Ditch the Disposables Challenge 2009

Ditch the Disposables ChallengeIt’s been one year since the first Ditch the Disposables Challenge on Crunchy Domestic Goddess which, with nearly 150 participants, was a big success. Let’s do it again and see if we can get 200 participants 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. 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. If you honestly don’t use a single disposable product, leave me a comment too and I’ll still include you in the challenge and link back to you. 🙂

Here are some ideas to get you started…

You can make the switch from:

  • Paper napkins to cloth napkins
  • Paper towels to cloth towels or something like Skoy cloths
  • Tissues to handkerchiefs
  • Paper, plastic or Styrofoam plates to your kitchen plates
  • Disposable utensils to regular silverware
  • If you order food “to go” or have food to take home from a restaurant, bring your own container rather than accepting Styrofoam or plastic
  • Inexpensive plastic “Take & Toss” sippy cups to Thermos or Camelbak bottles or the Klean Kanteen
  • Disposable water bottles to (again) reusable bottles like Thermos, Klean Kanteen or Camelbak
  • Plastic sandwich bags or paper lunch bags to reusable containers/bags
  • Plastic straws to glass or stainless steel straws
  • 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. You can even make your own pads.
  • Grocery store bags to reusable bags
  • Disposable wrapping paper or gift bags to reusable cloth gift bags
  • Single-use batteries to rechargeable batteries

Or, for the really crazy dedicated:

  • 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.

Also, I WILL have a few giveaways along the way to help you out with this challenge. Stay tuned! 🙂

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161 thoughts on “Ditch the Disposables Challenge 2009”

  1. Is there a button that we could put up on our blogs? That would help spread the word. I’d love to put one up on my blog and then post about it regularly (I’ll probably post about it anyway, but the button would make it look even cooler :o)

  2. Okay, I’ll reprint here what I told Amy on FB:

    I have done cloth TP in the past, and honestly, it’s really nice. EEEEK! Did I say that out loud? Seriously though, if you can handle cloth diapering, you can handle cloth TP. I got back into the paper TP habit after we moved last year, but have been considering getting the cloth out again. It is SO much more effective than paper.

  3. I’m in again!

    Last year, I focused on school lunches and the switches stuck: cloth napkins, glass reusable containers, real cutlery.

    I need to think of something to really focus on this year… something I can do realistically and make stick. I’m going to keep an eye out for disposables I use and I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

  4. Count me in! We’ve already accomplished a lot over the past few years on this list. I have yet to switch to handkerchiefs and cloth feminine products, though. Thanks for the challenge!

  5. Ok I’m in for the switch from paper to cloth napkins. I love restaurants with cloth napkins so why don’t I use them in my own home! I have some I’ve never even used!

  6. This is the first time I’ve admitted it (thanks Megan for being the first) but we are doing cloth wipes instead of toilet paper, too. It is way better than toilet paper in several ways. Cloth wipes can take the place of not only TP, but also those expensive pre-moistened butt wipes (like Cottonelle) if you just wet them. It saves money! If you want to “let it mellow,” you can only skip a couple of flushes normally because if you try to flush more than three pieces of TP it’ll stop up the toilet. With cloth, you can go longer, so you’re making up for the water you’d use to wash the wipes. Lastly, we have a septic tank and we figure it’s got to be better for its maintenance to NOT be flushing a ton of paper.

    The only difficulties we had were remembering to use the cloth instead of TP (we still leave the TP out for company), and then remembering not to drop the cloth into the toilet. To fix this I folded the end of our toilet paper into a point like they do in hotels. That reminded us not to use it. After just a few days it became easy to remember not to throw the cloth in the toilet.

    The only problem I have left is how embarrassed I am of it. I mean, it’s a perfectly valid way to save money and help the environment, but what would our parents and friends say? We have to hide our wipes when anyone comes over. People are so brainwashed that they think anytime you’re reusing instead of throwing away and buying new, it’s GROSS. They are making more and more disposable things every day, and if you notice, the main selling point is frequently how nasty the regular reusable item is. Don’t fall for it!

  7. I am in!

    I alreasdy do much of this 50% of the time ( cloth wipes, cloth diapers, reusable bags, cleaning cloths…) but I need to step it up.

