Switching to Reusables: Grocery Bags, Diapers and More

Save the environment while saving the family budget


Disposable products are a relatively new invention. With the excuse of convenience, the availability of disposable products has grown tremendously in the last 50 years. But even if disposable products are available, should you use them? More and more Americans are realizing the glut of disposable products used daily may lead to environmental problems for future generations. Making the switch to reusable products can be an eco-friendly choice that will save the environment and the family budget.

Grocery bags

The switch to reusable shopping bags is one of the easiest eco-friendly changes to make in your home. Many stores offer cloth shopping bags, preventing the explosion of plastic shopping bags from invading your home (and the landfill). If you are a little crafty, you can easily create your own shopping bags from old T-shirts you no longer use. Visit www.marthastewart.com/266942/t-shirt-bag for instructions on the five-minute process of turning potential thrift store T-shirt donations into reusable shopping bags.


The Real Diaper Association claims disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to completely decompose, and with over 27 billion diapers being used each year, these diapers are leaving a very dirty problem for families in the future. Cloth diapers are making a comeback. Where grandma once used folded diapers and safety pins, today's moms have options like fancy fabrics, easy snaps and diaper liner inserts. If you do not have the sewing skills to make your own, purchase diapers on websites like www.etsy.com. In larger cities, diaper services rent clean diapers and pick up dirty ones for laundering.


Coffee k-cups

The newest offering in home coffee brewing systems involves the ability to make a single cup of coffee with a little device known as a k-cup. With millions of people brewing their own coffee each day, the amounts of k-cups that will be thrown away will be staggering. Purchase a plastic k-cup which can be used over and over again. Prices range from $10 to $20, but you can fill the cup with your own coffee and an avid coffee drinker will save that amount within two weeks.

Paper towels

According to Earth911.com, more than 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used and thrown away each year. When visiting public restrooms, choose the air dryer to wipe your hands rather than using paper towels. At home, purchase 10 to 20 hand towels which can be placed on the counter for quick spills. Cut up old bath towels or T-shirts to be used for cleaning rags.
An investment in reusable products will often save money in the short-term, while helping the future environment.

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