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Topic: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones (Read 318 times) previous topic - next topic

Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
So, I thought that it would be fun to have a thread where we share product ideas that help in making the switch from disposable to reusable products. As I've continued to cut back on single use products, I've continued to dig up information and I love to talk and share with others, on what works the best and where to find alternative products.

My initial goal in eliminating disposable products as much as possible was to save money. Replacing disposable products with reusable items definitely is saving me money, but I'm also experiencing other benefits as well.

We used to produce several bags of trash per week, which necessitated frequent hauling (with permission from the company, we dispose of trash at my husband's work, rather than with a garbage service). Now I take out the trash maybe once every few weeks and it's only a few items. Between incineration (we just got a burn barrel), recycling, and composting, plus not using a lot of common items to begin with, there really isn't very much to haul away.

I've become very aware of things and am re-evaluating things. For example, cabin air filters in vehicles. Recently when I got an oil change, I was told that my air filter needed to be changed. Traditionally, that means throwing away the old air filter and replacing it with a new one.

 I just found out that it's possible to get a reusable air filter and avoid the expense and waste that comes with changing the air filter.

https://www.amazon.com/VF2000-Cabin-Air-Filter/dp/B00NEL6HT0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1491321805&sr=8-2&keywords=reusable+cabin+air+filter

I also found out about reusable produce bags. I hate plastic bags, so I'm all for taking reusable produce bags to the store when shopping. One less item to have to figure out what to do with!

I'm thinking about ordering these: https://www.amazon.com/Original-Friendly-Through-Washable-Reusable/dp/B014955KB0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1491321919&sr=8-3&keywords=reusable+produce+bags

I also decided on no more plastic grocery bags. I cleaned out the drawer and bundled up a bunch for my husband to take back to the store for recycling and will not be getting any more. I have reusable grocery bags and will be using those. The plastic bags just take up space in my house and then I have to figure out what to do with them. I'd rather have the drawer space for something else.

Awhile back, I realized the cost of ziplock sandwich bags. I pack my husband's lunch most days. They are expensive and if you use 4 or 5 of them in a single packed lunch, the cost quickly adds up. But I was never a fan of washing and reusing ziplock bags. I discovered Sistema sandwich containers. They are very easy  to wash and very effective and eliminated the recurring expense of ziplock bags.

I pack sandwiches in them and other items as well. I have a set of 4 and that seems to work well since my husband is the only one who regularly takes a packed lunch.

https://www.amazon.com/Sistema-Collection-Sandwich-Storage-Container/dp/B0040QD9MG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491322223&sr=8-1&keywords=sistema+sandwich+containers

I also discovered Snapware at Meijer's. (bowls and containers with snap down lids) That has eliminated the need for plastic wrap and is much more spill proof for travel.  I have a variety of Snapware containers and they are much more convenient for traveling and church dinners than plastic wrap. No more spills in the car!

For napkins, I have a basket in the middle of my table with cloth napkins. People can take one if they feel that they need a napkin and I don't set them out with the place setting.

In my kitchen, I have a variety of kitchen towels, rather than paper towels. I have a basket on my counter with my kitchen towels.

On the dryer, I have a basket with a variety of cleaning rags. I like microfiber rags and cotton rags the best.

For feminine products, I use the Diva Cup, paired with cloth pads. I switched over to a menstrual cup in 2003, so I haven't regularly used disposable feminine products for over 13 years. My primary motivation to switch was the fact that I disliked conventional products and found them expensive and uncomfortable. The environmental benefit was a nice bonus.

https://www.amazon.com/Diva-Cup-Model-Menstrual/dp/B000FAG6XA/ref=sr_1_5_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1491322575&sr=1-5&keywords=Diva%2BCup&th=1
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (8), and Abigail (5)

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #1
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (8), and Abigail (5)

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #2
I think this is an interesting topic and is very good if you have easy access to running water and washing machine to keep reusable things clean.  Many disposable things can be made from fabric: diapers and covers, wipes, and as you said cloth napkins and kitchen towels. For us it is better to just get the disposable things for now, as we haul our water. If you had a solar system for power and water from a well that you didn't have to pay for water, then investing in those things would save money. In my mind though, I must consider whether the time I will spend in cleaning the "reusable" things and the cost of cleaning is worth the cost. I'd rather spend $3-4 per month on some paper napkins than wash two loads worth of napkins per month. I would save bread bags, grocery sacks to use as lunch bags or for stinky diapers or for trash liners so those things don't go to waste for me. Cloth diapers would be awesome but until my hubby gets the water hooked up and a washing machine, it would be difficult to keep things clean enough. Eventually though I may switch to them especially to help the older ones get trained to use the toilet. Containers from berries or baked goods can be used for lunches as well. Peanut butter and spaghetti sauce jars (or any jar with a good lid) can be used for storing dry goods or for canning if the lid seals.

