15. Reusable mop pads
Ditch the one-use disposable pads and use reusable ones. Use a spray bottle and make your own cleaner or buy a concentrate.
I use Murphy’s oil soap (a natural concentrate oil soap that is mixed with water) for the wood floors and a solution of white vinegar, water, essential oil and a couple drops of soap for the kitchen and bathroom floors.
I’ll also include bagless vacuum cleaners in here as well even though there isn’t a picture, (no one wants a picture of my vacuum cleaner). There are tons of brands out there, many with filters that can be removed, cleaned and reused.
(I have two because I used to clean houses professionally so one was mine the other was for work, obviously you just need one and I suggest having multiple pads to make life a little easier.)
16. Fur Mit
For all my pet owners and animal lovers out there! Ditch the sticky rollers with the disposable sheets and get one of these lifesavers. It feels like a corse velvet and works by capturing the hair by wiping against the grain of the fabric. You remove hair by going with the grain. Easy!
This might seem like a no brainer but I thought I would include it anyway. We’ve cut back our paper towel usage by a ton by just using towels instead. I retired a bunch of facecloths (I accidentally bleached) that are perfect size for small messes or cleaning.
Start by asking yourself every time you reach for a paper towel “can I use a towel instead?”
I throw them in with my regular wash. I just rinse them out after I use them.
18. Thoughtful Packaging
This is probably the toughest thing to find.
Packaging is by far the thing we throw out the most. Some of it seems arbitrary but most is there for sanitary purposes, paper towels and toilet paper included.
We cut back on buying paper towels by using rags but toilet paper is one of those things I’m not willing to sacrifice.
I was excited when I found that out local co-op carried paper wrapped toilet paper. I will continue to look for more products packaged with sustainability in mind.
Read labels and do your best to support companies who create packaging with their impact on the planet in mind. The more we support those companies the less business the companies who don’t will get, and maybe they will rethink their practices. You can also email the companies or include in your review your wish for them to package smarter.
19. Keep Packaging
I online shop. A lot. Online shopping has its pros and cons when it comes to sustainability and your impact on the world.
It’s convenient, it allows you to shop smarter by allowing you to compare items and read reviews, it saves you from making multiple trips in your car to find something in store and often it helps you save money.
The major con is the packaging. When I bought the canister for storing my coffee beans in order to stop throwing out bags of coffee the irony was not lost on me when it came in a box, wrapped in plastic, with plastic air bags to cushion it inside another box.
There’s only so much you can do.
What I CAN do is keep the box, recycle it or use it again as a weed barrier or to ship something in. I can also email the company and ask them to consider using brown packing paper as a cushion other than the plastic air bags.
Note: you can reuse any packaging as long as the barcodes and previous addresses have been crossed off or removed.
20. Buy Used
The saying goes: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
In this case you aren’t reducing your own waste but someone else’s. Check out Consignment and Resale shops around you. Many are locally owned and have sustainability in mind.
I personally shop at: Once Upon a Child (all children’s clothing/toys/supplies), Uptown Consignment, Clothes Mentor (women’s clothing + accessories), Perfect Piece (furniture consignment), Eco Building Bargains (resale building supplies+furniture), Goodwill and Savers.
Keep an eye out for church/food pantry/senior center resale stores in your area so your money can go back into your community.
I also frequently find things new with tags at multiple places listed above. Think outside the box and look for presents there as well.
(Note: The picture is of a sign at Uptown Consignment which highlights their overall idea of sustainability)
21. Reusable Straws
You’ve seen them everywhere I’m sure. Stashing one of these in your purse, bag, diaper bag, briefcase or backpack is easy to do. I have a stash at home and in my bag. I keep one in my car as well.
The hard part is remembering to replace them when you bring them in to clean.
When you use these when your out you’re not only reducing plastic waste but making a statement to restaurants that you support the end of using plastic straws. Saying “no straw please” when you’re at a restaurant is important as well. Even better, emailing or calling restaurant and speaking to their managers about changing their policies on automatically giving straws.
My hope that is in 2019 all restaurants (especially chain) will change their policy so they will only give out straws if they are asked for. And by 2020 plastic straws will be eliminated completely.