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Now that you’re done wiping your faces, hands, and counters, how else can you reduce paper waste in your home?
Cotton Rounds: I mentioned before that I have replaced my cotton balls (seriously, stop and think about what a waste those cotton balls and packaging are) with reusable cotton rounds. These are great for removing makeup, applying toner, or really anything you would use the disposable kind for. At the end of the week, just throw them in with your laundry. Like all other cloth products, you can easily buy or make your own. I love the idea of repurposing old clothes, so I’ll also suggest that if you make your own, to use old t-shirts. One thing I’ve noticed about the ones I bought is that they absorb a lot of toner before I can actually put it on my face. Keep that in mind so you don’t make yours too thick.
Swiffer Cloths: I love Swiffers. I really do. They are so easy and like magic the way they pick up dust. But I have trouble justifying the waste they produce. But I find sweeping and traditional mopping just too much of a mess. The solution?
As a crocheter, I loved this project. And the way the yarn pooled. I made my own Swiffer cloth! The bumpy side picks up dust and hair, very well, I might add, while the smooth side can be dipped into a mopping solution (like diluted vinegar) and used to mop whatever surface you want. I was truly amazed by how well this worked. I usually will use it to dust a few times, picking off large chucks of hair in between, before I wash it. Since I used acrylic (the best fiber choice for this purpose), it is completely machine washable and dryable. If you want to make your own, this is the pattern I used. It is a very simple r and easy to follow. Otherwise, there are plenty of places you can buy an already made one.
Diapers: Now, I don’t have children, so I can’t tell you anything about cloth diapers except that they are what my parents used on me and no one died. I would definitely recommend looking into them. If I ever have kids, I’ll come back and tell you more.
Lunches: Before I conclude, I want to talk about the waste that goes into lunches. While some of the solutions aren’t cloth, it is a big concern. It is very easy to turn a paper bag filled with plastic bags and juice boxes into a waste free lunch. First, buy or make a reusable lunch bag. I have always preferred these because you can add an ice pack. Use Tupperware for all the food, or at least reuse your baggies. Instead of buying individually wrapped goldfish packs, buy a bulk container and pour them out into smaller containers. Pack a drink in a thermos or water bottle. Use silverware from home. Some of these suggestions actually allow a more diverse lunch. An ice pack allows your to pack perishables. A thermos allows you to pack hot meals even if you won’t have access to a microwave (I was definitely the cool kid when I brought a thermos with spaghetti or mac and cheese). I know disposable can seem easy, but in reality, I’ve always found reusable to be even easier.
The women may have noticed a paper product I left off. Don’t worry, I have a solution for that, too. That’s coming up next.
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