Ditch the Disposables Challenge – Sept. thru Oct. 2008

Ditch the Disposables ChallengeIt’s time for another green challenge here at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. I was thrilled with the participation in the 5-minute “Quickie” shower challenge over the summer and I hope we can do even better this time around!

For two months, September and October, I’m challenging you to Ditch the Disposables! We live in a society of convenience, where throw-away products are the norm rather than the exception. But all of the disposable products take resources and energy to produce and then, of course, get thrown away, filling up our landfills. All of this is bad news for the environment.

If you’d like to participate in this challenge, please select one or two (or more! – this can be as challenging as you want it to be) of your disposable products to ditch*, then leave a comment saying which disposable product(s) you will leave behind for two months in favor of an environmentally-friendly reusable product. Like in the last challenge, I will create a list in the sidebar linking to everyone’s blog. Of course, you don’t have to have a blog to participate. I realize that many of you probably are already living without some (many?) of these disposable products, but certainly nearly all of us can find at least one NEW thing we can give up in favor of something better for the earth. I’ll let ya know what I’m giving up in the comments soon.

Here are some ideas to get you started…

You can make the switch from:

  • Paper napkins to cloth napkins
  • Paper towels to cloth towels
  • Tissues to handkerchiefs
  • Paper, plastic or Styrofoam plates to your kitchen plates
  • Inexpensive plastic “Take & Toss” sippy cups to Sigg or Camelbak bottles or the Kleen Kanteen
  • Disposable water bottles to (again) reusable bottles like Sigg or Camelbak
  • Plastic sandwich bags or paper lunch bags to reusable containers/bags
  • Swiffers (or similar products) to a broom and dustpan or mop (or use reusable cloths like cloth diapers/terry inserts in your Swiffer)
  • Disposable dust rags to cloth rags
  • Disposable diapers to cloth diapers
  • Disposable wipes to cloth wipes (inexpensive plain washcloths work really well)
  • Disposable feminine products (tampons, pads) to reusables like DivaCup, MoonCup, Glad Rags, Luna Pads, Pretty Pads, or New Moon Pads, among others
  • Grocery store bags to reusable bags

Or, for the really adventurous:

  • Toilet paper to cloth wipes/washcloths (for #1 or #2 too if you are really, really adventurous)

Please feel free to spread the word about the challenge on your blog by adding the button linking back to this post. If you have other ideas for disposable products people can ditch, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list. Thanks and good luck!

I’ll host a few check in posts (every other Sunday if I can remember) throughout the two months so everyone can stop by and say how they are doing, and offer support and/or tips to others as well. Together we can Ditch the Disposables!

*When I say “ditch,” please know that I don’t mean throw them away. I want you to try making a lifestyle change from a disposable product you use regularly. If you want to save your disposables until the challenge is over, that’s your prerogative. You might also consider Freecycling them or donating them to a local charitable organization. I do suggest that whichever product(s) you choose to give up, you pack away until the challenge is over, lest you be tempted to use it/them.

Edited to add: For help kicking the paper towels habit, check out my post on SKOY cloths (with a giveaway).

160 thoughts on “Ditch the Disposables Challenge – Sept. thru Oct. 2008”

  1. I ditched my disposable pads and tampons a while back and I think it was one of the best choices I have ever made. I used to get very frequent urinary tract infections and have also had a run in with kidney problems, which is said to make UTIs a lot more frequent. However, the month after switching from standard pads and tampons and to LunaPads cloth pads and Instead softcups (tampon alternative) the frequency of said UTIs dropped a bit. I still get them, sure, but every 6 to 8 months definitely beats every month or every other month and after doing some research, I found out why. Not only do standard pads and tampons fill up landfills and are generally bad for the environment, they also contains very harsh chemicals, synthetic fibers and bleach which are horrible for your reproductive organs. As soon as I stopped putting these chemicals, synthetic fibers and bleach against and inside myself, a lot of my reproductive-related problems seemed to diminish quickly and I am SO glad that I made the switch!

    Does this count as actively participating in the green challenge? Ha.

    Other resources for reusable menstrual products besides what you’ve covered are of course, LunaPads, especially since those chicks rule and also natural sea sponge tampons, Pretty Pads and Moon Pads. I’m sure I’m missing some, but wanted to add to your list for some variety in price and also in cute fabrics–Because what are cloth pads without cute fabrics?

  2. A great challenge! Now I’ve got to try to figure out something to give away. We already use most of the things on your list instead of disposable stuff.

    To anyone worried about doing this: You can do it! It’s not that hard once you get past the familiarity of using disposable products. And it’s a lot cheaper. πŸ™‚

  3. Just wanted to share that for my swiffers (vac and regular) I use prefolds or the terry inserts from my pocket diapers instead of the disposable sheets intended for them. Works great!

  4. Well, seeing as we already do most of the disposable things on your list… maybe this will help me get my rear in gear and finish those last few baby wipes I was making. Wonder how the hubby will like using re-usable wipes…

  5. well, we’ve been considering a couple of these changes for awhile, since we’ve already ditched things like Swiffers and disposable rags.

    i’m purchasing a Diva cup (or one of the similiar products) shortly, and i’ve been thinking about making cloth napkins for awhile now – this challenge is the perfect time to do something about it!

