Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bring your own to go zero waste

Happy Earth Day!  In honor of the occasion, here are some things you can do to reduce your waste today.

Bring your own to go zero-waste today:

Bring a bag for groceries, produce, the bulk section, shopping for anything!
Water Bottle
 Bring your own glass or stainless steel water bottle.
Coffee mug
Or make your own at home (just don't use those pesky pods :)!
Keep some real utensils in your bag or car so you don't get stuck with the disposable plastic variety.
Or ask for no straw.
Cutting down trees for disposable napkins is silly.
You'll end up using much less packaging if you bring lunch from home.  And get a more satisfying meal.
Take-out container
Going out to eat? Avoid the styrofoam, and bring a container for the leftovers.
Hand towel
No more decisions between using perfectly good trees for a one-use disposable product or a hand dryer that never really gets your hands dry.  Bring your own pocket-sized towel.

One last super-important thing you can do: Compost!  Composting drastically reduces the amount of waste you will be putting in the landfill, and takes pretty much zero extra time.

If you have even a tiny backyard, you can do it!  Also, many municipalities now have city-wide composting if you are an apartment dweller.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How to use less paper in the bathroom

Cutting down new trees for things we will use once and throw away seems pretty silly.  Here are some ideas to reduce your paper use in the bathroom.

Get some handkerchiefs.  And put them where you'll use them.
No more tissues.  No more tissue box, with the plastic inside.  I found a small basket from Goodwill and stuck some in there.

Buy recycled toilet paper.
Seventh generation has some that is not sold in plastic packaging.  I get mine at a local store, but you can also find it on Amazon.  (Also, look for something with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled paper content).

Use reusable cotton rounds instead of cotton balls.
You can either try your hand at making them, or Etsy has a pretty large selection (these and these, for example).

Use a real hand towel.
This should go without saying, but I have seen those horrible disposable-paper-towels-in-a-box that are marketed to families keep making appearances, so I'm going to say it--there is nothing wrong with cloth hand towels.  You will not get germs from using a hand towel in your own house.  Throw them in your wash when they get dirty (or if someone is sick)!!

Clean with reusable cloths.
Instead of disinfecting wipes or paper towels to wipe down the counter, use reusable cloths and a spray bottle of homemade cleaner.