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Simple Living

8 swaps that you can make today to use less disposables

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I’m a numbers person.  Let’s take a look some numbers around disposables from Earthday.org.  Roughly half of the annual plastic production is destined to become a single-use product.  Globally, humans now buy plastic bottles at a rate of 1,000,000 per minute.  500,000 straws are used in the world every single day.  Check this link out if you are interested in more stats.

Every change makes a difference.  Below are some easy swaps that you can make to reduce the amount of waste you produce on a daily basis.  In many cases, this can also save you money since you won’t have to continue to purchase disposable items regularly.

Help the environment.  Save Money.  Win-Win in my book!

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about giving up all of our daily disposables….I like toilet paper just as much as you do, but the 8 items below are easy swaps to make!

*Disclosure- Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission on purchase.

1. Water bottle/drink cups-  Let’s be honest, most bottled waters are basically just filtered tap water.  Plus, the cheap plastic bottle can leach all sorts of chemicals into the water.  In most cases, your tap water is perfectly fine to drink.  Get yourself a good reusable bottle (preferably not plastic).

Below are two of my favorites.  I use the S’well for cold beverages and the Yeti for warm.  Both of them hold hot or cold beverages, that’s just my preference.

S’well Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 25 oz, Lily Wood

YETI Rambler 20 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler w/MagSlider Lid, Seafoam

If you are unsure if your tap water is safe, take a sample to your local environmental lab and have it tested.  You can also buy water bottles that filter as your drink.

2. Reusable snack/sandwich bags- This is a switch that I made not too long ago.  I pack my lunch every day and typically 2-3 items get put into snack bags.

These reusable bags come in various sizes and are easily rinsed out at the end of the day.

3. Packed lunch utensils-  Again, perfect for that lunch box.  Stop grabbing disposable forks and spoons in the staff breakroom.

4. Paper towels-  I made this switch back when I was trying to save more money at the grocery store.  Disposable items were making up a huge portion of my bill on a regular basis.  I started by hiding my paper towels from sight.  Out of sight= out of mind.  Now we just use more towels.  I also have a huge stack of cut up t-shirts for rags.  We only reach for the paper towels for the super yucky messes that we wouldn’t want on our kitchen towels, even if they run through a bleach cycle.

5. Coffee filter- I love my morning cup of coffee.  I try my best to save money and be eco-friendly by brewing my coffee at home and using a thermos.  This is my next change.  I am still using a daily disposable coffee filter in my mr. coffee pot.  I’m not perfect people….GASSSPP.  I have a huge stack of filters to use.  Once my supply gets low, I am ordering a reusable filter.  I currently have this one in my amazon cart ready for my next order.

6. Straws- Most of the cups around our house come with their own reusable straws.  However, sometimes they get broken or we need a straw for other cups.  Our reusable straws are plastic, but each one has lasted us for going on 4 years now.  As for when I am out and about, I simply elect not to use a straw for my drinks.  I know some people carry a spare in their purse when they are going out…that’s an option too.

7. Grocery bags- Gather up some of those cloth/ fabric bags that you have collected over the years.  Then take them out to your car and put them in your trunk.  After each use, return the bags to your car so that you always have them with you.

If you don’t have a stash of bags, these are amazing.  They hold a ton of food and they are really durable.  My favorite part is that they fold down into tiny little pouches.  I keep them all together on a carabiner that gets clipped to my grocery cart.

TIP** Put yourself a little note somewhere in your car or on your grocery list to help you remember to grab the bags out of your trunk when you get to the store.  Once you get into a habit of getting them out of your car, you won’t need the reminder to use them.

8. Produce bags- Most people make the switch to reusable grocery bags, but have you considered ditching the flimsy produce bags as well?  My guess is that most people haven’t.  I always get compliments and questions about my produce  bags when we get them out at the grocery store.