10 Disposable Products to Avoid: Saving you Money and Helping the Environment
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Most disposable products are made up of either paper or plastic materials and vary in terms of packaging. Whether they are packaged in boxes, plastic wrap, or bags in the end they all end up in the garbage. What many people fail to see though is that even though the items may be trash once used, it costs you money to do so.
Disposal products also have a negative impact on the environment. Each time you toss something in the trash, you are just adding to the already existing piles of disposables in landfills. While not everyone can give up all forms of disposable items depending on individual and family needs, even giving up a few items can help save you money as well as the environment. Here are some items to consider.
1. Paper coffee cups. If you have to buy coffee while on the go purchase a refillable coffee thermos. Many places will even give a discount on the coffee which will pay for the cost of your refillable cup overtime.
2. Bottled water. It makes no sense at all to purchase bottled water yet most of us do even if it is only occasionally. Most of those bottles end up in the landfill. Instead, choose reusable, non-toxic,BPA-free water bottles filled with filtered tap water. You’ll save money, reduce your toxin load, and protect the environment all at once.
3. Paper or plastic plates. These are most commonly used during parties and are such a waste of money. You can buy a bunch of sturdy reusable picnic dishes almost as cheaply as disposable ones.
4. Plastic utensils. Disposable utensils are also unnecessary in every shape and form. You can now buy biodegradable, wooden and other types of compostable utensils which are obviously a better choice than plastic ones, however, in most cases (unless its a big party or event) you don't need to be using disposables at all.
5. Plastic straws. While straws are great for smoothies, milkshakes, and other drinks you may want to consider switching to stainless steel straws . What’s great about them is that you can clean them and reuse them for years.
6. Ziploc Bags. Ziploc bags are not only expensive, they are also difficult to recycle. It is much more sensible to buy reusable containers for storing leftovers or other foods.
7. Plastic shopping bags. Plastic bags are such an eyesore when strewn among the streets and are dangerous to wildlife. Keep reusable bags somewhere handy such as near the door or where you keep your wallet or purse. This you don’t forget them when you go shopping.
8. Paper Towels. Cotton washcloths are very inexpensive and work even better than paper towels. It is very wasteful to use paper towels for liquid spills when you can just grab a cloth or rag and get the job done just as good.
9. Toilet paper. This one may not work for many people who are used to toilet paper. You won't know for sure unless you try. Some alternatives to using toilet paper are cloth wipes, and bidets. Bidets is basically a sprayer that is attached near the toilet and available in many varieties. They are inexpensive and very easy to use.
10. Floss picks. These might seem a quick and easy way to keep your teeth clean, but they are not reusable and costs much more than plain dental floss.
11. Diapers and wipes. Cloth diapers are no more time consuming than disposable diapers. Only difference is one goes to a landfill. This may not work for everyone but how will you know unless you give it a try. You can purchase individual cloth diapers to give it a trial run. You may even be lucky enough to get some free from companies looking for parents to test their diapers.
12. Nursing pads. Many breastfeeding mothers will start off with disposables and end up switchingto reuseables. Many mothers feel more comfortable with the soft cloth as opposed to the disposable ones.
13. Feminine hygiene pads or tampons. Did you know that there are now reusable products available for your periods? These include cloth pads and the diva cup. Cloth pads are just as sanitary as the disposables without the added toxins. The diva cup fits like a tampon but catches your flow instead of absorbing it.
14. Razors. If you are using disposable razors, it’s time to stop. You’re not doing the environment or your body any favors. Invest in an electric razor or am epilator to remove unwanted hair. Of course they are more expensive yet will pay for itself over time.
15. Travel size beauty products. Everyone knows it's cheaper to buy in bulk so why throw away money on travel-size toiletries that cost much more per ounce than the larger bottles you use at home? Instead, pick up a set of empty travel-size bottles and fill them with your favorite shampoo, conditioner, skincare lotion and other products.
16. Batteries. Disposable batteries are not only a re not only a waste of money but are very toxic when they enter landfills. They contain harmful metals like nickel,cadium, cobalt and they also contain mercury. If these chemicals leach into our environment, they are detrimental to our health and wildlife. Buy rechargeable batteries that can last up to several thousand recharges. Save money and keep these toxic chemicals out of landfills!
17. Ink Cartridges. Every school year we all buy new disposable pens and ink cartridges but where do the old ones go? Most likely they end up in landfills. To avoid this, buy refillable pens and ink cartridges.
18. Vacuum bags. The next time your vacuum needs replacing, consider buying one that doesn’t require vacuum bags. Most vacuums now have canisters you can empty and washable filters.
19. Dryer sheets. Dryer sheets are loaded with chemicals and quite pricey. For an alternative either add 1/4 cup of baking soda or vinegar to the wash to freshen up a load. You can also use wool dryer balls or make a ball out of aluminium foil. No toxins, no waste.
20. Gift wrap. Why not get creative with your wrapping instead of using wrapping paper from the shop. You can make gift wrap by using cloth fabrics, baskets, reuseable containers, or cloth bags. Wrap the gift and secure the end with some ribbon or elastic.