When I hear the word “reusable” advertised with a product, I perk up.
I love learning of new ways that I can switch out disposable household items for reusable alternatives. I don’t make the changes because it’s the trendy thing to do–I make them because it’s the common sense thing to do.
So why should you consider switching to reusable options?
- To keep your trash out of the landfills
- To save money
- To have better quality items that will last longer
- To be classier
Maybe that last one will make you look a little “trendy,” but who cares? Wood and glass and cloth are classier than plastic or paper–you can’t get around that.
Go on a treasure hunt around your house and identify the disposable items you can switch out. You may have already done some of the things on my list (#12 is pretty common), but maybe others are new to you (have you done #6?).
15 Ways to Switch to Reusable:
1. Microfiber cloths
These are a must in my natural cleaning arsenal. I use them in place of paper towels–the general purpose cloths for dusting, and the polishing cloths for glass and mirrors. I also wrap a damp general purpose cloth around the Swiffer head so that I don’t have to buy Swiffer pad refills.
2. Washable sponges
The cheap, synthetic sponges get gross quickly. I bought a few microfiber sponges that I can toss in the washing machine as needed.
3. Kitchen scrub brush
There are so many cheap, throw-away options that get nasty fast! Instead, you can use a nifty product like this one for a long time!
4. Rags/cloth wipes
We try to use old T-shirts and towels in place of paper towels for cleaning up messes. To step it up a notch, try making your own disinfectant wipes.
5. Cloth shopping bags
Keep these in your car trunk to have handy! They also double as sleeping mats for your cat.
6. Cloth shower curtain liner
Plastic curtain liners get nasty over time, and you have to toss them. You may have to spend a little more on a cloth curtain liner, but not much–and you can toss it in the laundry when it gets dirty.
8. Cloth diapers
We’d love to cloth diaper our future babies because we’re not a fan of the chemicals in disposable dipes. Around the thought of mountains of poopy plastic diapers filling up landfills just isn’t pretty. For all you need to know about cloth diapers, I recommend this handbook.
9. Reusable options for your cycle
Instead of reaching for a paper or plastic bag to pack your lunch, go with an inexpensive, insulated tote. I have one similar to this one.
11. Commuter mug
We all do this now, right? No need to keep Styrofoam cups in the cabinet when there are so many great, eco-friendly options out there!
12. Cloth napkins
The savings can really add up here! My family of 8 started using cloth napkins when I was about 7. I did some number crunching based on this popular brand of paper napkins and figured that we saved well over $3,500 over the years, just by using cloth! If you have a big family like I did, it’s helpful to get each person their own unique napkin ring–if the napkins get shuffled between meals, you know whose is whose.
Plastic cutlery is the obvious choice for picnics, cookouts, and camping trips, but I’m not sure it should be! After our Epic West Adventure last summer, we decided that plastic utensils weren’t worth it. Why? They break! So grab some cheap packs of silverware at Wal-Mart or the Dollar Store and wash and reuse those, instead!
14. Real plates
For home use, Corelle plates are durable and lightweight (easy for children to manage). For camping, we wash and reuse sturdy plastic.
15. Glass straws
Pick out a glass straw for each person in your family! You can wash them in the dishwasher and reuse them for life–if they’re made of borosilicate glass, they won’t break! I got ours from Strawesome, a Michigan-based family business. I picked up the smoothie straw size since those seemed the most versatile. There are also a variety of glass straws available on Amazon.