According to current statistics, every single one of us are throwing over 45 pounds of paper towels in the trash annually. That’s a lot of waste in our landfills, not to mention all the other disposable paper products we use on a daily basis. From washing our faces at night with cotton balls to wiping our mouths after each meal, most of us don’t give a second thought to these single-use items. Yet they are so easy to eliminate, or to at least use a whole lot less. We present to you five every day disposables that can be crossed off your next grocery-shopping list. Giving Mother Earth a break will benefit you, your wallet, and your time. While you don’t have to go totally granola (we still think toilet paper is pretty darn important), making conscious decisions to use less when possible will yield big environmentally-awesome results.
1. Stop Wasting: Paper Towels
This is, by far, the easiest switch to make in your home. If you read the rest of this list and want to call us crazy, at least take this tip to heart. You can buy a large amount of washable, reusable cotton rags or cloths for very little investment but one heck of a return. While you may find 2-3 paper towels wearing away after three seconds of kitchen counter-scrubbing, a sturdy washcloth will work hard until the very end. Just toss the soiled cloth into a designated bin under the sink; once full, dump the dirty laundry directly into the washing machine for a no-fuss solution to an overflowing trash bin.
2. Stop Wasting: Paper Napkins
If you don’t own any nice cloth napkins, now’s the time to purchase a set or three. If you can’t find any cloth ones at a decent price, try visiting the online Etsy store and typing in “eco-friendly cloth napkins”. Store them wherever you normally stash paper napkins and your whole family will quickly be in the habit of creating less waste.
3. Stop Wasting: Facial Tissues
We don’t expect you to remember this, but there used to be a time when everyone carried around handkerchiefs, not pockets of shredded Kleenex. If you have a cold then sure, disposable tissues have their place. But for the occasional sniffle, there’s no reason you can’t have an extra soft cloth tissue on hand.
4. Stop Wasting: Cotton Balls/Rounds
Ladies, depending on whether you prefer small or extra large cotton balls, you may find that you are tossing two or more cotton balls or cotton rounds in the trash every evening when applying your favorite facial toner. Google “reusable cotton rounds” for a plethora of reusable options that feel even nicer on your skin than what you’re using now.
5. Stop Wasting: Makeup Remover Cloths
We think having a few convenient cloths are great when traveling or visiting family, but these otherwise expendable items aren’t going to be missed when following your regular facial cleansing routine at home. Mix together a simple DIY solution of fractionated (aka liquid) coconut oil and liquid castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild or Tea Tree Oil for blemish-prone skin. This natural makeup remover can be stored in any kind of flat plastic or glass container, as long as it has a secure lid. Then press in a week’s worth of reusable facial cloths. They will absorb the homemade cleanser to instantly create your very own instant makeup remover cloths. It doesn’t get any easier (or any more lovely) than that.