Are you ready to give up disposable paper products?
And I can rely on Small Footprints to set me on the road to living an even greener life with her “Change the World Wednesday” weekly tasks
For a fortnight we’re revisiting a challenge we did a year ago when we were asked to give up kitchen roll.
This was quite a challenge for me because I have occasional bouts of OCD which results in lots of hand washing, crazy phobias and the need for lots of kitchen towel to dry my hands.
However, I’m over the worst of that now and although I do still buy the odd ’emergency roll’ it’s nothing like my original habit of one or two rolls per week!
Eeek! Just thinking about all those trees, water and chlorine makes my conscience want to hide its face with shame.
We’ve also been challenged to give up single use utensils, cups and paper plates – none of which I use.
So what does day to day life without these modern ‘necessities’ look like then?
Spills at meal times
We have a pile of small reusable cloths on the table for anyone to use – we wipe up after pouring and spilling drinks and use them for wiping messy hands and faces. For cleaning the table I use the dishcloth and a squirt of eco friendly cleaner.
Spills in the kitchen
For spills in the kitchen I use a dishcloth and some form of cleaner. For regular spills it’s water and essential oils, for greasy spills I soak up the grease with bicarbonate of soda and rinse away with water and vinegar. I also have an eco friendly cleaner made from orange extract which works brilliantly on the hardcore stuff!
I keep a cloth hanging over the cooker rail and try and mop up straight away if a pan boils over and to be honest that’s the key to all cleaning jobs – if you tackle them straight away they are so much easier to deal with and you can usually avoid the need for strong hazardous chemicals.
Before we leave the house we take a box with us that contains reusable shopping bags and some stainless steel bottles. We fill these bottles up with water to avoid the need for buying drinks when out.
If I was a coffee drinker I’d use a Keep Cup – you can get this in standard Barista sizes and places like Starbucks will give you a small discount for using your own cup. Win-Win!
If we’re going out and will be out over a lunchtime we take food with us. This means there is no excess plastic packaging to dispose of, it’s healthier because I know what we’re eating and of course, it saves a lot of money.
Picnics and barbecues
For picnics and barbecues I don’t buy any once-use disposable products. We take our own lunch boxes, wrap sandwiches in brown paper which can be reused them composted and never buy cling film. If we’re having a barbecue we just use our regular cutlery and crockery and wash it up afterwards!
I will admit that when I had an elderly cat who was often sick and missed getting outside to go to the toilet I absolutely had on hand disposable kitchen towel. I couldn’t bear the job of cleaning up as it was, so to do that with reusable items was way off my tolerance level. Sadly our cat has gone to kitty heaven so this is no longer an issue. We have a well house trained rabbit who has peed on the floor a couple of times, but we used a reusable cloth and put it in the washing machine.
I don’t know what sort of lifestyle you lead, but for us, the issue of once-use products isn’t really an issue at all. They don’t come onto my radar and I can’t stand to waste money on something I’m only going to use once; so it’s pretty straight forward for me to avoid these items.
Feel free to ask questions; are there disposable items you’re using that I might not have thought of? I’d love to be challenged on how I could help you find an eco friendly alternative!
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