Paper towels, coffee filters, plastic water bottles… when you stop to think about it there are a lot of items in the average person’s routine that simply get thrown away after one use. This seems to be especially true for those who are often on the go. If you want to lower your carbon footprint, one way to do so is to reduce trash output in your home.
Most families use several disposable items each day. These throw-away items might be convenient, but the sad truth is that they end up in landfills and cause us to literally “throw our money away.” Did you know that over half of the trash we generate ends up in landfills? This alarming fact is due to both the way that producers make goods and the way we as consumers use (and dispose of) them.
So, instead of adding even more waste to our already at-capacity landfills, try to use fewer disposable products. Save your hard earned cash and reduce the waste in your household by ditching these common disposable products in favour of more earth- and budget-friendly options.
Reusable Kitchen Items
The kitchen is one place I find myself throwing away way too much! Between cooking, cleaning, and food packaging, it’s hard not to. There are a few ways to reduce trash in your kitchen, fortunately:
- Paper Towels. According to HowStuffWorks.com, 3000 tons of paper towels are added to landfills each and every day. Insanity! Instead, do your cleaning with old rags or cleaning cloths. Old newspapers are also really effective for cleaning windows.
- Plastic sandwich and food storage bags. These just end up being thrown away – instead, tote your sandwich in an eco-friendly reusable bag or any other kind of food storage container. Freezer bags are no exception. You can easily freeze food in plastic or glass storage containers as well.
- Paper plates and plastic utensils. Paper plates and other disposable dishes often make their appearance at barbecues and parties when the convenience of less cleanup is hard to resist. Unfortunately, the waste factor is hard to ignore! Invest instead in easy-to-clean dishes for your barbecues and picnics. You can even consider encouraging guests to briefly rinse off their dishes before placing by the sink for later cleanup.
If you commute to work each day, consider packing your own lunch using reuseable containers. The issues with fast food could fill another blog post, but the environmental impact of the packaging alone is reason enough to make the switch.
Replacing Disposable Baby Items
Babies (and kids in general) seem to generate a lot of garbage, too. I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be that way. By tackling the main culprits, you can significantly lower your children’s ecological footprint from the very beginning.
- Diapers. Most families spend around $3000 per child on disposable diapers. Considering the average cloth diaper stash runs about $500 dollars (and can be reused for more than one child!) the savings are remarkable and incredibly beneficial for the environment. Cloth diapering is also healthier for babies, since they are then not exposed to the chemicals found in most disposables.
- Baby wipes. On the same note, disposable baby wipes can be replaced with more eco-friendly cloth counterparts. You can use wash cloths, cut up receiving blankets or repurposed flat diapers. Use your fabric wipes with a gentle soap and water solution. Wash them right along with your cloth diapers.
Ditching Disposables – Not As Hard As It Seems!
If this seems like a huge change that’s going to be difficult for your family to implement, don’t fret! Remember, even small steps toward a lessened environmental impact are better than nothing! Just take it one step at a time: try replacing one disposable item that you and your family use regularly. As you get the hang of things, you can add more without it being such a huge change.
Yes, eliminating these disposable items in your home will certainly add to your laundry and dish washing load. By doing so, however, you’re sure to reduce trash, and the cost benefit and environmental impact is absolutely worth it.