It’s worth keeping track of your garbage for a few weeks. Watch what you throw away, and ask yourself if each item you are throwing away could be replaced with a reusable substitute.
You may see many coffee filters in the trash, for example. Why not buy a gold or cloth reusable coffee filter instead? You may see a lot of Popsicle wrappers. How about investing in good plastic Popsicle molds to make your own? Or plastic sandwich boxes to replace plastic bags for lunches? Not only will you significantly reduce your consumption of resources by using reusable housewares instead of disposables, but you will also save a great deal of money.
Take the simple example of substituting cloth towels for paper towels. At an upstate New York supermarket, recycled paper towels cost $1.59 for 175 sheets. An average family goes through two rolls a week, eight rolls a month, ninety-six rolls a year, at a cost of $152.64. Twelve 100 percent cotton, bird’s-eye cotton towels would last about three years, at a cost of $35. For that period you would have spent $457.92 on paper towels, so buying cotton towels would save you $422.92. (Granted, you need to wash the cotton towels but they don’t take up much room in the washing machine and easily can be hung to dry.)
Ideas for Reusable Instead of Disposable Kitchenware
- Gold or cloth coffee filters
- Cloth towels
- Cloth napkins
- Durable plastic plates and cups for picnics and birthday parties
- Reusable stainless steel utensils for picnics
- House water filter, or pour-through water filter pitchers
- Travel mug
- Reusable baking pans
- Cloth bags for shopping—including string bags for produce
- Reusable lunch box containers
- Reusable plastic Popsicle molds
- Plastic containers
- Bowl lids (for storage)
- Cylinder barbecue starter
- Rechargeable household batteries
By using these reusable substitutes, you can cut way back on plastic bags, aluminum foil, paper plates, towels and napkins, plastic wrap, plastic water jugs, paper coffee filters, and more. We are all still faced with packaging waste to throw away, however, as well as worn-out items. But you may be surprised to learn how many items can be reused.
- Explore VegKitchen’s other Green Kitchen articles,
as well as the wealth of kitchen tips in the entire Healthy Vegan Kitchen area.
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