  6. Cool!!! I am already halfway done with the list. I think I will do the handkerchiefs instead of tissues (and the paper towels, since we were already working on that anyways). Just think, I could make some cute patterned hankies out of fabric I already have. Fun! I would do the TP, but my husband would think I’d gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

  7. I already do quite a few things on this list, although I’m only halfway there on the feminine products. I bought a Diva Cup and I’m contemplating the cloth, but I’ve got a while before I have to make a decision since I’m pregnant again.

    I think I’m going to attempt the switch from paper towels to cloth.

  8. I purchased a moon cup and this will be the first time using it. Also, I am making reusable pads. I’m tired of buying disposable and have to do laundry anyway.

    I’m trying to get away from using our disposable diapers since we are in the process of potty-training. I can’t justify buying cloth diapers when we are at the last of what we already have.

    This is a great challenge and it will be interesting to see how well I do!

  9. I’m in! I think we’re going to get rid of the paper towels- I’ve been trying to do this for a long time, but DH loves them. But for our anniversary, we’re getting each other Kleen Kanteens- well, actually the variety the local health food store has- cuts back on shipping pollution!

    And I’d do the feminine products, except I’m period-less due to breastfeeding.

  10. I’ve already ditched paper towels for microfiber cloths, and we use cloth napkins at home, usually. This challenge will be the extra push I need to bring this to work!

    I’ll start packing a cloth napkin instead of grabbing a paper towel at lunch time, and I’ll skip disposables like sandwich bags in favor of reusable containers! Yay!

    Great challenge!

  11. On your whole list (yes, even the TP) I do them all…the only disposable stuff I have in my house really is paper towels, which are used ONLY for putting under greasy foods like bacon. I ran out of paper towels last spring and tried just using a washcloth for the grease for a couple of months…but I didn’t want to put the grease in with the regular clothes, nor did I want to put it in with the rags/diapers (get grease in the dipes)…I just couldn’t find a good solution. So for that ONE thing, yeah, I use disposable.

    I’ll do ya one up: I also use cloth gift bags! (I sell them too, you can see them at http://BrightBlack.etsy.com)

  12. I already do a bunch of these, like Diva (best idea ever!). I can’t see ditching tissues yet because I use them for bird droppings. Maybe next time I’ll ditch tissues AND toilet paper and be very hard-core πŸ™‚

    When I mop (rarely) its with a washcloth or towel under my foot, and some vinegar solution. I find both real mops and swiffers to be annoying.

    Anyway, the thing I will give up is paper towels. I bought some new kitchen towels a few weeks ago, and a pack of microfiber shop rags that work great too.I’m on my last roll of paper towels, so it should be easy.

  13. I’d like to join in! We’re already doing a lot of things on this list, but I’ll sign up for the following:
    – Tissues to handkerchiefs (I only do this sometimes, and when I can’t find my handkerchief I don’t worry about it)
    – Disposable feminine products to reusables (this is going to be SO hard for me…)

    Thanks for hosting another great challenge πŸ˜€

  14. We’re on board so far with everything except the toilet wipes. (And the kids’ items, since we don’t have any yet.) We’ve actually done it in a pinch, when we were out of toilet paper, and it was surprisingly not that bad. Maybe this is just the nudge we need to do it full-time!

  15. I am pleased to say that I can only ditch the TP. When the girls are PL’d I plan on switching back to family cloth. I use cloth wipes for my nose.

    I do buy paper towels and napkins as an occasional treat for dh. I guess he won’t be getting any more for a while! LOL

  16. I’ve pretty much already switched (while at home, anyway) from paper tissues to using handkerchiefs or cloth wipes, and paper towels to cloth napkins. We also use cloth diapers and wipes, and cloth grocery bags instead of plastic. For this challenge, I’m going to go whole-hog and refuse to use paper towels at all (ok, maybe I’ll use them for pet vomit, but that’s about it, ok?) I’ll also stop using my “swiffer” wipes (even though I reuse them a million times before chucking them out) and will use prefold diapers in their place and cloth wipes for dusting.

    I’ve been toying with the idea of going to “family cloth”, as in, no more toilet paper…but I’m still trying to work out the logistics of that one. I’d have to make up a bunch of wipes for specific use, get a bucket for them to be stored in after use, and wash them separately, I’m thinking. In hot water, obviously. Maybe this challenge will be the nudge I need to get going on this. I’m thinking a dark flannel cloth, maybe?

  17. I would love to join this challenge and give up using paper towels. We go through a lot of them in this house and I have a drawer full of kitchen towels that I’d rather use. I also want to remember to always bring my reusable bags to the grocery store, I have many of them but forget them at home or in the trunk of the car. Thanks for the challenge!

  18. I’m so glad to see some of you are interested in participating and that many of you are already doing some (or all) of these things. That rocks!

    I’m going to be adding the participants to the list in my sidebar tomorrow evening. I expect to be without internet most of the day tomorrow as my cable equipment is upgraded. I didn’t ask to be upgraded, but Comcast has deemed it necessary. Anyway, it will give me a good reason to leave the computer off and enjoy Ava’s last day home before preschool starts back up on Wednesday.

    I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I’m going to give up for the challenge. I’ll be in touch about that too.

