Disposable items are convenient in today’s fast-paced world. They’re also destroying our planet.
“But I don’t have time to be a zero waste household!”
This is a common phrase I hear when I advocate for being green. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. There are small things you can do that will help our waste crisis immensely! I started with just recycling what I could. When I had a kid I decided to cloth diaper. Now as I feel comfortable I try new environmentally friendly things. This post is about those small things you can try to start helping preserve our planet for the next generations. Earth Day is April 22nd– make a choice this year to be green every day, not just on Earth Day!
Re-Play childrens’ dishware:
This stuff is awesome, and affordable. Each piece saves milk jugs from the landfill, as that’s all they’re made of. They are insanely durable. Your kid can toss and bang them around to their heart’s content. You can find some of their products at your local big box store to try– or you can support any number of small businesses and buy them online. My personal favorite is Natural Okie Baby . They come in all sorts of bright fun colors, and adults can use the plates too. I make myself snack trays on the divided plates all the time!
Planet Wise reusable trashcan liners:
These are one of my favorite “green” items. They will also save you a lot of money in the long run and keep so much plastic out of the landfills! They come in a small size for your bathroom trash and a large size for your kitchen. I reuse the bathroom ones a few times before I change them out. They are washing machine safe, and you can dry them– or just drape them over your tub to dry. I just throw them in when I wash towels! I’d suggest 2 for each bathroom trash and enough large ones to get you through a week. Nicki’s Diapers has both the small and large size as Nicki’s owns the Planet Wise brand.
Reusable snack bags:
Ziplocs are a huge contributor to land fills. A very simple solution is to use tupperware or glass whenever you are storing leftovers. When you really need to use a bag– say for snacks or a sandwich, reusable food safe bags are awesome! Several brands make them But I love the Planet Wise ones. They come in several sizes and prints. They also make a clear version for those that tend to forget what they’ve placed in bags. I use the snack size for my husband’s work snacks. The sandwich size is great for storing fruit or vegetables after you cut part of them up. They also make sandwich wraps for your lunch pail. They are top rack dishwasher safe, or you can just swish them out with a bit of hot water and soap and place them upside down on a drying rack. My favorite places to pick these up are Natural Okie Baby and Nicki’s Diapers .
Reusable Grocery Bags:
This is one of the easiest reusable items to use! Most grocery stores sell them now. I have probably a dozen, and I keep half of them in my car at all times in case I need to go to the store while I am out. They are super durable and hold so much more than a plastic bag. Apartment life is SO much easier with these as you need fewer bags and don’t have to make multiple trips to get your groceries to your residence.
Using wash cloths as napkins:
This one isn’t as much work as it sounds! They’re also super great for really messy meals like ribs and BBQ. I keep a wet bag full of clean wash cloths I purchased from the dollar store in our kitchen. We use them as napkins and just wash them with the towels at the end of the week. I throw mine straight in the washing machine when we’re done but if you need to do other laundry you can keep the dirty ones in another wet bag until wash day. I purchase my wet bags from Natural Okie Baby . The Smart Bottom’s brand On the Go size is perfect for both clean and dirties. I have a 6 pack of paper towels in our pantry in case we need them. We’ve gotten through one roll in a year. Money saved and we’re being green!
Reusable K Cups:
This is a big one. I know Keurigs are in nearly every home now. The amount of plastic waste they generate is insane–and K-Cups aren’t exactly cheap. I purchased 3 reusable cups from our local grocer for about 7 dollars each. I can now buy whatever bagged or canned coffee I want and not be limited to what is sold in the disposable cups. Just place a scoop of coffee in the cup, and brew as usual. Once it cools dump the grounds in the trash and wash out with water. I have 3 for those days when more than just me drinks coffee. Purchase one for each coffee drinker in the family and an extra for a guest, ideally. This way no one is handling hot coffee grounds to dump a cup so they can make their coffee. This is a huge money saver and a great green choice.
This is just scraping the surface of ways you can be green in your daily life. If there is a disposable version of something, chances are there is also a reusable version– check!
The above are all some of the things I do in my daily life. Here’s a small list of a few others:
Menstrual cups and cloth pads(I plan to try these when my period finally reappears!), reusable mesh produce bags(just ordered some!), reusable water bottles(we never buy cases of water). What other things can you think of to be a greener household?