We’re a wasteful bunch.
Our society is so accustomed to chucking certain items when we’re done with them, we never stop to think if there’s another option. But many reusable versions of disposable products exist.
By rejecting our culture’s throwaway mentality, we can use less of the earth’s resources and more importantly, save money.
Consider these durable alternatives to products we carelessly throw out every single day.
Baby Wipes: Since baby wipes weren’t invented until the 1970s, I wonder what my grandmother used to clean my mom’s bottom when she was an infant. A damp washrag maybe? Nah. Too simple.
Reusable baby wipes are often made of a soft, sturdy material such as fleece.
Mix up a batch of baby wipe solution, pour it in a spray bottle, and take it with you when you’re on the go. Store cloth wipes in a convenient location. When you’re ready to use one, dampen it with your gentle, homemade cleanser.
Coffee Filters: Permanent coffee filters are surprisingly affordable. At the time of this writing, you could buy one from Amazon for roughly the same price as a hundred paper filters.
Many single use filters are laden with harmful toxins, so going with a more sustainable option is probably a wise move either way.
Dryer Sheets: Here’s an idea; don’t use dryer sheets. I haven’t used one in months. Would you believe that I also don’t use fabric softener? For me, both are unnecessary as I don’t have a problem with static cling.
However, if your clothes are practically glued together when you pull them out of the dryer, you may not want to skip this product altogether. Still, you can easily make your own dryer sheets with wash cloths and fabric softener.
Drinking Straws: The only time I use drinking straws is when I’m faced with putting my lips on a suspicious looking glass at a restaurant or consuming a thick liquid concoction like a smoothie.
But if you enjoy sipping your drinks through a narrow tube, you can opt for glass or stainless steel straws.
Feminine Hygiene Products: With the exception of getting pregnant or taking a special hormonal contraceptive, there’s not much you can do to stop your period. Therefore, it’s not practical for women of child bearing age to simply go without.
Instead of disposable tampons or sanitary napkins, you could try the DivaCup which can stay in for up to twelve hours. I’ve heard great things about this product, and it receives stellar reviews on Amazon.com.
One day, when I’m no longer grossed out by the handling of bodily fluids, I’m gonna get one.
Like paper coffee filters, apparently, tampons are crawling with dangerous chemicals. So hopefully my squeamishness goes away soon.
Sandwich Bags:According to Reuseit.com, families spend about $85 annually on disposable, polybags.
I’m most excited about reusable sandwich bags because they’re so freaking cute. Forget the money.
You’re probably not going to pay your kids’ tuition with the savings. But maybe the difference you pocket will cover a semester’s worth of books.
Tea Bags: Honestly, I don’t know how much money you save, if any, by opting for loose tea leaves over the bagged variety. But one thing I do know is that loose fresh, tea leaves taste better. Then again, that’s probably because if I buy loose tea leaves, they’re of premium quality.
You can order a reusable tea ball from Amazon or Reuseit.com for less than five bucks. Or if you have an oriental market nearby, you can pick one up from there. Either way, you reduce waste from extraneous packaging.
At the outset, reusable items are usually more expensive than their disposable counterparts. So calculate whether the eventual savings warrant the initial investment.