I think all the ideas you have shared are good. I have a diva cup too but haven't used it yet. Reusable lunch containers can be a very practical way to reduce waste. 😀

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #3
I think that circumstances definitely play a part in decisions made. For us, water is very abundant (we use a well and therefore don't have a water bill) and our income is modest.  I did cloth diapers when my children were in diapers and it did save us a lot.

I've also noticed that my monthly household supply costs have dropped dramatically and that's worth doing a little more laundry to me but I might make a different choice if I had no running water or clothes washer.

Everyone has a different situation, for sure.

Not all ideas will work for everyone but it's fun to gain inspiration from others. :D
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (8), and Abigail (5)

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #4
Yes! I look forward to the time when some things are more accessible to me but to us we would rather sacrifice a little and be in our own place than to rent from someone else. 8 1/2 years ago our equity was just $7600. Now it's multiplied about 26x just by developing a property and making a little profit. We've done that a few times and the Lord has blessed. As  soon as we get a few rentals going we will have a self-sustaining monthly income and once we finish a couple properties we are working on we will be able to get into the house we want to with minimal debt. Then my focus will be to become as fully self sustaining as possible--reusing things, growing my own food...it's a valid discussion in our country because SOOO much is wasted here. We should think about how to stretch the dollar in our given circumstances. I believe it honors God to be good stewards. Keep up the good work Ruthie!

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #5
Also in the times in which we live it is good to learn how to be as self sustaining as possible. We never know when the economy might crash or some disaster happen that will limit the availability of food and supplies.

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #6
Good for you! It sounds like you guys really have a well thought out plan to get into a good house.

We're looking forward to home ownership as well. Every bit of money saved is one step closer to our goals of finishing our full emergency fund and ultimately getting our down payment together for our home in the country.
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (8), and Abigail (5)

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #7
One item that's easy to get reusable is muffin liners. Rather than buying paper ones, we use silicone baking cups. They work really well and can be washed and reused.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01KUZIT3E/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1492091721&sr=8-4&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=silicone+baking+cups&dpPl=1&dpID=51cY92zO8NL&ref=plSrch
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (8), and Abigail (5)

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #8
Yes I have some of those. They are an essential for gluten free baking!

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #9
I made apple cinnamon muffins this morning! Yum! And super easy too! I like how easily the muffins come out of the cups.
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (8), and Abigail (5)

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #10
Yummy! 😀

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #11
I've started saving my containers from the store such as peanut butter jars, berry containers, tomato containers, glass jars, etc. There is a store near us that sells lots of bulk items and allows you to bring your own containers.

So that could be a great way to avoid waste, just skip the packaging altogether and bring your own repurposed packaging from home!

They have a machine that grinds nut butter on the spot and you can bring your own jar. They have beans, grains, and nuts in bulk dispensers. They have a machine that mills oats right on the spot too!

They have a dispenser that dispenses local raw honey. I'll be bringing Mason jars for that.

I like the idea of just avoiding new packaging to begin with. It seems more efficient than recycling.

I get non-dairy butter spread in sticks now and keep it in a glass butter dish. That prevents having to recycle plastic tubs.
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (8), and Abigail (5)

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #12
I found some washable cloth sandwich bags at a Whole Foods store. These will be great for packing oldest DD's lunch for her hikes!

Amazon has cloth sandwich bags too. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00NT9DUKG/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503495752&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=cloth+sandwich+bags&dpPl=1&dpID=61IXVkC-PCL&ref=plSrch

It's amazing how little I need to spend on consumable household supplies. We don't have to buy garbage bags, ziplock bags, paper plates, aluminum foil, paper towels, napkins, etc.

My consumable household supply purchasing mostly revolves around stuff like soap.
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (8), and Abigail (5)

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #13
I have been switching things over since dd was 4 months and we started using cloth diapers. Here are some of the things I have changed.

Cloth diapers/ pull ups, of course, she out of them now, we also used cloth wipes that have been repurposed to clean the changing table for day care.
Mama Cloth
Baby wash cloths used to wash and dry day care kids after meals.
Baby wipes bought new and use as napkins.
Cloth napkins, used as paper towels when they got gross from grease (bacon), I got some new flour sack towels from Menards.
Flour sack towels from dollar tree, that I used in dd diapers at night, I use for cleaning now.
Hankies, which work great when you have a child with a runny nose, it does not soak through, they are also not as rough on my nose when I have a runny nose.
I use the zipper bags that you posted above (different brand) for dd lunch and when I take a snack with me outside the house.
I make my own laundry soap but I will also use Mrs Meyers.
I make my own foaming soap by soaking pieces of bar soap in water, then after a week, pouring the water/ liquid soap into the pump.
Of course, we use a good water bottle instead of the plastic ones. (plus I prefer any unfiltered well water over bottled water.)

