Almost everyone is jumping on the green bandwagon these days – and that’s a great thing! Not only are product swaps good for our environment, they can be good for your pocketbook too.
Swapping out as much disposable stuff as you can for greener, more earth-friendly alternatives is one of the best ways to reduce waste and save you some money.
Not only that, but making the switch to eco-friendly products can also help during this crazy time when store shelves are empty more often than not and it’s hard to get your hands on the items you truly need.
Swap Disposable For Reusable
Many products can be swapped out for good with alternatives that never need to be replaced (or can be replaced a lot less frequently). This is where the bulk of your money savings will come in.
You’ll be able to all but eliminate the need to purchase these items on a regular basis. You will likely spend more upfront to get you started, but the savings will come over the following months (years?) when you no longer have to add these items to your weekly shopping list!
Swaps To Make In The Kitchen
There are so many items we throw away in the kitchen! From paper towels and sanitizing wipes to straws, filters, foils, and papers. And all of these items have more eco-friendly alternatives.
If you’re a coffee lover, try out these hemp coffee filters or reusable Keurig filters. For parents of littles, try swapping plastic straws for stainless steel and baby food jars and pouches for homemade baby food in reusable pouches.
(Tip: You can make anything you eat into baby food by just throwing it in the blender for a few minutes. Just make sure it’s blended well and there are no chunks that could pose a choking hazard – and be cautious with known allergens).
For kitchen storage, try swapping plastic wrap and plastic ziplock bags for dishwasher safe reusable storage bags, glass storage containers, and bee’s wrap. Instead of paper towels and napkins, use linen cloths or organic cotton towels.
At the grocery store, you can swap plastic produce bags for these mesh produce bags and paper or plastic grocery bags for a big canvas tote. And, of course, try to stick to using your regular dishes over paper or plastic plates, cups, and utensils.
Swaps To Make In The Bathroom
There are just about as many product swaps you can make in the bathroom as you can in the kitchen. I know many hesitate when it comes to bathroom product swaps because of the fear of not being sanitary.
It’s a totally valid concern. But with the right cleaning routines* and strategies in place, I promise that you can stay clean and healthy with reusable bathroom products, too!
For women, try making the switch from disposable menstrual pads or tampons to organic cotton pads or a menstrual cup. Just make sure to wash them following the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure they are clean and sanitary.
Store some organic cotton wipes next to the toilet to use instead of toilet paper. After use, toss them in a wet bag you can hang on your bathroom door and wash every two or three days.
If you have little ones still in diapers, you can also switch to cloth diapers and wipes for them, too – and there are tons of really cute ones that are super easy to use! If you’re a nursing momma, you can also try out these washable nursing pads (these are my fave, by the way!)
Try swapping your disposable razor for a bamboo safety razor, which works great for both men and women. You can also swap out cotton swabs for these silicone swabs, cotton rounds for washable bamboo or cotton makeup remover pads, and tissues for organic cotton handkerchiefs.
Other Swaps To Make (For Cleaning And Other Fun Stuff)
Product swaps don’t have to stop in the kitchen and bathroom. Just about anything that you throw away can probably be swapped for a reusable version!
Try out wool dryer balls with a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to keep your clothes static free and smelling amazing. Get a garment brush to replace your lint roller. Swap gift wrap out for this fun stretchy alternative.
Use microfiber towels for cleaning (instead of paper towels). Make your own homemade cleaning supplies and store them in glass spray bottles. And, if you happen to be potty training a puppy, try out these reusable training pads!
Swap Disposable For Compostable
Even if you make all of the product swaps you can from disposable to reusable, there are still some things that just have to be thrown out from time to time.
But instead of just piling them in the garbage (and subsequently overfilling landfills and oceans with loads of non-biodegradable garbage), try switching to compostable products and create a nutrient rich soil for your garden in the process!
If you’re new to composting (or live in a place where outdoor composting isn’t an option), try starting small with this countertop compost bin. You can throw leftover food scraps in to start with.
*A Note On Washing & Sanitization
For many of these reusable products, a solid washing routine is essential to ensure that your reusable products remain clean and sanitary.
The best option is to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to best clean and sanitize your products. This is especially true for cloth diapers & wipes, menstrual products, and cleaning cloths.
Not using a proper wash routine can lead to illness and infection and no one wants that. But it is possible to use these products safely by making sure to follow proper cleaning instructions.
We’ve been using cloth diapers and wipes for more than 3 years and I recently made the switch to cloth menstrual pads as well with no problems. Here’s my wash routine:
First cycle, cold water (to reduce or eliminate staining), highest soil and spin settings, add 1/2 cup Borax and a small amount of Tide original powder detergent (this is one of the best detergents for cloth because it’s concentrated enough to actually get things clean).
Throw your diapers, wipes, pads, and the wet bag they were stored in into the wash. The goal of the first cycle is just to get the surface clean. Next, run a second cycle with hot water on the max spin and and soil level.
If you have a stain care option on your washer, use that too. Add 1/2 cup Borax and max amount of Tide. You can also add a little bit of vinegar to either or both of these washes as a fabric softener.
NEVER use store bought fabric softener on cloth diapers or pads – it will reduce the absorbancy and that’s the opposite of what you want in a diaper or pad.
You can either hang dry your diapers, wipes, and pads or throw them in the dryer on a low setting. Some manufacturers recommend not using a dryer, so always check the instructions for proper washing routines.
You should also clean your washer with bleach at least once a month. Check out Fluff Love University for all the info you could ever need about washing cloth.
There are tons of ways to replace everyday disposables with reusable options that will save you money in the long run and are better for the environment!
If your main goal is to save money, start with simple things like wool dryer balls, metal straws, or cloth makeup remover pads.
But if you’re looking to go all-in or care more about reducing your waste then take the plunge into some of the bigger commitments such as cloth diapers, compostable products, or reusable menstrual items.
Whatever you choose, every little bit helps to save money and the environment!