5 ways to reduce your disposable habit

In the 1980’s, Madonna sang about being a “Material Girl.”  Thirty years later (that can’t seriously be right), we’ve moved from a material world to a disposable world. From paper towels to floss picks to cleaning wipes; countless ads tout the convenience of “use it once and throw it away.”

imageThis convenience, though, quickly leads to overflowing landfills.

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune praised the 2012 Aurora Vegan Fest. At the end of this one day festival, attended by over 4,000 people, there were 4 bags of garbage.

You read that correctly. Four kitchen-sized garbage size. That’s it.

Though they’re striving for this year’s event to be zero-waste, there are homes in my neighborhood that put out more garbage weekly than this entire event.

Are single-use items really more convenient? If we were to use paper napkins at our dinner table, it would take four seconds to walk to the garbage can. It takes 7 seconds to walk to the laundry room with reusable napkins.

Sure, there’s the extra load of laundry. Or, you can just add them to your regular load of bath towels.

Try these 5 convenient ways to move from a disposable world to creating a reusable world.

1- Skip the “snack size.” Buying multiple small size bags for lunches or gym bags just equals extra waste. Divide the family size into reusable containers: easier for portion control too!

image2-  Reduce your paper towel habit. Switch to rags or knitted cloths for cleaning counters and sinks, or for mopping up spills.

3- Swap razors. Choose a razor that has replaceable blades to extend the life of the razor.

The U.S. EPA estimates that 2 billion disposable razors are tossed each year.

Unfortunately, most disposable razors on the US market are not recyclable.

image4. Substitute plastic bags. If you have to use resealable plastic bags (field trips), choose bags that are biodegradable. Wexy Bags are not only biodegradable, they are also made in the USA!

5- Skip the picks. Nightly flossing with disposable floss picks may keep your gums healthy, but it’s not so healthy for the environment. Switch to the old-school dental floss containers. Even if you use a little more than you need, it’s still better than tossing all of the plastic into garbage.

Set a goal to use one less trash bag per week.

Which disposable items have you given up for “less convenient” alternatives?

Knitted cloths photo credit: EweniqueEssentials 2013


4 responses to “5 ways to reduce your disposable habit

  1. Thank you for featuring my white hand knitted dishcloth set as a “green” alternative to paper towels for cleaning counter tops and wiping up spills. Lots of other colors are available in my shop! Please stop by and take a look.

  2. Reusable containers R Us! From lunch boxes to canvas grocery bags (and cloth veggie bags) to mason jars for my olives and take-out coffee to sealable metal bowls for take-out Chinese and Indian food.
    Like you said, none of those are much less convenient than the single-use plastic alternatives.

    • Rock on! Have you seen our reusable bags made from organic t-shirts? Which lunch boxes do you use? Since our USA-made lunch boxes moved manufacturing to China, we’re looking for new ones.

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