am looking to do in the future to keep improving and will share the results!
- Cloth Napkins to Reduce more paper towels
- Stainless steal straws, no more plastic straws!
- Swiffer Duster
Share any ideas you might have too!
I’ve pressed older kitchen towels into service as napkins. They can be washed with my towels. It is ok if they get some stains… I can run them through a short wash with some bleach if needed and I don’t really care if they are pretty as long as they do the job.
Good advice here! For my household, the greatest area of waste is paper towels. It is so easy to get into the habit of tearing off a paper towel for any reason- even when you don’t really need one, like for drying your hands. We are slowly getting better and now use regular towels when possible.
I love my Rambler as well but its not a water bottle. It’s a large cup. I’d never fill it up, throw it in my pack, and head out for the day. It’s more of a home/car/office cup. You can screw tops on bottles…..