10 Ways to Decrease Waste at Home

Believe it or not, this blog topic has been on the list since last year, long before the words “toilet paper” triggered anybody. Minimalism, waste reduction, and natural living have been interests of mine for almost a decade now. You can look into zero waste living and see that some people are really doing this in extreme ways, and it is fascinating! Just like getting sucked into Tiny House shows, trust me, zero waste is equally mind-blowing. My family is far from zero waste, but I have made some little changes and compromises here and there, and I wanted to share. It is refreshing not to be panicking about toilet paper or baby wipes in the crazy times we’re living in, so maybe now really is the perfect time for this blog to finally get written!

Good questions to ask when looking at your “disposable” stuff:
1) is there a reusable alternative available?
2) is this packaging biodegradable?
3) is there a compromise I can make to lessen my waste with this product?

This subject is intimidating because of the extremes. Reducing waste doesn’t have to be extreme. Sometimes making one tiny switch can make a considerable impact at home.

Let’s start with the 2020 hot commodity:

Toilet Paper

Easy compromise: use cloth wipes for pee (I like these Osocozy wipes)
-store them in a cute basket
-put the used ones in a little bag or tiny laundry basket
-wash like regular laundry, or with cloth diaper laundry if you do that
Big change: use a toilet sprayer if you want to cut out toilet paper altogether, yes you would just wash your bottom with water and soap. Mind blown? That’s how a lot of the world does it, folks.

Paper Towels

Easy compromise: set aside a few designated towels for simple clean up, like high chairs, counters, or spills.
Big change: have cleaning towels only, even for the heavy duty stuff like mopping and greasy/bathroom cleaning.

Tissues

Easy compromise: use super soft washcloths instead, throw into regular laundry.
No big change here.

Napkins

Easy compromise: use cloth napkins, or you can even sew your own.
No big change here, either.

Pads and Tampons

Easy compromise: start wearing cloth pads or period underwear as backups to tampons.
Big change: instead of tampons, using a diva cup or other menstrual cup.
Not worrying about running out or what it is that’s going into my body gives me so much peace of mind here. This is a worthy change to consider, ladies.

Diapers and Wipes

Easy compromise: use cloth wipes for pee! You can simply spray water on them and use them. That’s the concept of Water Wipes, just water. We do this and we go through disposable wipes so slowly since we only use them for poops!

Big change: cloth diapers and cloth wipes for all. We use a toiler sprayer to pre-clean poop diapers before they join the others in the laundry load.

For those who wonder about laundry water/electricity when it comes to cloth diapers, this is a good comparative blog.

Toiletries

Easy compromises: shampoo bars and bamboo toothbrushes. I have this cute case for my shampoo bar.
Big changes: there are subscription services for shampoo, toothpaste, and floss with minimal, reusable, or biodegradable packaging. Some people even make their own toothpaste. An easy engine search will get you so many options here!

Food Waste

Easy compromises: plan meals ahead with a meal calendar.
-cook extra to freeze, you can even use silicone storage bags for the freezer.
-freeze things before they go bad! Change your mind about leftovers? Put them in the freezer.
-store extra bread in the freezer. You can also store the loaf you’re working on in the fridge.
Big change: acquiring a deep freezer if freezer space is an issue.

I’d love to hear more ideas in the comments!

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