Today is day three of the Household Waste Challenge. If you haven’t already, there is still time to go and download the Household Waste Challenge Chart (pdf) (excel) (sample with instructions). If you aren’t interested in participating I invite you to continue reading the posts this week and think about ways to reduce waste in your home. Also, don’t forget to enter yesterday’s Kootsacs giveaway!
Many of the things we buy are meant to be used once and then trashed. Disposable products have become the norm for most of us. Marketers have convinced us that these items are our best option because they are cleaner and more convenient. While these claims may be true in the short term, they conveniently (no pun intended) ignore the long term effects these products have on our bodies and the environment.
The thought of giving up disposable products makes many of us cringe. Could you imagine giving up toilet paper? I can’t. How about light bulbs? Menstrual care products? Baby diapers? Marketers have us stuck in their purchasing program and most of the time we can’t see a way out. We’ve become dependent on disposables.
Some disposable products pose more problems than others. Here is one kind of disposable product that I believe people should stop buying:
Paper Towels, Napkins and Facial Tissue
Canadians are one of the world’s largest consumers of paper products. It’s convenient to forget that paper comes from trees and that it takes 19 full grown trees to make 1000 kg of paper (Environment Canada). When trees are cut for making paper not only are the trees removed, the whole surrounding ecosystem can be adversely affected.
Paper towels, napkins and facial tissue are particularly wasteful because you can’t recycle or reuse them once they are soiled. I have read, however, that you can compost them but there seems to be some debate about this. You wouldn’t, for example, want to compost paper towel that was used to wipe up grease or chemicals. The reality is though that the majority of paper towels, napkins and facial tissues end up in the trash. So, the next time these paper products run out in your home I challenge you to resist buying more. Instead invest in some reusable products.
Paper towels can be replaced with dish or tea towels. Start with a half or a full dozen towels. Dish towels are inexpensive and do a better job then paper. When the towels start to look ratty use them as rags or donate them to a car shop or animal shelter.
Napkins and facial tissues can also be replaced with cloth. Buy some new napkins or find some nice second hand ones at the thrift store. If you can sew they’re easy to make. The Purl Bee has a pretty spring napkin tutorial that’s worth checking out.
Facial tissues or handkerchiefs can be a little more challenging to find. Using flannel or cotton wipes, like these, are a good option. Most cloth diapering companies sell similar wipes. To save on money I sewed receiving blankets that I got through Freecycle.org into 20cm squares. But sometimes when my little ones are really sick I simply use a whole receiving blanket as a snot rag.
Depending on your household there may be other disposable dependences that might be more difficult to overcome than paper towels and napkins. For these items the first step is to be aware then slowly start making a gradual switch to reusable products.
But whether or not you use cloth diapers, using cloth swim diapers is easy and a great way to help reduce waste. Which brings me to the giveaway…
The giveaway for day three of the Household Waste Challenge is sponsored by Cozy Bums. Cozy Bums is an earth friendly Canadian cloth diaper company that provides a wide range of cloth diapering options for families. The website is full of helpful information such as Why Use Cloth?, Choosing a Diaper Style and Diaper Care & Use Guides. The owner Katie is very helpful and offers Diaper Discovery Workshops for those that live in the area.
I am a big fan of Cozy Bums and have purchased diapers and accessories in the past. Their service is wonderful and the prices are very competitive.
Without further ado, the giveaway:
This swim diaper is a size large 10-13.5 kg (22-30 lbs) and comes in a clown fish pattern pictured above.
Thank you to Cozy Bums for today’s giveaway!
Enter the Giveaway:
1) Leave a comment below about one disposable item that your household can do without. Please leave an email address if you do not have a link on your name so I can contact you if you win.
2) Visit Cozy Bums and then come back here and comment by telling me which cloth diapers or diapering accessory you already use or would like to try.
3) Facebook, blog or tweet about this giveaway and link back to this blog. Leave a separate comment for each thing you’ve done telling me you’ve done so.
So there are multiple ways of entering this giveaway!