    1. Only reusable grocery bags

    2. Re usable feminine products

    3. Cloth Napkins

  8. Holey Canoli I think this is the first challenge where I feel like I’m doing pretty well! But you have one on your list that has been bugging me lately and this is just the impetus to get myself in gear. We use a lot of plastic straws w/our smoothies! I have been meaning to get some stainless steel ones. Count me in for that. We also have a little foster girl who is almost potty trained but all the wipes are bugging me. I will sign up to find some soft cloth to use for wipes. I’m not quite ready to sign myself up…maybe next challenge?? Thank you for hosting this!

  9. I’m already pretty “green” but I’m going to take the challenge to use our cloth napkins instead of paper napkins/towels. Right now they are saved for “special occasions” but it’s not like they were expensive!!

    I’m bringing out the pop of bright orange cloth napkins, baby!!! Woot woot!

  10. OK, I admit, I am a mess with the disposable paper products. Terrible. I know I should use more cloth but in a lot of ways the disposable is sometimes a desperately needed time/clutter saver for me.

    We’re good with reusable water bottles and re-purposing materials for crafts, though!

  11. What a timely post. lol I just started today with not buying anymore disposable baby wipes. Its weird since we have cloth diapered for over 3 years and I have a basketfull of cloth wipes ready to go. About 6 months ago we went to disposable wipes and I just kept buying and buying them even after we no longer needed them. No more! 🙂

  12. I love this challenge so much! I am so on board and will definitely do a post on it. I’m constantly writing about ways to reduce & reuse before you have to recycle!

    My new kick is bagless vacuums. If you’ve got kids & pets you throw away a lot of vacuum bags.

  13. From your list the only thing I could work on, as in I don’t already do, is my own container for left overs. As it is I try and not order more food than I can eat and try and ask for foil or just a paper bag instead of plastic or styrofoam containers so it should be easy to transition to my own container.

  14. I knew there was a reason that the last 2 frugal living tips I wrote were about ditching disposable items. LOL Count me in again! With cold season coming I’m going to try to find some handkerchiefs to use instead of tissue paper. I’m also going to try to use my shopping bags more regularly instead of the plastic store bags (I suck and always forget to grab them!).

  15. we just decided to switch to no more ziploc bags and go to reusable containers in our lunch boxes. At three lunchboxes taken per day, that adds up! I also already use reusable grocery bags! I’m also looking into cloth napkins, but can’t find non-white ones locally.

  16. I realized I forgot to mention which one we’re going to do. We’re actually pretty good about doing all of them, but we still use paper towels & plastic baggies sometimes, so for the next 2 months we won’t use any at all.

  17. I am excited about this again. Last year we went to cloth diapers 24/7 and lost the paper towels and a couple other things that I really can’t remember.

    This year we are going to go to reusable “baggies” and glass straws (to be honest I have been wanting to get some, but now I have an excuse!). I ought to go to hankies as well, but haven’t been able to do it yet. I will try to work up the courage this year.

  18. If only they could come up with a good replacement for TP! (I don’t have any idea what that would be or want to know, but it would be HUGE!)

  19. we ditched papers towels in the challenge last year(LOVE), which led to napkins, and we much prefer cloth. never looked back!

    we don’t have a lot of “disposable-ness” in our lifestyle, but i’m trying to be more intentional with my buying to cut back on the waste we recycle, too. i’m thinking of something a little different this year, but along the priciples of the challenge…i’m going to try to make my own crackers, granola bars, and graham crackers over these next two months. we recycle the boxes we buy currently, but that still consumes a lot of energy. reducing and reusing trumps recycling:)

  20. Hi Amy,
    Thanks so much for mentioning Lunapads as a reusable alternative for your challenge! Here is a coupon code for all your readers who are participating in the challenge: Enter ‘DTDC09’at Lunapads.com to receive 10% off any order over $35.
    In addition to reusable menstrual products like Lunapads and the DivaCup menstrual cup, Lunapads.com also carries cloth handkerchiefs and cloth wipes.
    Good luck to all the participants!