    Crunchy Domestic Goddess

  19. Great challenge! We already use cloth diapers, cloth dust rags, reusable water bottles and cloth grocery bags, and I myself use cloth menstrual pads, but I’m going to try 2 new ones:
    1. handkerchiefs instead of tissues
    2. cloth diapers instead of Swiffer cloths
    Thanks for the great ideas! I’ll be blogging on this soon.

  20. We’ve been using Sigg bottles for a while now, also reusable grocery bags and cloth dust rags. I’d love to join this challenge and switch to cloth napkins. I have quite a few and we use them occassionally, but I’d like to make a permanent switch.


  21. Count me in – I will ditch the paper napkins, even though I have been composting them instead of throwing them in the trash. Cloth napkins would save money, too. Thanks for the challenge!

  22. I’m in. We already do many things on your list, and I’m planning on making cloth napkins and making that switch soon. I’ll take on your challenge with one thing I didn’t see listed- disposable coffee cups. I’m determined to bring my travel mug with me when I hit the starbucks downstairs from where I work, and when we take our walks there on the weekends.

    Thanks for the challenge, I’m going to post about it on my blog.

  23. check on the: cloth napkins, reusable grocery bags, water bottles (except hurricane kit), microfiber dust rags (me, not hubby yet), thermos/reusable baby dishes. Plan: finish making cloth coffee jackets (its a step in the right direction), really need to suck it up and invest in cloth diapers (brand?), interesting idea on cloth swiffers – will try it, finish making hankies for baby from old flannel sheet. Right now uncofortable with cloth wipes for my butt (and that whole pee on your veggie garden thing y’all did. maybe someday.)

  24. This is great!

    I am a committed-and-loving-it cloth diaper and wipes user – and actually, for a while, I was only using specially made cloth wipes from the company that makes the cloth diapers we use. Then, it occurred to me that I have so many washcloths that I NEVER use – and they can now be used for additional wipes! I’ve completely crossed disposable wipes off the list. I absolutely love it.

    Yesterday, it also occurred to me that we had run out of paper towels. Money is a bit tight right now and I didn’t have the time to run to the store anyway – so I used some old hand towels to clean the bathroom. The results were amazing and I just tossed them in the wash when I finished. I’m so excited to have encouragement to ditch the paper towels completely now!

    I think I’ll go ahead and make some hankies, too. I have a lot of scrap fabric that will work very well.

    And, lastly, I am in the process of switching to homemade cloth pads! I have only made a few so far but they’re SO comfortable, SO soft, SO pretty, and SO much cheaper!

    So, all that to say – COUNT ME IN! πŸ™‚

  25. Count me in too. We’ve already stopped using or drastically reduced our consumption of many things on your list, but I think I’m going to try to switch to cloth hankies.

  26. Oh count me in. I don’t use half of the items on the list but need to step it up a bit..I will try to come close to no disposables at all but the challenge Paper Towels. I know confession time. Does it count it they are recycled? I know the answer, I need to drop them completely. I will post this week

  27. Holy crunchy! I was surprised to go down the list saying “Check, yes, done, did that…” I have been planning to ditch the swiffer pads and use a cloth instead but was given a pack of them for free and just haven’t used them up yet. Anyway, that is definitely on my list.

    I’ll also commit to ditching zip lock bags and plastic wrap. Again, I have 8 kabillion boxes of them because everyone that comes into my home seems to bring them with. So bizarre…I refuse to buy them, yet they still magically appear.

    Sign me up! πŸ™‚

  28. I only use paper towels any more, but I use them to clean up cat puke after years of rinsing it out of rags so I will just keep doing what I’m doing and say “sorry about the paper towels, earth!”. (I like to think it’s offset because I buy most of my foods – including cooking liquids – in bulk so I don’t have nearly as much waste as I used to).

  29. Hmm…this one’s a toughie for me because I do most of the stuff on the list already except for diapers and sippy cups because my kid is a dog. πŸ™‚ However, he does have his own reusable doggie water bottle that has a drinking bowl already attached to it. I have a small army of reusable water bottles for myself.

    I’m going to go with using hankies instead of disposable tissues. It’s ragweed season in Ohio and with my allergies, this one will be a challange.

  30. Hmm…this one’s a toughie for me because I do most of the stuff on the list already except for diapers and sippy cups because my kid is a dog. πŸ™‚ However, he does have his own reusable doggie water bottle that has a drinking bowl already attached to it. I have a small army of reusable water bottles for myself.

    I’m going to go with using hankies instead of disposable tissues. It’s ragweed season in Ohio and with my allergies, this one will be a challange.

  31. Oh yeah, I’m up to the challenge! We already do a lot of this, so I’m going for the “adventurous” category and giving up disposable razors and paper feminine products for the challenge (and beyond, I hope).

    You can read about my first sugaring experience here: http://chezartz.com/?p=352

    Great challenge CDG!

  32. great challenge. i’m proud to say we do almost everything on your list.

    i can’t do the cloth diaper thing, it’s just not gonna fly with my husband. or the toilet wipes.

    i think the only husband-accepted thing left on the list for me is the handkerchiefs from tissues. so i’ll work on that. we still use paper towels occasionally but mostly towels. we use all cloth napkins now, and reusable grocery bags. i’m also trying to cut down on my ziploc bag use…i’ll add that into my challenge:-)

    thanks for “stretching” me!

