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There are many different reasons why people choose to ditch the disposables. Some do so to save on costs, some to reduce waste. I personally prefer using a higher quality product, which often comes with reusable alternatives.
Whatever your reason might be, I’d love to help and encourage you to move forward in the process of giving up some of these products in your home. Here are 12 disposable items to stop buying and alternatives to take their place.
1. Paper Towel
If you are an avid paper towel user, you probably use it for everything, and the idea of getting rid of it all together sounds crazy. Coming from a recovering “avid paper towel user,” I can say that it is possible, and you may even like it.
You can use Norwex cloths (or other microfiber) to clean just about anything that you previously used paper towel for (counters, windows, toilets, mirrors, carpet, upholstery, etc.). Skoy cloths are a multi-use disposable that are super absorbent to clean up spills. Dish towels, huck towels, flour sack towels, or bar mop towels all work great for bigger messes, drying dishes, and more. You can also keep a collection of old towels on hand for extra nasty jobs and just throw them away.
Not only do cloth diapers work better than disposables, but they are also better for baby and cheaper in the long run. We love Blueberry diapers. And don’t forget to also grab wet bags, a diaper pail liner, and cloth wipes. I often hear about how a wipe warmer is one of the least used items that people purchase in preparation for a new baby, but using cloth wipes, I love ours.
3. Feminine Products
Mama Pads or menstrual pads are one alternative here. This one is a lot easier to wrap your mind around and work out logistically if you are already doing cloth diapers (because they can all be laundered together). Again though, they are much healthier for you and much more comfortable.
The menstrual cup is an alternative to tampons, and there is an increasing number of brands out on the market to try.
4. Toilet Paper
Toilet paper is one that a lot of people steer away from not using. They will stop using everything else on this list, and more, but refuse to move to “family cloth.” I’ll be honest and say that we have not taken this step yet, but I have to say it is tempting for a number of reasons. Especially as we are still in the trenches of cloth diapering, there is really no reason not to try it.
5. Bottled Water
We have used bottled water during certain periods of our lives for one reason or another. Whether it be bad tasting or bad quality water that comes from the tap or a lack of ice (I like my water cold!), sometimes it just happens. Water consumption is essential, so whatever it takes to get you to drink more/enough – by all means, do that.
A few tricks to avoid bottled water include having a water bottle you love (and maybe something for warm drinks as well) and using a high-quality water filter that gives you delicious tasting water.
6. Paper Napkins
Paper napkins may or may not be something that you even use. We actually just used paper towel and never really bought paper napkins. Regardless, when if you ditch the paper towel, you still need an alternative to use for napkins if you don’t want everyone sporting their own full-size dishtowel at dinner.
Try using cloth napkins – most people have these on hand but just never use them. There are so many inexpensive options out there, and they can be washed right along with your towels.
Tissues is another one that we have given up buying, but rather than using a reusable alternative, we just use toilet paper. I love the idea of turning to handkerchiefs though! I’m sure that they are much more gentle on your nose, (especially when compared to toilet paper) and there are so many fun options available. This is next on our list to implement.
Most likely, you are either a straw family, or you’re not. If you are, you realize how many straws you can go through in a week. We happen to be a straw family, and I fought moving away from plastic straws forever (despite how bad they are for you) because I hated the idea of using the stainless steel alternatives. The concept of a metal straw clanking against my teeth severely bothers me… kind of like fingernails on a chalkboard.
I am happy to share that there is another option that I have fallen in love with. Glass straws! Not only can you get them in different colors, but they also have designer and personalized straws.
9. Paper Plates & Plastic Silverware
Many people will turn to paper plates and plastic silverware when they are looking for convenience. If you are in the middle of a move or camping, these are simple things that can make logistics so much easier. It is also easy to fall into that mindset of convenience and take advantage of them when they not quite needed as bad. The easiest way to stop using them is to just not buy them and stick with your regular dishes. I love the fact that we can gradually add to our dishware without having to purchase a whole new set.
10. Coffee Filters or Pods
If you drink coffee and use coffee pods or coffee filters, you have a number of different alternatives to turn to. It has been a number of years (maybe about 15) since I’ve drunk coffee more than a couple of times a year, but when I used to, I remember that nothing compared to fresh ground coffee made in a French press. You can find high-quality coffee beans in bulk, and there is zero waste.
Another option would be to turn to loose leaf tea. There are so many delicious and healthy options out there… we may just be a little tea obsessed in my home.
What disposables have you been able to stop buying in your family?