We’ve all heard the adage reduce, reuse, recycle, but there’s never been a better time to put the reuse part into action.
The enviro-friendly market is full of innovative products that let you cut down on household waste as well as great ideas to turn everyday items into reusable ones, doing both the planet and your budget a favor.
Products like glass jars and containers can be used in the kitchen, washable cotton pads for beauty and skincare, and cloth rags and wool dryer balls for cleaning are all great ideas for household items that can be reused.
You can fashion some items for yourself or buy them new, either way, you’ll be having a positive impact on the earth.
If all of us swapped a few of the everyday items that we used once or twice and threw away, we could reduce the amount of waste we make and be doing our part for the planet.
Check out these simple swaps to see how you can do your part, and save yourself some money in the process.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the reusable items, we got you covered:
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#1 Glass Jars
Glass jars are one of the easiest household items to collect and they can be used for just about anything.
Each week, the regular home goes through at least one jar of something, whether it’s pasta sauce or minced garlic, so all you have to do is rinse and wash it out with soapy water and let it dry.
Your jars can be used for things like storing nuts and seeds, drinking juice, water or cocktails out of, making store-ahead soups, and creating fresh salad dressings to keep in the fridge.
Just make sure you don’t throw the lid out in the process and keep a marker ready to label what’s inside, otherwise, things can get a little confusing.
#2 Produce Bags
Everyone made a huge shift recently to start using their own produce bags when they shopped, and it was an easy change to implement that had huge results.
If you’re still stuck using plastic bags from the grocer, it’s time to invest in some cotton produce bags to reduce your waste.
These cotton produce bags are strong enough to hold your regular grocery items, can be washed in the machine, and will replace hundreds of bags that you would have otherwise used in your lifetime.
Once you get into the habit of bringing them along to your weekly grocery shop, you’ll forget a time you ever did it without them.
#3 Cotton Wipes
Cotton wipes usually fly under the radar when we’re thinking of ways to reduce waste, mainly because they’re not made of plastic.
But for the average woman who uses one or two of these a day to remove makeup or clean her face, they can really add up.
To save yourself a lot of money and cut down on your cotton consumption, you can easily fashion your own reusable wipes or purchase washable wipes.
They can last for up to 1,000 washes and are easily thrown in with your clothes and towels, so they don’t require any special treatment.
#4 Water Bottle
Shocking research found that Americans use 1,500 plastic water bottles a second, and even more shocking, 80 percent of those bottles end up in a landfill.
If that’s not enough to tempt you into purchase a reusable water bottle, then think of how much money you’ll save.
These days, there are plenty of great alternatives for water bottles, whether you want something stainless steel and insulated or made from solid glass.
Get into the habit of bringing it to work or the gym with you each day, and you’ll make a huge impact on your plastic consumption that the earth will thank you for.
#5 Dish Cloths
The average kitchen usually has disposable dishcloths that get thrown out when they’re too dirty or damaged to use, and this is a major culprit in kitchen waste.
To turn these everyday items into something reusable and green, consider investing in a few washable dishcloths that take care of the problem.
Reusable dishcloths are more hygienic than disposable ones and they can be washed whenever you need, some up to over 100 times without breaking.
When they’re done, they can even be thrown into your compost as they’re biodegradable, so you don’t have to feel any guilt about using them at all.
#6 Reusable K-Cups
As much as we love our morning coffee, it’s obvious how much waste is made by drinking a single use K-cup every day.
There is a solution, though, and it’s a reusable K-cup filter that fits in your Keurig or another brand of coffee machine. All you have to do is fill it with ground coffee and it works just the same.
Keurig has vowed to make their cups recyclable by some time in 2020, but if we can reduce our plastic before it even needs to be recycled, that’s the goal.
You can pick up a reusable cup for pretty cheap and know that you’re doing your part for the planet, and save yourself a few dollars a week in the process.
We all know by now just how harmful plastic straws are for the environment, but some of us still haven’t made the switch.
Reusable straws should be a must-have in every household and it should also be something you carry around with you in your bag, ready for action in case you drink on the go.
Stainless steel straws are the most popular choice, with a few benefits like keeping your drinks cool and being easy to clean, but bamboo straws are a newer choice that people seem to love as well.
Whichever material you choose, you could be saving tons of plastic being dumped over your lifetime, so it’s a no-brainer when it comes to being green.
#8 Beeswax Wrap
If you take a look inside most household fridges, you’ll notice a lot of leftovers and opened containers, all being protected with plastic saran wrap.
Recent research found that almost 80 million Americans had used at least one box of plastic wrap in the last six months alone, with others using a whole lot more, so you can imagine how much waste is being produced.
Swapping to beeswax wrap lets you reuse and reduce your waste, with this natural material being great at molding to cover sandwiches, plates, bowls, and other containers you might store food in.
All you need is a few different sizes of beeswax wraps to cover your kitchen essentials, and you’ll be making use of these reusable items every single day.
#9 Cloth Diapers and Wipes
Anyone who’s had a baby before will testify at how many diapers and wipes these little miracles go through.
Some figures suggest that a baby will use up to 6,000 disposable nappies before they’re potty trained, so imagine that amount for every person in America, just sitting in a landfill.
Enter the cloth nappy, a not-so-modern approach to baby care. Cloth diapers were around long before disposable ones, but the way they’re created today makes them easier and cleaner to use.
Not only can you get machine washable diapers, but wipes as well, so you can make a huge dent in your household waste and save thousands of dollars during those nappy wearing years by making the switch.
A simple switch to a reusable item can save a lot of money and have a hugely positive impact on the environment, so imagine the difference if you did a few.
There’s no need to overhaul your life completely, but just a few of these swaps will bring huge benefits to yourself and the earth, so we’ve answered some common questions that can help you get started.
What Household Items Make the Most Waste?
The main offender when it comes to household waste is plastic, so any swaps you can do to reusable items that remove your use of plastic is going to be effective.
Plastic bottles, Styrofoam, aluminum cans, and plastic straws make up a lot of landfills each year so if you’re trying to swap to reusable times, these should be your first focus.
How Long Does Beeswax Wrap Last?
A standard piece of beeswax wrap will last a year with regular use. However, you can re-wax them once they stop being effective to give them another year of use.
This can be done with a standard piece of beeswax rubbed onto the wrap, with many products including their wax to let you do just that.