  33. p.s. i bought a bunch of really cute, inexpensive cloth napkins from a great etsy site, gnome clothes. it got me kickstarted, then i found a bunch on clearance at cost-plus. once i got over the “need to match” it was easy.

  34. I’ve given up (for the most part) many disposables, but I’ve been having some difficulty giving up paper plates for a while now. This seems to be the perfect time to take the plunge and while I don’t use them every day, I definitely use them more than necessary. Sign me up!

  35. Well out of your list I only have two left, tissues and toilet paper, and I am not giving up the toilet paper, at least it is recycled right? I will switch to handkerchiefs for my nose!

  36. OK. I am in– ditching paper towels, napkins, etc with 1 exception– tailgates. I will not be bringing my own cloth napkin and glass plate to a tailgate. Sorry.

    It was hard for me to decide, because I already Diva, cloth at home (daycare won’t take cloth), use Sigg, kid gets sigg or a bpa-free sippy, we use our take and toss over and over and over again, bring our own bags, etc etc. Plus it is football season. LOL!

    I’ll get the post on my blog by the end of the weekend. Sorry for the delay. I really wanted to make a commitment I could keep!

  37. Yes, sign me right up!!

    I have started using reusable contained in lieu of ziploc bags in the the lunches. It is hard but I know that it is good!!!

    Been pretty good about bringing bags…must.get.better.

    My big, bad sin?? Water bottles. So that is gonna be my big thing.

  38. Count me in. Perhaps it will motivate me to get off my rear and finally make those cloth pads I’ve been procrastinating about for months! I already do a fair amount of whats on that list but every little step helps.

  39. I’m in! I already cloth diaper, so I think I will start using family cloth for me (for #1) and stop buying those evil plastic bottles of water and start using my siggs again. I’ve gotten so lax about both lately!

  40. Hubby and I are both teachers, and we started using waste paper (like old worksheets headed to the trash) from our classes to drain greasy foods on. We were already using cloth napkins but the waste paper concept has helped us be papertowel free.
    I’m a little wary to use newspaper, and anyway, we don’t subscribe to the paper…

  41. We do most of those things. But some of them we slack on from time to time, like grocery bags (use to use them for garbage). Hubby will not go for cloth instead of toilet paper but I will! I use to do that in the past and find you get a much cleaner wipe! πŸ™‚

  42. Quick question: how do you separate and store meat in the freezer without ziplock bags? I’m a vegetarian, but my husband won’t go without his meat … I just don’t know how to store it without baggies. Help!

  43. I’m in for all mentioned except for the very last one(we’re not quite there yet, and don’t know if we ever will be!). We do most of these, but there are a couple I’d like for focus on. Seems I have been a bit lazy and reached for the roll of paper towells we have for “emergencys”(cat barf and the like) when I could grab a cloth. Also, I have a leftover box of sandwich bags that I have been using for dd’s lunches. That must stop as well!

  44. We’ve been doing pretty well on this front, but there are a couple of things I’m lagging on: paper towels (don’t use them a lot, but this will help me go cold turkey) and plastic sandwich bags.

  45. Gradually over time I’ve been doing some things – like reusable grocery bags, and a few months ago got a divacup (love it!). When I read about the challenge, I didn’t really think there was much I could do here at my in-laws. But I also hardly ever use napkins. So when my husband asked for a napkin this morning, I thought about it, and grabbed one of his old t-shirts, and cut it up for him to use as a napkin. So I’m really excited to participate!

  46. I’m writing a post about this now. It’s such a great idea!

    We’re already using a lot of things that replace disposables, but an old habit dying hard has been plastic ware in my lunch bag at work. I’m going to try using our regular silverware. After all, I don’t lose my lunch bag, so I shouldn’t lose my utensils, either.

    I’ve been thinking about a Diva Cup, too, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that for the challenge.

  47. Hey sign me up! I missed the last challenge ((though I am going to try for five minute showers anyway)) So I think this would be good to try even if it’s just for fun!
    Yet I’mn going to give up a few things.

    Tissues-handcherchiefs ((I’ve got those on hand so I may as well use them.))
    Paper towels to cloth towels ((That won’t be to hard since I use them for cleaning mirrors,but I think a good sham would work for that))
    Plastic sandwich bags or paper lunch bags to reusable containers/bags((Saves me a few dollars there!))
    Disposable feminine products((Yay another money saver!))

    And I thought that everyone should know that you can reuse bounce sheets ((those static cling things you put in the dryer)) a few times before throing them out.Maybe it helps some people?

    I’ll keep everyone posted on this too.

    Save the future and peace out!

  48. Could you give me the html code (on my blog comments, please) so it links back to your site? I mean, for the little square thingy for the challenge. I”m good at computers huh?

  49. We’ve done a lot of these already, and I was just casting about for my next eco-friendly step. I’m going to replace the purse pack tissues my 3 y.o. goes through like crazy with a handkerchief. It’s a small step, but as we’ve switched to cloth grocery bags, rags instead of paper towels, buying water to refilling our Siggs, etc., I’ve learned that every change matters.

    Sorry, I’m just not brave enough to ditch the toilet paper!