  21. For September, we’re switching to reusable grocery bags and going to 100% usage of reusable bags and containers to carry lunches to/from work. Still thinking about October…

  22. Thank you for inspiring me! One more for your list: My husband thought of switching from one-time use batteries to rechargeables. We are excited to start making steps toward greener living. The challenge is ON!

  23. and I forgot to mention, we are going only reusable grocery bags. The goal is to not bring home a single plastic store bag for Sept. and Oct.

  24. I just wanted to add that you can cut back on packaging by ordering most of the things you featured here from ReusableBags.com – they have Skoy, LunaPads, Diva Cups, Klean Kanteens, reusable bags, Nellie’s Dryerballs, you name it… and they donate 1% to the Planet so you’re actually contributing to about $100,000 in donations to environmental causes each year every time you buy from them.

  25. I’m not ready to try the cloth tp, diva cup (seems really umm.. large, I do use organic tampons though!), or hankies (more than anything because I’m trying not to buy new stuff right now to save for Christmas).

    I think for the next to months I will do better about always having a reusable container for my husband’s sandwich (I have been known to sometimes use plastic bags for them if I forgot to wash his containers).

    I will also do better about reusing the baggies I have been using in the freezer (I do pretty good about this but not perfect).

    I will do better when out remembering to ask for no straw, take my own cloth napkin and take my own container for leftovers.

    I’m sure I will think of more things. 🙂

  26. I wanted to say that preemie cloth diapers make fabulous paper towel substitutes. I just keep a clean pile under the sink, and a small pail under the sink with a bummis wet bag and wash every 1-2 days. Maybe not for everybody, but I have three little kids so it’s great for us, and very easy to toss in the wash. Trader Joe’s has some really nice kitchen wipes too.

    Most cloth diaper shops sell cloth wipes which make nice wipes substitutes for your purse, paired with a little soap foamer. I fill the foamer with distilled water and a tiny squirt of castile soap.

    Also, cute hankies (often unused, like new) abound for next to nothing at estate sales.

    Reusable bags has the best lunch-packing products I think. They’re not cheap, but everything I’ve bought from there has held up so well!

  27. I had to have a really good think on this because we do most of the things on your list already. Seriously, even my dog has his own BPA free water bottle w/ a dog dish attached. I started carrying his treats to the park and events in a boon Snack Ball – it’s not just for toddlers anymore!

    I’m going to go with no baggies for dog treats when we’re out and about with him (which is quite a bit because we got to a lot of dog rescue fund raising events) and no disposable coffee filters. I’m using a reusable gold filter or my french press.

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  29. We’re already practicing most of these reusable habits but there are couple we’re giving a try or need to work on. We have 9 million birthday parties in the next 2 months so we’re going to switch to reusable gift bags instead of disposable birthday gift bags. AND: we really need to work on the paper towel habit at our house, especially for cleaning up the kids’ messes.

  30. The only thing on the list that we have not completely switched to non-disposable is gift wrap. Although I am actively trying to make the switch to reusing and then recycling brown paper shopping bags as a means of gift giving, the problem with that is I use cloth shopping bags and so rarely actually have a reason to collect brown paper bags from groceries. We have also tried using old newspaper and magazines as gift wrap but unfortunately end up buying a few rolls a year. Still we are really trying to eliminate excessive waste.

  31. THIS IS GREAT! I’m at the tailend of it, but I think we’ll make it a household and office challenge for November through December. (we’re relocating our headquarters, so I can only focus on so many ideas at once!) Thanks for the inspiration! I’ll keep you posted! I’m going to tweet this: EcolabelFund


  32. Hmm…I’ll have to think about it. (Did I participate last time? I can’t remember. I think I want to give up wrapping paper for gifts.)

    I love that you do this! What a great inspiration and a good way to get people really doing it…

  33. I am so happy to say that I already do many of these ideas! I cloth diapers & wipes, use cloth for cleaning and I pretty much never use disposable plates, cups or cutlery.

    I cannot bring myself to switch from TP or reusable feminine products. I want to….just can’t quite yet. 🙂

    I am going to try handkerchiefs and actually USING my reusable grocery bags. This is such a great idea!, thanks!

