Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ditch Disposables Challenge

One of my favorite blog reads is Crunchy Domestic Goddess. It is a fabulous blog that is all about green living. One of her recent posts encouraged and challenged her readers to ditch disposables. This is something that I began over a year ago and have just totally fallen in love with. We have done such a great job, as a society, of complicating life with 'ease'. When we thought something was going to make life better and in fact it is so much more work, more mess, more pollution, more cost, more responsibility, and more work. It is just disguised as easy, quick, and less of all things listed.

When I started cloth diapers it was primarily for the health benefits. I was so sick and tired of the diaper company's changing their ingredients and causing my kiddos to get diaper rash constantly. I was also disgusted by the absorbency beads that would get stuck in their parts. Diaper innards are not FDA approved like lotions, balms etc etc....The insides of diapers also cause a numbing feeling on the baby's 'area' making it near impossible for the baby to feel themselves pee and also keeping them in diapers longer. (Try it if you don't believe it) :) So after lots of convincing my husband we decided to pay the monstrous fee and invest in cloth diapers. At first it is a bit more work, getting use to washing them, explaining them to caregivers, and getting into a new routine. Then it became easier. No taking lots of little children and no recurrent bill that is outrageous...yeah I am talking 400 per month minimum!

So one year later I am loving. Here is the list from Crunchy Domestic Goddess and what I have done. Also what I am doing since I have been challenged :)

You can make the switch from:

•Paper napkins to cloth napkins DONE and will post about it with pics next week

•Paper towels to cloth towels DONE and here is how...I went to Sams and got a huge stack of micro fiber shop towels and man they are absorbent! We keep them in a pail under the kitchen sink and get them out as needed.

•Tissues to handkerchiefs Totally need to do this, this is the first goal in this challenge for me. I will however, have a huge supply of hankies because reusing them before washing is not my idea of sanitary or healthy. So we will have lots of little tissue sized hankies.

•Paper, plastic or Styrofoam plates to your kitchen plates DONE We had been doing this already, but when we found out that Liam is allergic to plastic we threw away all the kiddie plastic plates. On Wednesday Bren and I went to Target to get a few stoneware bowels and low and behold we got a great deal! They had these sets from the back to school dorm supplies that were one stoneware bowel, one stoneware plate, and a stainless steel fork, knife and spoon. They were in various colors but we got ten sets of the red and guess how much they were each???? $2.48! That is right, ten bowls, ten plates, and ten sets of silverware for 24.80! AMAZING considering the single bowls were between 3.99 and 6.99 EACH!

•Inexpensive plastic “Take & Toss” sippy cups to Sigg or Camelbak bottles or the Kleen Kanteen DONENever really used the take and toss but def used plastic sippy cups....we switched from plastic this time last year but had bad luck with the kind we bought so we do have plastic BPA free non-disposable sippy cups but will eventually have the Kleen Kanteen ones when we can afford the price tag of at least two cups per family member!

•Disposable water bottles to (again) reusable bottles like Sigg or Camelbak DONE

•Plastic sandwich bags or paper lunch bags to reusable containers/bags Need to do and will be doing on this challenge and I have some ideas but could def. use some so I will post about this soon!

•Swiffers (or similar products) to a broom and dustpan or mop (or use reusable cloths like cloth diapers/terry inserts in your Swiffer) DONE got a libman washable mop head mop and always used the other things for the rest.

•Disposable dust rags to cloth rags DONE

•Disposable diapers to cloth diapers DONE

•Disposable wipes to cloth wipes Half-way there....I have the wipes. I bought a yellow pack of the micro fiber shop towels from Sams so that they would be a distinct color. I cut them into fours so they would be small and now I just have to mix the solution and put them into the is another blog waiting to happen :)

•Disposable feminine products (tampons, pads) to reusables like DivaCup, MoonCup, Glad Rags, Luna Pads, Pretty Pads, or New Moon Pads, among others DONE...used DivaCup and Mama Cloth then got a hysterectomy ;p Swaddle-Bees and Mommy's Touch are my favorite brands!

•Grocery store bags to reusable bags Half-way there...I have them and use them most of the time but the rest of the time I leave them in the I have to be more purposeful in taking them into the stores. Sometimes when I know I forgot them or when I don't want to take them into the store (like at Target, it just feels weird taking them into a store that isn't where I am getting groceries) I will just put my stuff back into the cart w/o bags and bag it when I get to the car. I will do a post on how I make these bags too, it is a great idea to share!
Or, for the really adventurous:

•Toilet paper to cloth wipes/washcloths (for #1 or #2 too if you are really, really adventurous) TOTALLY NOT THIS ADVENTUROUS!!! My bathroom is disgusting in my eyes anyway...I could have a maid just camp-out in my bathroom and I still wouldn't feel like it was clean...I have four little children who can't pee in a huge toilet to save themselves from the mama monster! Of course I am my own worst critic but seriously bathroom germs are gross!

Can you think of anything that isn't on here? I have two to add that are not on here but that we do.

The first being to have a duster and washable towels/napkins in your car to eliminate drive-through paper products.

The second is to keep a set of hand towels in your for drying your hands after using a public restroom that doesn't have the hand blower. The second is to use for opening doors you don't get the hand drying towel germy you can use a special one to open the doors because I know a lot of you use a towel to turn on the faucets and open the doors. I have a bandanna for opening doors.

And at another regular blog read of mine SortaCrunchy, Megan is taking the Disposable Challenge also and she gave some other suggestions...

•Disposable wrapping paper or gift bags to reusable cloth gift bags Will Do at Times

•Single-use batteries to rechargeable batteries Need to do my husband has been trying to get us to do this slowly for a long time but it is an investment!

•Plastic straws to glass or stainless steel straws....I soooo didn't know they had stainless steel straws, but I remember how gross straws that my grandfather would keep to reuse got despite I am very hesitant...I need to look into this more.

•Replacing Goodnights/Pull-Ups with cloth....Tried this and am not sure if I can convince my hubby to invest in another brand that has the potential of failure.

•Lastly, taking containers to restaurants instead of using their foam ones....well I know some restaurants won't let you do that for health codes...but I have to solve my home container problems first then I can look into this.

Do you have any other ideas? How are you doing some of this now?


  1. Hey lady... :) Found you!

    This is great! I had no idea you were so green! :) Glad I found another blog to read. Now if only I could get motivated to keep my own up!

  2. Love your post! We are starting to do a bunch of that stuff. You're kinda the one that inspired me!
    We do the cloth diapers (haven't for a while- Eric doesn't like it). Made cloth wipes for them. They work great. I also make my own disposable wipes instead of paying too much for them at the store. Ask me if you're interested. 9 bucks covered me for 2-3 months for 2 kids...
    Reuseable bottles. Working on the Stainless steel sippys.. too expensive right now.
    I have a steam mop so I don't have to use chemicals on the floor. Also use mostly all natural cleaning products that I make. (Make my own laundry soap, less than a dollar for 180 loads or 640 if you have the awesome front load washers).
    We are also working on sifting out our batteries. Need to get more rechargeable ones..
    And Eric hates it- but we use washcloths as napkins. :)

  3. Hey hey!!! Just a few green thoughts! Sigg bottles do not use...They just came out with info their bottles are lined with BPA and they are aluminum which is not good for you! I have some great reuasable lunch bags from wholes foods if you need some let me know. I wrap sandwichs in cloth napkins instead of snadwich bags and I save all the glass bottles food comes in when I am done. That's what I store leftovers in and use to take food in my lunch! :)! --Stef


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