Monday, 25 February 2013

A month of frugality: Ditch the disposables

Image from here
I wonder how much money we spend each year on disposable products? In most households there are myriad products that are used once and thrown out. It is kind of like throwing money in the bin when there are good re-usable alternatives.

Paper towel
Paper towel is very convenient, but it is unnecessary. Try using a tea towel, face washer, or dish cloth instead.

Start with recycled paper and remember to use both sides of each page you use. If you print something out single-sided, the children can always use the other side for drawing, and then use the pages for cutting, folding and gluing practise.

Remember the humble handkerchief? Try one when you have your next cold.

I use old cloth nappy wipes that I had with the children. They are awesome and soft and wash well. You can also make those awesome knitted cloths that are re-usable, if you are so inclined, or a product like ENJO that is made to wash and re-use.

Reusable batteries save you a fortune, and you don't have to worry about the issues associated with disposing of old batteries. Try to buy products that have a rechargeable battery e.g. night lights.

Plastic wrap
I use plastic wrap very rarely. I have little bags that I can put snacks in that are washable, or I use plastic or stainless steel tubs. When you buy storage tubs, make sure they have lids so you can put leftovers in the fridge or freezer without the need for plastic wrap.

Go the cloth nappy option. It can be inconvenient at times, but is definitely a money saver. I admit that I use disposable ones at night, but my last three children all used cloth nappies when they were in nappies full time. Lots of washing but little expense after the initial lay out.

Menstrual products
I have never used a menstrual cup, but plenty of women swear by them. 

Plastic bags
Obviously reusable bags are a better environmental option for shopping, but don't forget all the other plastic bags used around the house. Plastic garbage bags? Line your bin with newspaper. Plastic freezer bags? Use reuasble containers. Plastic snack/sandwich bags? Use reusable containers.

If you do find yourself inundated with plastic bags, remember to re-use them eg. as bin liners before getting rid of them. I once did a challenge and it was very successful.

Plastic water bottles
Bring your own water in reusable containers like stainless steel or plastic. You shouldn't need to pay for water. Your tap water, filtered or otherwise, is perfectly healthy if you live in Australia. Don't believe the hype!

What else do you re-use in your home?


Photographer Mum said...

I use reusable bags for my groceries as well as the plastic containers for lunches and left overs. I have also just bought some reusable microfibre cloths for household cleaning - just chuck them in the wash every other day.

Michele @ The Hills Are Alive...... said...

Have tried to get rid of papertowel but only thing I find works for wiping out pan of oil. Dont want to use a cloth for that. Oil never seems to wash out well enough from cloth. What do you use to soak up oil/clean an oily pan/or to rest food on that may have too much oil? I guess the answer is dont cook oily things LOL. Im talking about pan frying say mince and you get all that watery/oil and you tip out the meat and then want to fry off say onion and vegies and you dont want to wash the pan so a wipe with good paper towel takes allthe moisture and oil out so you have a dry pan with which to cook again. OR say you pan fry some chicken and parmesan fillets and you want to sit them on paper towel before eating to minimise the small amount of oil they were cooked in? Cant use cloth for that - what do you do?

Sarah said...

I'd struggle to give up paper towels completely but I always reuse plastic bags - stronger ones for shopping and the flimsy ones for rubbish.

SD is the only person I know who still always carries a hanky.

Maxabella said...

I can do all of it except handkerchiefs and taking bags to the shops. I just can't manage them. I use the plastic bags as bin liners and buy recycled paper tissues. Not much help, but something. x

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