You know what annoys me? Single use items marketed as green choices. When really, the true eco-choice is to choose items that can be used over and over again. Examples?
Paper Towels — Sure, you can buy the recycled paper option, or you can just use rags made from cut up old T-shirts. I employ this option for washing windows, the bathroom, spills from the floor, etc. I simply wash them when I do a load of towels/cloth napkins. The only task that does not lend itself to reusable rag-age is wiping the oil on my cast irons pans. For this, I use restaurant paper napkins that seem to sneak themselves into our house.
Tampons/Pads — I started using a Moon Cup three years ago, and have not had a moment of regret. These reusable silicone menstrual cups seemingly last forever, and only need to be emptied and reinserted a couple times per day. I have fewer messes than when I used tampons and I love not having to worry whether or not I’m stocked up on supplies. If I had to estimate how much I’ve saved over the past three years, I would estimate at least a million dollars. Since my initial cost was around $25, this is not bad. I highly recommend that you snip off the horrible pokey stick, otherwise this product is great. I do know that many people use and like the Diva Cup, which seems to be pretty much the same product. Both names annoy me, but the “Diva Cup” name annoys me more. I am an old-school feminist, and the whole “celebrate your Diva” thing just rubs me the wrong way.
If you did your internet searches through Swagbucks, then you could be earning $5 Amazon gift cards, which would then pay for your menstrual cup. I am usually not a fan of Amazon, as I prefer to support local businesses, but sometimes they’re worth it.
Paper Napkins — Put together a collection of cloth napkins and then start using them. You don’t have to buy them brand new, and you certainly don’t have to make them yourself. Cloth napkins are super easy to find at garage sales, thrift shops and your grandmother’s linen cupboard. My only advice is to wash them separately from your clothing so as not to put grease stains on your nice clothes. Put them in your kid’s school lunches as well as your work lunch. Huge no brainer.
Individual Spice Jars– I have been using the same baby food jars for spices since I had babies. (I got them from a friend, as I refused to buy baby food.) Buying spices in bulk is a huge money saver, as well a packaging saver. You can even bring your jars to the register to get weighed before adding the exact amount that you are buying.
Grocery and Produce Bags — Most people who are trying to live an eco-friendly lifestyle already bring their own bags to the store, but bringing your own produce bags is not routine for many. I bought my reusable mesh bags at The Dollar Tree, and they were actually in the automotive section as car organizers. (??) And at four-for-a-dollar, there was absolutely no sticker shock. They weigh almost nothing, so they’re perfect.
Can you think of any single use items that I’ve left off this list? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”
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