  50. oh, i will surely be much better at this challenge than the 5 minute shower challenge (i really, really tried!!) i have actually already ditched the disposables in our home for the most part. i was still pretty bad about plastic water bottles but i recently bought a couple sigg bottles so those have made a big difference πŸ™‚

  51. i’m going to give it a shot. i already use cloth diapers or biodegradable diapers and wash rags for baby wipes (most of the time). i don’t need feminine products yet. we use cloth towels instead of paper towels.

    i’m thinking i can use some of the flannel cloths i originally bought for baby wipes (but are really kind of too small for that purpose) in place of the puffs.

    and i will make a concerted effort to return to cloth dust rags.

    i’d like to go with cloth napkins, but it would require buying a few more. plus, the ones i have are so thick. i’d like to find a good fabric that launders well and isn’t too thick to make my own.

    i have to say this, though. i live in a desert. water is a precious resource here. so am i really doing *my* environment a favor with all of the increased laundry? part of the reason why i still use some disposable diapers (they are biodegradable) and don’t feel the slightest twinge about it is because i think mitigating the damage to any one particular area is the best policy. you can’t just say “get rid of all disposables” without there being some trade off. simply being alive makes an impact.

    p.s. i am under the impression that most water treatment facilities (aka, sewage plants) actually incinerate the waste they generate. items flushed down the loo does not go straight to the landfill.

  52. We already do a few things like using dishcloths instead of paper towel, coolers instead of lunch bags and placemats instead of paper towels for quick meals in which I don’t have to have to deal with dishes.

    I can’t say I can commit to a lot of changes but I will commit to using reusable bags instead of plastic bags for purchases. I have been thinking strongly on this already and have placed some of my reusable totes in the car this last week.

    Lets see how I do.


  53. It’s a good idea! Since I’ve already replaced “college Kleenex” with cotton hankies, and am in the process of replacing plastic grocery bags with string bags, I guess I’ll officially aim at napkins and towels (paper to cloth)….

    (BTW, just in case you don’t know, “college Kleenex” is toilet paper.)

  54. I love this challenge! I already ditched the papertowels and napkins, water bottles and grocery bags though!I think I will go for the ditching of tissues for handkerchiefs and the disposable feminine products. Been wanting to do this one…but needed the challenge to “get to it”! Thanks!

  55. I will give up paper napkins and paper towels. I’m even going to try to get my husband to hang a clothesline so when I dry my reusable cloths I won’t be using the dryer!

  56. I’ll give up disposable water bottles and use my Sigg all the time. I’ll convert to cloth napkins and stop using paper plates.

  57. I am a new housewife, trying to do the earth, ourselves and our pocketbooks some good. A great challenge you have set out, we already do most of the things on your list, I am proud to say! I would agree with the previous post, that one of the best switches I have made is from main stream disposable feminine hygiene products to the re-usable Lunette menstrual cup and Lunette cloth pads. A daring switch for first-timers, but once you make the switch, you will never go back. I also have decided to use vinegar and baking soda as all-purpose cleaners & disinfectant, along with the micro-fibre cloths. Google it for an abundance of recipes and to get rid of chemicals in your house.

    Thanks for the great challenge and for making our homes more earth-friendly!

  58. I’m pretty good on most of this list. I recommend Joyful Living for mama cloth–they are better than Lunapads, my former favorite. I’d like to switch us to handkerchiefs, b/c that’s basically what’s left.

  59. I already to cloth diapers, and a lot of these things I don’t do either way. (Napkins? who needs napkins? LOL) I would like to do cloth TP for #1, since I’m already washing diapers. Which is a good reason to run to a thrift store for old T-shirts….

  60. Since school has started we have ditched plastic baggies and even brown bags in favor of reuseable containers and lunch bags. Next up for us is getting rid of napkins and paper towels.

  61. I have to be honest, I won’t do the tp. I will try everything else though! I got a great deal on some cloth napkins, so I’ve already been working on that. I switched to the Diva cup about 6 months ago, so good on that. I need to get better with paper towel & paper plates though, so that will be my biggest challenge πŸ™‚

  62. We have ditched paper towels and our paper plates. I already use cloth diapers for cleaning and hand towels in the kitchen.

    One hard thing for us to give up is the paper plates! I have been doing very good with that actually.

    TP i am not so sure about though!!!

  63. This is great – we have started cutting down on our disposable use and have eliminated a few things, including:

    Paper napkins to cloth napkins
    Paper plates to kitchen plates
    Bought Sigg bottles
    Disposable dust rags to cloth rags
    Grocery store bags to reusable bags

  64. Great challenge!

    We’ve already switched to cloth napkins, never use paper plates, only use reusable water bottles (Sigg, Foogo, & Camelbak), and always use reusable shopping bags.

    I’m going to pledge to give up my Swiffer duster (sniff, sniff) and I’m switching to a Diva Cup.

  65. I’ve been using olds towel with my Swiffer for a while now, not the disposable items. I like that I’m being ‘green’, but I’m also saving a ton of money. Now I’m going to work on using washable rags instead of paper towels. I have plenty of them, time to start!

  66. I’m giving up water bottles (got us each a Camelback) and plastic bags. Instead, I’m using all those fabric bags we get and conferences, and keeping ’em in my car.

    You’ve given many more good ideas to consider!

  67. I am really trying to use dishcloths instead of paper towels. I’m not succeeding quite as well as I would like because I still have paper towels in the house, but I am determined not to buy any more once those are gone.

