Canadians are getting the message about how important it is to reduce waste and they’re learning how to stop using disposables at home.
If you need tips to cut down on 5 of the most common disposables you use at home, this post has suggestions to get you headed in the right direction.
And, if you’ve already cut down on food waste and using disposables from places like restaurants and take-outs, give yourself a big pat on the back.
If not, that’s an area to tackle next. Every step counts, but one thing at a time wins the race.
5 Ways to Stop Using Disposables at Home
As promised, here are ways to cut down on 5 common household disposables that make up a big part of most daily routines around the home.
1. Paper Towels
It’s a big win to get rid of a disposable product like paper towels. But for many people, it’s one of the most difficult because they’re so convenient.
However, when you think about the fact that these types of paper products can make up to a quarter of the waste in a landfill and they require a large number of resources to produce, it’s a good idea to try.
The easiest way to bite the bullet with paper towels is to create a pile of old clothes or rags to use instead and then just stop buying them.
If there aren’t any in the house, you and other people will automatically reach for what is available. Once you establish the habit, you’re good to go. And, you’ll save on your household budget.
2. Coffee Filters
If you’re making your coffee at home instead of buying it at a drive-thru every day, you’re already keeping a great deal of waste out of the landfills. So good for you!
But you can still up your game by taking on another common disposable at home that comes with your caffeine routine, the filter.
If you have a machine that uses a mesh insert, you’ve already taken care of the filter issue, so you can move on to the next item. Good for you!
If you’re still using a machine that takes paper filters, you can do a couple of things, such as buy a reusable filter or make sure to use the kind that can be composted.
3. Coffee Pods
The original excitement over the arrival of convenient coffee pods has given way to concern for the environment.
If you do own one of these machines and want to continue using it, there are several options to reduce the impact on the environment:
- Reduce the amount of coffee you drink.
- Use reusable mesh inserts instead of disposable pods.
- Buy pods from companies that will recycle them.
- Buy compostable pods that you can add to your compost bin.
There’s no reason you can’t continue to enjoy your coffee and still lessen the impact on the environment.
4. Plastic Wrap
The plastic problem has become front and center in the world of eco-friendly living and caring for the planet. We’re literally drowning in it and ingesting it daily.
Every year, Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic waste, only 9% of which is recycled, meaning the vast majority of plastics end up in landfills and about 29,000 tonnes finds its way into our natural environment.Environment and Climate Change Canada
So, it may seem like a small thing to care about some plastic film you use in the kitchen to cover food, but it all adds up in the landfill.
Here are ideas to replace plastic wrap:
- Store food in reusable containers.
- Reuse jars and other containers from your groceries such as yogurt tubs.
- Use a plate on top of a bowl to store leftovers.
- Buy reusable beeswax wraps or beeswax snack bags to cover or store food.
- Buy or make reusable cloth bowl covers with elastic.
Again, if you create other options and don’t buy any plastic wrap, you’ll find a way to store food using what you have available.
5. Tea Bags
For many years, people who compost were encouraged to throw their used tea bags into their compost pile or compost bin.
These days, it’s come to light that many tea bags have plastic in them, which isn’t good for humans or the environment.
You can do an online search to find out which brands don’t have plastic. Several sites list those that they’ve researched. Or you can contact your favorite brand to ask them directly.
Caution: Be careful if they tell you they use plant-based plastic that breaks down because that is still a questionable practice. And, there aren’t enough studies yet to determine how it affects your body.
One way to get around this issue is to buy loose tea leaves and make your tea the old-fashioned way. It’s a bit more fuss, but your health and the health of the planet are worth it.
So, there you have 5 common household disposables that you may or may not have already tackled. It will get you started and you’ll soon have a much more disposable-free home.
Not bringing disposables into the home in the first place is an excellent way to force your hand and get creative in solving how to swap them out.