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Reusable Household Items

paper kitchen towelsWe live in a disposable society.  Right now, the norm for many products is that they're for one-time-use.  From napkins, to water bottles, to coffee filters, you use them once and then dispose of them immediately.

While we do keep some disposable items in our home, we try to use them as seldom as possible.  Depending on what you are cleaning up, paper towels, paper napkins, and even dirty tissues can be composted, so when you do use a paper towel to wipe up that marinara sauce you just spilled all over the counter, you can toss it in the compost bin instead of the trash.

Of course, it would be even better to wipe the counter with a kitchen towel.  A paper towel is a one-time-use product, but a good kitchen towel can last you a very long time.  Any kitchen towel is better than a paper towel, but to be your greenest, you can buy ones made of organic cotton, bamboo, or hemp.
The same goes with the cloth napkin.  You can even get a few meals out of a cloth napkin before throwing it in the washing machine.  If I'm home all day, I'll usually use the same napkin for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  (Well, unless I'm eating something really sloppy!)

I've written about the environmental benefits of cloth diapers before, but sometimes people forget that you can also use reusable baby wipes.  You can buy reusable baby wipes or make your own.  Old washcloths, cloth diaper liners, cut up burp cloths, and cut up old sheets all work.  You can dampen them beforehand or buy a baby wipe solution

Coffee filters are another thing you can switch to reusable.  You can get them made of mesh, plastic, and even hemp!

Feminine products are something else that can create a lot of waste, and the typical commercial brands are bad for you anyway with the bleach and chemicals.  Check out Lunapads and DivaCups!  They can last you for many, many years and you'll be amazed by how much waste you'll cut down on. 

You can also cut down on waste by packing your lunch for school or work using lunchboxes and snack containers instead of brown paper bags and Ziplocks.

And of course...bottled water.  Stop buying those one-time use water bottles and refill a reusable one from the tap.