By Planet Green
We produce a lot of waste. In 2008 alone, Americans generated 250 million tons of trash, and though about a third of that was recycled, a lot went into landfills or was incinerated. Our culture is centered around disposability, and only we have the power to change that.
Take stock of the disposable, overly-packaged, and single-use products that you use, and then look for reusable alternatives. Not sure where to start? Here are more than two dozen items that many people use . . . and can easily live without.
25 Wasteful Things You Can Live Without:
- Tin foil — Use an oven-safe pot or dish with a lid.
- Plastic wrap — Instead, use a container with a lid.
- Disposable cleaning cloths, dusters, etc. — Use a microfiber cloth that can be washed.
- Paper towels — Use a tea towel, instead.
- Disposable pens — Buy a good pen that only needs the ink well changed.
- Plastic cutlery — Use the metal stuff.
- Paper plates — Washing dishes may be an effort, but it’s worth it.
- Paper or plastic single-use grocery bags — Get a few reusable bags.
- Packaged fruits and vegetables — Produce does not need to be packaged.
- Individually wrapped snacks — Snacks travel better anyway in a hard container.
- Disposable razors — Invest in a razor that only needs the blades changed.
- Juice boxes — Put juice in a reusable container (not plastic).
- Electric pencil sharpeners — Use the hand-crank version of days gone by.
- Disposable diapers — Cloth diapers aren’t that much more difficult to use.
- Disposable cloths — Fabric cloths can be washed regularly to avoid bacterial or viral build-up.
- Plastic cups — Stick to reusable cups.
- Bottled water — Install a water filter on your tap or pick up a water jug with a filter.
- Non-rechargeable batteries — Make the investment for rechargeable batteries and you’ll save money in the long run.
- Electric can openers — Use a little muscle.
- Single-serving pudding or yogurt cups — Buy a large container of yogurt or make your own pudding, and send it in a reusable container.
- Antibacterial wipes — If you must, use a gel hand sanitizer.
- Disposable table cloths — Spills are a reality of life; just clean them up as they happen.
- Facial tissues — Unless you have a bad cold, a handkerchief will work just fine.
- Paper billing — Switch to e-billing for your bank statement, credit card bill, utility bill, etc.
- Plasticized sticky notes — Use the original paper sticky notes; they can be recycled when you’re done with them.