Disposable items have become a major part of everyday life. So much so, that we often don’t stop to think how much we’re spending on them, or how much they’re contributing to landfills. Luckily, many of them can be easily replaced by much longer lasting, and inexpensive, versions. Some you can make yourself, and others you may need to purchase. But either way, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run, and do something good for the environment while you’re at it!
Even reducing one or two disposable products will go along way to helping your budget and the environment! Check out these great ideas!
Replace Disposable Products With Reusable Ones
1. Paper Towels
Have you ever stopped to think how many paper towels you use in a year? Why keep buying and throwing away paper towels when you can easily make your own “unpaper” towels! The unpaper towels in this tutorial from A Blossoming Life can be Velcroed together, so you can roll them up like traditional paper towels. Or switch to using rags.
If you’re using paper napkins for every meal, then that’s a lot of napkins winding up in the trash. Instead, make or buy cloth napkins! You could even monogram or otherwise customize napkins for the different members of your family. ChocolateAndZucchini.com has a great tutorial on how to make some really pretty homemade cloth napkins .
3. Cleaning wipes
Commercial cleaning wipes are very handy, but their cost can add up and they’re made with lots of chemicals. Instead, make your own with old towels, upcycled shirts, etc. Passion for Savings shows how to make homemade cleaning wipes with just a few safe ingredients.
4. Sandwich bags
It’s so easy to just stick a sandwich in one of the commercial plastic sandwich bags. But if you’re packing sandwiches often, you may want to consider switching to a fabric sandwich bag instead. Just pack, eat, wash, and reuse. They’re pretty easy to make, too, as you can see in this DIY sandwich bag tutorial from Chica and Jo.
5. Fabric softener/dryer sheets
If you use fabric softener or dryer sheets, a cheaper and healthier alternative would be to use wool dryer balls like these from Pop Sugar. Or you could make some aluminum foil dryer balls (we’ve done this and it worked well). It only takes a few minutes to make foil dryer balls as shown by Creek Line House.
Tissues are another thing that you don’t think about, but that you use hundreds of each year (a single box holds 100+ tissues). So how about using handkerchiefs instead? You could even make your own, in any style or color you want. The lace trim handkerchiefs in Craft Passion’s handkerchief tutorial are really cute!
7. Disposable Dusters
Brands like Swiffer make their money off of the fact that you have to continuously replace the dusters on their products. Instead of doing that, save some money by making or buying reusable dusters. You can buy some really pretty reusable dusters on Etsy. Or you can make your own duster for your Swiffer handle by following Sew Much Ado’s easy tutorial.
8. Plastic Wrap Replacement – Bowl Cover
Commercial disposable bowl covers tend to look like plastic shower caps, but they get the job done. But why use those when you could make your own bowl/food covers that look prettier and that are reusable? You can easily sew your own bowl cover by following the Farm Chicks’ great tutorial!
We use straws frequently for smoothies in my family. If your family also often uses straws, you may want to consider getting stainless steel straws . What’s great about them is that you can clean them and reuse them for years. You can find these on ebay as well.
10. Water bottles
Buying bottled water can be bad for a number of reasons. The bottles can contain BPA, they contribute to landfills, and the water may be of the same quality as your home tap water. So instead of paying for another 24 pack of plastic, consider buying bottles that you can refill and wash. My daughter loves her BPA-free plastic Thermos water bottle , and we also use aluminum SIGG bottles.
As you can see, it’s easy to replace the disposable products in your life with reusable ones. Not only is it better for the environment and your budget, but you can often make or buy ones that look much prettier!
Have you replaced any disposable products with something reusable?
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