Saturday Project: Cut back on your disposables

You know what I’m talking about.


Disposable items that we use once or twice, and then toss into the garbage to be toted off to a landfill.

Not just diapers, but tissue paper, paper rolls and the like.

Two easy places to cut back: Napkins & Tissue Papers

Handkerchiefs1. Switch from using paper napkins at the table to cloth ones

2. Switch from using tissue paper to handkerchiefs

It really isn’t as gross or as hard as you think.

At the table, I use cloth napkins, and since I do laundry weekly, they get tossed in for the ride and can be reused again for the following week.

And I kid you not, it does add a touch of elegance to our dining experience!

At home, we’ve basically eliminated tissue papers and paper towels, opting for kitchen towels and handkerchiefs instead.

Our only exceptions were when we were both sick with the cold and flu.

We caved and bought 2 boxes of tissue papers and used them, because we just simply ran out of handkerchiefs with how much we were sneezing, coughing and hacking.

Handkerchiefs and napkins feel better on my nose.

When I’m blowing my nose into a handkerchief, it also doesn’t fall apart in my hands and give me that creepy crawly feeling of soaked shreds of tissue all over my hands.

I keep at least two stored in each of my bags, and since they are reusable, I never forget to stick them back into my bags on laundry day.

In contrast, I’ve always been the type to use tissue paper and then forget to buy more to restock.

Taking a step further with cloth diapers

If you want to take it a step further, think about using cloth diapers instead of disposables.

There is a myriad of literature out there if you Google it, waxing poetic on the benefits of using cloth diapers (not just for the environment, but for your baby’s bum too), over using disposables.

Cloth diapers sound icky and gross at first, and you don’t have to love it, but then again.. let’s be honest, who loves the idea of changing a baby’s diaper anyway?

Can you imagine a landfill of JUST disposable baby diapers, leeching untreated waste into our ground water and stinking up for miles around?

When I have kids, I am going to give it my best effort to use cloth diapers.

I already know that won’t love it, and that I will use disposables occasionally when we go on trips or long day outings.

Or thinking about using reusable feminine products instead

I use the Diva Cup, that basically catches and stores the liquid until you go to the bathroom & empty it out.

I used tampons religiously before, but now I will never go back to using them again.

You can also buy reusable cloth pads instead of throwing them away each time.

You can save money in the long run

How much are 5 handkerchiefs anyway? Like $3 each?

So for $15, you can have a lifetime, reusable supply of handkerchiefs, compared to paying $1 per box of tissue you use each month. Within a year and 3 months (or less!) you could recoup the cost.

I know we can’t get rid of every disposable item

So while I do agree that we need a good balance of convenience & eco-friendly consciousness in our life, any step towards getting rid of disposable anything, is a big step towards reducing our impact on the environment.

This Saturday, take a quick look around your home and see what you COULD replace your disposables with, and consider doing so if it makes sense for you and your lifestyle.

About the Author

I'm a 20-something year old girl who lived out of a single suitcase in 2007, and now I'm living with less, but only with the best. You don't have to get rid of everything to become a minimalist! Minimalism can help simplify and organize your life, career, & physical surroundings. You can read more about me as a minimalist. Or come and visit my other blog Fabulously Broke in the City where I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months, earning $65,000 gross/year.