There used to be a time when I viewed these products as household staples. Over time, as I became aware of the environmental problems and the excessive and unnecessary amount of trash we create, I stop using them, and no, I don’t miss them. Life is easier, my house is sparkling clean and I feel much better about it
Paper Napkins: I used to have them at every meal. It never occurred to me that they require a vast number of trees to make. The paper industry is the third largest contributor to global warming. What I use instead: beautiful, colorful cloth napkins. I have a basket full of them; they add a splash of color to my kitchen. My family uses them for 2-3 meals before laundering.
Plastic Food Wrap: Have you ever smelled that stuff? It stinks because is coated with chemicals that you definitely don’t want near your food. What I use instead: I mostly use Pyrex with covers or Mason jars to store food. Sometimes I cover my bowls with clean dishes and when I need a tight closure; I use aluminum foil, but very rarely.
Plastic Trash Bags: I know, I used to believe these were a necessity, but ever since I started composting and consciously shopping, my trash is so dry and tiny, my large garbage bags were way too big and wasteful. What I use instead: I line my small trash can with a paper bag and dispose it once every week or two. I don’t even need to bring my outdoor trash to the curbside every week. I can do it every other week along with my recycle bin. Life is easier and I save the city people time and energy.
Commercial Cleaners: if you look under my kitchen sink you will find: white vinegar, baking soda, unscented dishwashing detergent and Castile soap. That’s it. Well to be honest, I still have a left over Windex bottle that I use to clean my cars’ windows and a little left over bottle of Murphy Oil to wash my floors that I plan to replace with Castile soap. To polish my wooden tables I use olive oil, it works great.
Ziploc Bags: I used to purchase them for my son’s lunches to place his sandwiches or fruit. I don’t use them anymore for the same reason I don’t use plastic food wrap. What I use instead: I have a drawer where I keep all my used bags: from breads, beans, granola, cereals, etc. I simply use them the same way, some of them even have the zip closures.
Plastic Retail Bags: It’s so easy not to use these polluting items, especially since they are being banned one town at a time these days. Simply, bring your own reusable bags wherever you go, even if you are shopping for clothes. If you go to the grocery store, bring at least 6 large ones and always keep 1 or 2 in your handbag and car. There’s no excuse for single use. Every month or so toss them in your washer to refresh them.
Dryer Sheets: Honestly I only used these ones when I was living with roommates. Ever since I have my own household I have never used them. What I used instead: sun and wind energy: in the warm months we hang our clothes outside and in the winter months, we hang them down in the basement where we have installed some liners. In the rare occasion we need to use our dryer, we don’t use these silly sheets. I don’t even remember what they are for.