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12 Disposable Items to Dispose of for Good

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12 Disposable Items to Dispose of for Good

By Steve Graham, Hometalk

It may seem hard to get through a day without generating trash or even recyclable waste. The easiest ways to buy products, clean surfaces and perform other tasks often involve disposable items. However, you can often reduce your environmental impact and save money by replacing standard disposable items with reusable alternatives.

Even if you buy disposable items made with recycled and recyclable materials, they require energy and materials to create. Moreover, they require more energy to recycle. If disposable items end up in landfills, they might take months or years to decompose.

Here are 12 categories of disposable products that can easily be replaced with reusable products.

1. Beverage bottles: Disposable plastic water bottles are one of the great demons of the environmental movement, sending unnecessary plastic into the landfill. A variety of reusable metal and plastic alternatives are widely available. They are typically more expensive than a bottle of Evian, but they are infinitely refillable, saving plenty of money in the long run. Also consider reusable bottles and cups for soda and other beverages.

Milk containers pose other environmental problems. While plastic jugs are typically recyclable, they often end up in the landfill, where they may take hundreds of years to decompose. However, old-fashioned milk delivery in reusable glass bottles is becoming popular again. Also, more vendors, particularly natural foods grocers, are offering milk in reusable glass or plastic bottles.

To be sure, production and transportation of glass bottles is quite energy-intensive. However, reusing the glass and getting milk from local dairies significantly reduces the environmental impact.

2. Plastic bags: Disposable plastic grocery bags, though convenient, are another environmental scourge. An estimated 60,000 plastic bags are used every five seconds in the U.S. However, it seems that with each passing month, more shoppers at local grocery stores are bringing reusable bags made of cloth, canvas or other materials.

Smaller disposable plastic produce bags can also be replaced with cloth bags. Consider getting some used pillowcases at thrift stores, or sew small cloth sacks, and take them to the store along with your reusable shopping bags. Also look for bulk bins, and bring your own containers for grains, snacks, cereals and other foods. Instead of getting cereal in a disposable waxed paper bag within a disposable cardboard box, just put it in your own container.

You can even pour cereal or other foods into your own glass jars for home storage. Just be sure to measure and mark the tare, or empty, container weight.

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Read more: Conservation, Crafts & Design, Eco-friendly tips, Family, Feng Shui & Organizing, Food, Green, Green Home Decor, Green Kitchen Tips, Home, Household Hints, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Smart Shopping, , ,

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514 comments

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4:32AM PST on Feb 18, 2014

thank you

4:56PM PDT on May 8, 2013

dont forget the old-fashioned cloth hankies for replacing kleenex

8:06PM PST on Feb 17, 2013

I'm amazed at the the "icky" responses to reuseable TP. Throw then in a covered container which already has a soaking solution of detergent in it. After they are laundered, and they take up very little room in a washer,they have less "icky" components than a washcloth.
When you use the washcloth on your face, do you consider the other parts of the body someone else may have been washing on a previous time? Or the towel you use...the previous time it was used for drying all sorts of nooks and crannies of the anatomy. :)
These little cloths are only used on one part of the body, whther it be for #1 or #2..does it matter?

5:46PM PDT on Oct 23, 2012

I can see myself doing most of these. I already use a menstrual cup that I love. For the women who have commented negatively on them, a few comments of my own: Reusable menstrual supplies are probably actually MORE hygienic than disposables. After all, disposables go to a landfill where any bacteria in them is free to multiply and flourish, whereas reusables get washed with soap and hot water and the bacteria are killed. And no, you don't have to boil them - do you boil your underwear, much less your butt? If soap and water are good enough for them, why not for your menstrual supplies? As for the "eww" I find far less ick factor in my diva cup than in pads or tampons. Add in that I used to get yeast infections 2 or 3 times a year before the switch, and haven't had one in the 2 years since. And for the woman who asked about athletic women and swimming - how is using a cup any different for that than a tampon? Besides the fact that the cup won't be absorbing water from the pool and therefore, unlike tampons will actually still WORK in a pool. When I was using tampons, I could change it right before going swimming, spend half an hour in the pool, and come out with my bathing suit bloody because the tampon had absorbed so much water that it was no longer absorbing blood. And for water...right now I have a well. Normally I would be all for that, saying that it is healthier than city water - however it is very possible to overdose on iron drinking my water. Yes, it IS so bad that i

6:01PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Great tips, thanks.

11:44AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

Thanks for the tips.

12:09PM PST on Feb 8, 2012

Thanks for the tips! I am ashamed to admit how many diapers and wipes I used until I got with the program. You can purchase washable diaper covers for $3.49 at http://www.alwaysunderpay.com.

5:50PM PST on Jan 23, 2012

I use more of these than I would like to admit

12:16PM PST on Jan 23, 2012

Great tips. Thanks.

3:41AM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

interesting... thanks

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