That is all I can think of for now.


Kay
    Bride to DH since May 16, 1998
    Daughter May 14, 2012
    Two in Heaven Thanksgiving 2014 & Summer 2017
    Foster Parent 2010-2014
    Day Care Provider 2014
    Sold my first cake in 2017
    Member Since November 30, 2012

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #14
We also use reusable water bottles. DD and I have glass water bottles made by Contigo. https://www.amazon.com/Contigo-Purity-Glass-Bottle-Sleeve/dp/B01LVW0HZU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1503842744&sr=8-3&keywords=contigo+purity+glass+water+bottle

I think that I might buy stainless steel water bottles for the rest of the crew. Right now, they have some reusable plastic water bottles.

I love our hankies. I have allergies, so the cost of buying tissues would get ridiculous. It's so easy to just toss in the wash when they they're dirty.

We have stainless steel plates, cups, and bowls, that we use, along with metal utensils, in place of paper plates. They are so durable and easy to wash and prevent some polystyrene exposure, since so many rigid cups are made from plastic #6 and styrofoam plates and bowls appear at a lot of gatherings.

I have re-organized my recycling containers, so that our household waste management is easier and entails less stuff in our way.

Under my sink, I have the follow containers:

1) Metal and plastic recycling (cans, #1 and #2 plastics)
2) Compost
3) Plastic bags (I don't buy plastic bags or get plastic grocery bags myself, but there's inevitably some stray plastic bags that make it my way, so I recycle them. The plastic bubble packaging from Amazon boxes is also recyclable)
4) #5 plastic recycling (I have to mail them or find a drop spot, I recycle them through Preserve)

We have a couple of small garbage cans in our house. (unlined)

In the barn:
1) Large blue garbage can with a recycling symbol, where our paper recycling goes
2) Large black garbage can for metal, plastic, and electronic recycling
3) Container for egg cartons (I return them to the farmer for reuse)
4) Container for TerraCycle items (I recycle toothbrush waste and granola/energy bar wrappers through them)
5) Cardboard box for glass recycling. (Our recycling center doesn't take glass, so I reuse most glass jars and the ones I can't reuse, I take to a friend who lives in town and has glass recycling)

In the car:
1) Sturdy blue recycling bin. Any recyclables from the car can be just dumped in the bin and don't make a mess. When the bin is full, I will empty the items into the designated bins elsewhere.
2) Container with re-purposed jars. I freeze stuff in them, buy bulk in them, store bulk in them, store stuff in the fridge with them etc.
3) Hanging reusable trash bag. Mine is a huge wet bag that I used for cloth diapers when the kiddos were smaller.

Having a system where the stuff doesn't continually get in my way, makes it so much easier to recycle. Since we don't have curbside recycling, being organized really helps.

It sounds like a lot of categories to sort into, but it's nice to have a precise spot to put each item and enough storage space for them until I drop them off while I'm doing errands. It's also so much easier than dealing with multiple stinky huge bags of trash per week and worrying about possums tearing into them and dumping the contents on our porch. Trash bags is an item that I've been able to permanently cross off my list.
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (8), and Abigail (5)

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #15
We also use reusable bags. My problem is that the state of MI requires me to use plastic bags for day care. Trash cans must have plastic trash bags and plastic bags must be used for cloth diapers (one diaper per bag). So I started saving produce bags to send home dirty clothes and cloth diapers.
We never really got into recycling, DH takes paper and newspaper to a paper gator near his work. The church that has it get $ per pound of paper donated.
Contigo is a really nice brand. I have their mugs, I made cocoa to take to the in laws as their home is always colder than ours.  I made it hot, figuring it would cool down as we drove there. It was so hot, I could not drink it until we went to leave 5 hours later.
We also use sub zero for water bottles. Make sure you get the double walled bottles other wise they are not any better than plastic ones.
  • Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 06:59:01 PM by alwaysgreener
Kay
    Bride to DH since May 16, 1998
    Daughter May 14, 2012
    Two in Heaven Thanksgiving 2014 & Summer 2017
    Foster Parent 2010-2014
    Day Care Provider 2014
    Sold my first cake in 2017
    Member Since November 30, 2012

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #16
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (8), and Abigail (5)

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #17
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (8), and Abigail (5)

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #18
Kay
    Bride to DH since May 16, 1998
    Daughter May 14, 2012
    Two in Heaven Thanksgiving 2014 & Summer 2017
    Foster Parent 2010-2014
    Day Care Provider 2014
    Sold my first cake in 2017
    Member Since November 30, 2012

Re: Replacing disposable items with reusable ones
Reply #19
I have a special cleaning brush that fits inside them.
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (8), and Abigail (5)

 
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