  68. We ditched paper towels awhile back. They were so costly! I also replaced our flushable toilet wipes with a foaming cleanser called Aahh… works well for potty trainers! Love this challenge!

  69. I just tried the Diva this last cycle and love it. We are also slowly making the switch to cloth diapers. We pretty much do all the rest on the list minus the kleenex and tp.

  70. My family is up for the challenge. Can’t give up the toilet paper or diapers but we’re switching just about everything else. My daughter loves taking the cloth napkins in her lunch box to school and has started a little following with her little table mates!

  71. I have switched many of these items, but I can do better. I promise to rationalize the occasional paper towel less often.

    As for a new challenge, I will switch from disposable to reusable panty liners.

  72. I finally collected enough canvas bags to give up plastic grocery bags. This will give me even more incentive to stick with it. Also, I’ll give up the take and tosses and plastic water bottles. What a great challenge!

  73. I have switched from plastic grocery bags to reusable ones, and I have ditched disposable water bottles for my reusable one. I would like my next big switch to be from paper towels to reusable cloths…the hard part is convincing my husband we don’t need paper towels anymore!

  74. I am ditching diposable plastic water bottles for a Sigg Wate bottle, and using cloth napkins/paper towels, and not using paper plates.

  75. You can imagine that as a jewelry artist I could certianly use my share of paper towels. I am more and more focused on going green in so many other business practices and this something on my list to improve on. Even though I use recycled PT’s my local recycle facility does not recycle the ones I use (so that does not fix my problem). These would be great for my business and cleaning up after my 2 year old. Thanks for sharing!

  76. Ooh – I’m SO IN on this one! I *just* made the complete switch from disposables to cloth diapers and I’ve been working to completely rid myself of paper towels. (If I could just get my hubby to bring home the sandwhich-sized tupperware containers, we’d be golden!!!)

  77. I have been wanting to make leap from paper towels to cloth. I don’t know why I have been telling myself I’ll do it, but I haven’t yet bought a nice stack of cloth ones yet. This will definitely give me some incentive finally to jump over officially. I also want to give up plastic bags and use reusable sandwich bags. We use cloth diapers and wipes already, Sigg water bottles, Mama cloth, and paper napkins. It feels really good to try an leave this place a little better than I found it and to reduce my footprint on the Earth. I hope to instill these practices and a love foe Earth in my kids.

  78. New at this so I have a lot to pick from…
    Switching from disposable to cloth diapers (and getting 2 friends to join in with me) Using reusable grocery bags instead of plastic
    will also try to use cloth napkins too.
    Thanks for the motivation!

  79. I will be using cloth napkins, and bar towels instead of paper towels. I’m going use cloth diapers when I’m at home (daycare will still use disposables though). I try my hardest to use my reusable grocery bags, and not just at the grocery store either. Oh, and I bought a cloth veggie bag too!

    I’ll go through the list again and find more to try also!

  80. Great challenge! I want to sign up, but except for the diapers, we use washable everything. I know there is NO WAY we could ditch toilet paper – it just wouldn’t fly in this house! We used cloth diapers for over 3 years, and have switched to disposable b/c of the drought in our area. So my ditching – when we go out, we take disposable bibs and use wipes to clean up; my rationale is that we hardly ever use them, but I have been trying to stop using disposable bibs and wipes at restaurants, so I will pack regular bibs and take a damp cloth hand towel to clean up the kids at restaurants. Any other suggestions? (we aren’t switching back to cloth! but we do use cloth training pants :)).

  81. just switched to cloth napkins, finished w/ the cloth diapers – been there done that w/ our kids, bring my own bags to shop and have reusuable bottles etc. working on paper towels, but will always be a tiolet paper family. πŸ™‚
    what i’m trying to find is an alternative to ziplock bags, but less bulky than plastic containers for lunches. do you know if there is a velcro version that could be tossed in the wash for things like chips in lunches? thanks!

  82. My fiance and I have already done most of these things. I think for this challenge we are going to switch over to hankies. We only use recycled TP, I don’t know if the idea of reusable TP would go over well with him. Also, I have reusable grocery bags that I use about 80% of the time. I’d like to make this a 100% of the time habit. Now that FH is back to work and I’ve been packing his lunch almost daily, I’ve started using baggies more often. We don’t have many left so as soon as those are out, every thing I use for his lunch will be either reusable and sometimes recyclable (like foil). We don’t use swiffer (or any other product by Proctor and Gamble for the matter–animal testing isn’t exactly good for our planet either!!!) Lastly, I’d like to ditch my trusty tampons to something a little more earth friendly. Although I only get my cycle about 3-4 times a year for unknown reasons, I need to research this topic a little more. It will be my number one priority.

    Thanks for this great challenge!

  83. I will ditch plastic wrap for plate stacking. I will even go ziploc free for two months in favor of using all those empty glass containers I couldn’t bear to part with.

    My daughter is on board with this challenge as well. Her lunapads arrived in the mail yesterday. If she likes them, we will both have disposable free cycles. I’ve been a Diva for a year. Love it!

