You may have all kinds of disposable, wasteful items in your home and not even realize it. Because wastefulness has become the norm these days, it’s easy to overlook some of the items in your home that are not only wasteful, but unnecessary.
Here is a list of some of the products that you can live without, and some less-wasteful alternatives.
1. Paper Napkins
It’s easy to go through a lot of paper napkins in just a few days. And you have to buy more when you go to the store. Try cloth napkins instead. They can be washed along with the rest of the laundry and re-used. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on cloth napkins. Antique and second-hand stores often sell cloth napkins for very little. You can also make your own using scrap cloth.
2. Plastic Wrap
Not only is plastic wrap wasteful; the dioxin it contains has been linked to health problems. Use waxed paper that you can recycle, or simply put food in covered containers instead.
3. Aluminum Foil
Like plastic wrap, foil is wasteful as it can only be cleaned and reused a few times before it’s thrown away. However, in some communities aluminum foil can be recycled along with aluminum cans, as long as it’s clean. If that’s the case, clean and recycle your aluminum foil or simply put food in covered containers.
4. Disposable Razors
These plastic razors are tossed into the trash when they are used up, which is usually after just a few shaves. Try mastering the art of the straight razor, or investing in a safety razor. Safety razors have a removable, replaceable blade which is much less wasteful than throwing out the whole razor. Also, some safety razor blades can be sharpened. Electric razors are another, more eco-friendly option.
5. Paper Plates and Cups
Whether it’s in your kitchen or bathroom, paper plates and cups are really not necessary. Use a washable cup in the bathroom for brushing your teeth, and use washable plates and flatware in the kitchen.
6. Pre-packaged and Frozen Foods
This is a biggie in convenience-obsessed, modern societies. Are you buying produce in plastic-sealed bags, frozen meals on plastic trays, or yogurt and pudding in individual packages? Those are all wasteful products you don’t really need. Freeze your own meals in freezer-safe containers; make your own pudding or yogurt and store it in a covered container in the refrigerator.
7. Paper Towels
Instead of using and tossing paper towels, save money and be eco-friendly by using rags and clean-up cloths wherever possible. These can be laundered and reused.
8. Water Bottles and Juice Boxes
Individual servings of water, juice, or any beverage are very wasteful. A refillable water bottle of stainless steel or safe plastic can last for months, and you can fill it with home-filtered water. Juice boxes are unnecessary – use a sports bottle or other reusable cup for juice (you can also add water to the juice this way, cutting back on the sugar content and expense of the drink).
9. Paper Tissues
Handkerchiefs are fine for everyday nasal needs. Reserve the disposable tissues for really bad colds.
10. Disposable Wipes
Whether it’s for baby or hand-sanitizing, you don’t need thousands of disposable wipes. Make your own antibacterial hand spritz – fill a mini spritzer with water or rubbing alcohol and add 2-4 drops of grapefruit seed extract or tea tree oil. If you go with store-bought products, use the gel or liquid rather than individual wipes.