  84. Just found your challenge, and I’m in! I can’t say that DH is in though. I’ve gotten rid of most of the stuff on your list, but we keep 100%post-consumer recycled paper towels for under fried foods (as mentioned, for same reasons) and for really, really, really, gross, I-don’t-want-that-in-my-washer, nasty, disgusting messes. I’ve recently started, in earnest, using cloth wipes, and this challenge will encourage me to keep it up. The other change I’d like to initiate is to stop accepting straws! I don’t buy drinks unless they go in a “for here” ceramic/glass cup or in my stainless steel mug, but when I’m drinking blended drinks, or iced drinks, I usually end up with a plastic straw stuck in there. My few attempts of re-using them have failed, so here’s to two months without straws!


  85. This is such a great idea! We already try to do a lot of things to “ditch the disposables” but for the next 2 months…I’m gonna make it even more of a priority. I talked to my kids about it too and they are excited to give it a try!

    Thanks for getting this rolling!!

    –Jenn (The Green Parent)

  86. Oooh Oooh! Give Them Roots wants to play too!

    Our house has already made the switch for most of those things but I did just order a Diva Cup (which I’m very nervous about trying) and I’m making the sippy cup switch to the Nalgene sippy for my boys.

  87. I am pleased to see that I’m doing everything on the list except the plastic bags and cloth pads full-time. I have a ton of bags that I need to use up but will experiment on alternatives for my son’s lunches (as the school keeps losing the containers I send with him). I will use up the bags I have and commit to find an alternative for when they are gone! I will also use this time to sew some more cloth pads so I can use them 100% of the time. I will also take some of your readers lead and take cloth napkins to work instead of using paper napkins. I will also look into and purchase a plate, bowl and cup to use in the cafeteria when I eat in there instead of their styrofoam ones.

  88. What a great idea. I love a challenge! I vow to ditch the plastic bags. I just got a chico-bag to carry in my purse and I was so excited to use it this weekend making some purchases at Old Navy. They looked at me a little strange, but when I explained, they were all for it. I may have even converted the cashier to think Green!

    I hope I win the paper towel replacements… my husband uses way too many paper towels and I would love to try a new alternative. Thanks!

  89. Okay Goddess- count me in- I will try the following areas:
    1-Paper towels to cloth towels
    2-Tissues to handkerchiefs
    3-Inexpensive plastic Ò€œTake & TossÒ€ sippy cups to Sigg or Camelbak bottles or the Kleen Kanteen- I assume this includes coffee cups (et al Starbucks cups, tully’s, 7-11, Mickey D’s)
    4-Disposable water bottles to (again) reusable bottles like Sigg or Camelbak

  90. OK – Me too..
    I am happy to say that se are already doing many of the list. It all started w/ the switch to cloth diapers & cloth wipes! We’ve started w/ many others; but not quite consistent. My plan is to be more consistent in the following areas:
    #1_ cloth grocery bags..but not just at the market, other stores too
    #2- We just made the switch to sigg bottles for the entire family
    #3= cloth napkins now use them about 60%
    #4 – I’d love to try to replace the papertowels too!

  91. Ok so I guess I’m off to a good start. We’ve converted a lot over the last two years. The only things on your list that I don’t currently do is the Hankies, Feminine products, and toilet paper.

    I don’t think I’m brave enough to do the tp at least not now. But I can start using hankies and I’ve been wanting to switch the personal products for years now.

    So we’ll try to improve those two!


  92. I have already switched to all of your suggestions besides the feminine products! I could not bring myself to try but considering I am 8 months pregnant, I won’t be able to try for the next 2 months either! I will spread the word though, for sure. Thanks!

  93. I have already stopped using swiffer mops in favor of he H2O steam mop, no chemicals and a washable mop cloth! I’m working on paper towels now, too. I have a pack of absorbant, washable cloths I’ve been trying out. I wash them every other day, though I use clean ones each morning. I keep ones to wipe my little ones faces and hands separate from the ones I use to mop up spills, obviously. πŸ™‚ So far, so good!

  94. I have already switched to reusable grocery bags and no longer use bottled water, so I think this challenge will spur me to let go of tissues for hankerchiefs. I should throw in using reusable Swiffer cloths as well – the Swiffer size is great for a small apartment, but I hate tossing out those pads.

  95. This sounds great! Here are the three I will stop using:

    # Plastic sandwich bags or paper lunch bags to reusable containers/bags
    # Swiffers (or similar products) to a broom and dustpan or mop (or use reusable cloths like cloth diapers/terry inserts in your Swiffer)
    # Disposable dust rags to cloth rags

  96. ok, I’m going to ditch: my paper in plastic bags (oh, double whammy on the environment) for reusables, disposable diapers for gdiapers and cloth diapers for my baby boy(I just bought both), pull-ups for cloth training pants for my toddler for bedtime, plastic water bottles, and swiffer cloths. Woo Hoo, that feels good! Now I need to figure out where to buy SKOY cloths in case I don’t win them!

  97. Great idea! Okay, I’m ditching disposable water bottles. Also, I’m going to seriously scale back my paper towel usage (I draw the line at wiping up cat vomit) and try to knit up a few more reusable swiffer cloths. We’ve already been working on ditching plastic bags.

  98. I switched from disposable swifters pads to wash clothes and I replaced my paper napkins with cloth. Working on cloth t.p. for myself and daughter for just the number 1 jobs–can’t wrap my mind around washing the cloths for the messy number 2 jobs yet.

  99. This is a fantastic challenge! I am trying to give up paper towels, paper napkins and use my cloth bags instead of plastic grocery bags. Also trash bags: I’m using up my old plastic grocery bags by filling them with my trash instead of buying more big plastic trash bags.

  100. Well a few months ago we moved to cloth diapers and so I’ve decided to make the swtich to cloth pads and the Diva Cup! πŸ™‚ So far so good, the pads, like wearing nothing at all! (Yay!!!) and the Cup is taking some getting used to but when it’s in right I can’t feel it and no mess which is FANTASTIC!

    I am also making cloth baby wipes so we can stop using disposable wipes! πŸ™‚

    And last time I was at Whole Foods, I bought several Eco-Friendly cloth bags to use for carrying groceries and they are great! No worries about bags breaking and they hold more than regular ones. πŸ™‚

  101. since the birth of my dd i have been fanatical about “going green”. we are cloth diaper converts, reusuable water bottle users, cloth grocery bag carriers, and no styrofoam users. for this challenge i will be working on giving up my paper towels…….(wish me luck cleaning up the dog barf….)

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  103. We are ditching paper towels in favor of reusable rags and cotton napkins. Also, we purchased reusable picnic ware for potlucks and get-togethers rather than use paper plates/cups. We’re doing pretty good on the all the other stuff but I think baby wipes will be our next challenge. Geez, I love those things!

  104. I can’t remember if I’ve already joined the challenge. LOL

    I’m joining along with GreenMe’s paper towel challenge, although my *real* challenge is to get hubby to ditch the disposable towels, as the kids and I use dish towels in place of paper towels & napkins.

  105. I do almost everything on the list. I refuse to use a handerchief as I find that disgusting, and I compost my tissues anyway.

    But, although I use cloth bags for shopping, I don’t have enough and end up taking plastic bags home. I loathe them although I try to get as much use out of them before throwing them out.

    So I’m challenging myself to buy/make/borrow/steal more cloth bags and not come home with a single one.

    And the bigger challenge, to get hubby to do the same when I’m not with him!

  106. I had trouble dealing with hankies and trying to find a clean spot. So I took like three old tee shirts and cut them into rough squares. Now I have way more than enough to keep me going and it’s great! I keep them in a bucket in my room and throw them into the regular laundry.

  107. Wow, so many great ideas on this list! A long time ago we went with cloth diapers, cloth napkins, cloth grocery bags, and Sigg bottles for water.

    I’m going to stop using the paper towels and stick with the cloth dishtowels. The plastic containers for school lunch is a great idea too. We reuse the sandwich bags but only so many times before they’re gross and unusable.

  108. I recently replaced the toilet paper and trash can in the kids’ bathroom with cloth wipes and a diaper pail. It’s so much better! I keep some wet and some dry. The kids (5 and under) know how to wet more if they need some, and I haven’t had to deal with the anger of seeing rolls of toilet paper rolled into the toilet by my 2 and 3 yr olds. πŸ™‚ I just throw the cloths into the diaper wash every couple of days. And, I keep a roll or two of paper handy for when guests come over. Don’t need to force unsuspecting friends to be crunchy like me. πŸ™‚

    We already cloth diaper, use cloth napkins, reserve paper towels for jobs like wrapping fresh herbs, use glass storage containers (all the better for re-heating in the oven instead of the microwave), and use reusable grocery bags!

  109. Our household has already made the switch on alot of these items–dust cloths, Sigg bottles, cloth bags and the like. The two things that I have and for some reason just don’t use are hankies and cloth napkins. I have them both, but will find a better way of keeping them prominent so I use them. I’m also thinking about switching to cloth diapers for the newest arrival in our home.


  111. WTG. With the exception of diapers (no babies) and feminine hygeiene products (i’m a crone), we are switching everything else to re-usable. I’m looking forward to this change and hopefully it will make a change for our earth. Every little bit helps!

  112. I’m planning on ditching paper towels and paper napkins for the Ditch the Disposables challenge!

    In the past we have ditched tissues, disposable dishes (no more plastic at our cook-outs!), disposable menstrual products (yay for my moon cup!) and paper lunch bags. We also have always used cloth dust rags and NEVER buy bottled water.

  113. Thank you so much for making the challenge! I have been a big proponent for ditching all the “one-use” products like plastic bags, ziploc bags, diapers, paper towels, etc. I got so tired of seeing all the stuff filling our landfills. There are so many awesome products out there so there’s no reason not to ditch the disposables once and for all. I am so adamant about this I started my own company this year called EarthSAKS and designed a line of reusable bags for shopping and lunches. Check it out at http://www.earthsaks.com and let me know what you think.

  114. WOW! I thought we were doing good w/ cloth napkins, reusable water bottles & reusing ziplock bags, but you posed a whole new challenge! And I accept!

  115. A few people mentioned they use paper towels to clean up pet messes – I sprinkle the area with some baking soda (bought in bulk) and leave it for a few minutes to solidify, then sweep it up with a dust pan and brush and throw it in the trash.

  116. I’ve recently started, in earnest, using cloth wipes, and this challenge will encourage me to keep it up. The other change I’d like to initiate is to stop accepting straws! Thanks for sharing, keep up the good work, regards!

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