  34. Hi guys. I am working on a project to list alternatives to disposable items. I’m trying to focus on a one to one list of alternatives to disposable items. I just have a basic table up right now. Each listing will eventually have it’s own page with pictures and such. But since this challenge is on, I thought I’d let you guys know about the project at this early stage:

    landempty – the opposite of landfill

    I’m excited to see so many people making an effort to move away from disposable items!

    Thanks, Rachel

  35. Okay, I’ve thinking and I have an answer! We are going to ditch our canned beans and canned tomatoes. Although metal on the outside, both of these types of cans are lined with plastic and are disposable, as they cannot be reused by me!

    I am going to can beans and tomatoes and have these on hand for use this fall (and hopefully into the winter).

    Thanks for doing this again, I promise to put the badge and a post up on my blog asap!


    P.s. Last year we ditched paper towels and paper napkins and they have yet to re-enter our home! We are going strong with the cloth!

  36. Ditching the tissues? You can buy eco-chic Happy Hanky handkerchiefs! They come in a fun variety of prints and hues.
    I have to admit this isn’t a stretch for me because I’ve always loved hankies!

  37. My goal is the lunch boxes for three kids. Not using baggies,etc. Our school has a recycling for the juice “bags”, but I want to have them not take any foods that are in packaging. I have been collecting containers that will fit…now, for adding cloth napkins!

  38. I just snagged a pair of those fancy Goodbyn lunchboxes for my 6-year-old twins, so we are giving up Capri Suns, sandwich baggies, and individually wrapped cheese sticks pretty much indefinitely. We aren’t missing all that extra packaging at all!!

  39. OK, I’m in! Last year I switched to the Diva Cup, which I love, and also got some great reusable sandwich baggies.

    This year, I’m going to try to break my dependence on paper towels and the O-Mop disposable clothes (especially since they don’t break down in my compost!) for cleaning. Wish me luck!

    🙂 Julie

  40. I rarely use dispoable products anymore- we use cloth diapers, wipes, tp, menstrual pads, napkins, hankies, cleaning cloths, glass jars (in place of plastic bags- though we still use our share of the ziploc bags, but we reuse them as much as possible). My contribution to this challenge will be keeping it up during our 3+ week roadtrip next month. I am planning ahead and being proactive now, in order to be prepared while we are away from home.

    Taking as much as our own food instead of getting fastfood, taking my own (much prefered) cloth wipes instead of using toilet paper as well as using our cloth diapers instead of buying disposables for the trip. I’ve never bought a single package of disposable diapers, so I don’t think we will start now, just because we will be away from home!

    Great challenge, Amy!

  41. You know, I’ve actually used a bit more paper towels lately, since I buy 100% post consumer waste ones, and they are now compostable in Louisville….is that wrong? I figure the composting is better than the water used to wash the rags I would use otherwise, and if I’m buying 100% PCR, then I’m encouraging that market (which seems really small, most are less than that).


  42. I already do cloth shopping bags, rags intead of paper towels,containers for lunch/snacks/coffee/leftovers, cloth napkins, rechargable batteries, real dishes/silverware/glasses. I will try to be more consistent with the reusable water bottles for work & the gym.(school does not allow due to vodka in gatorade in middle school last year!only sealed water bottles)

  43. With the new (Jewish) year almost upon us, I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the birthday of the world! I preached on this issue last year and have been thrilled to hear how many in my community have changed just one behaviour.

    As for our family, my goal is to eliminate the high number of plastic bags we use at lunch time. I just ordered containers from laptop lunches in the hopes of setting up a reusable container system.

    After the New Year, we’ll be having a family meeting to see what the kids think they can do to meet your challenge.

    Thanks for motivating us!

  44. I’m so happy to say we’ve completed all but two items on your list. I don’t have the nerve to try the feminine products and the cloth wipes for #2! I’ll definitely post about your challenge next week. Thanks so much for the encouragement.

  45. Hm. I’ve been trying to avoid baggies and disposable shopping bags for awhile with mixed success. I think two months free of them might be just the thing to finally get me into the habit once and for all. Count me in! Thanks for the challenge!

  46. We don’t use a lot of disposables, but I’d like to switch to using handkerchiefs instead of tissues! We also have a swiffer that I refill with water and vinegar. I just used the last disposable pad on it, so I’m going to try a reusable pad instead. Thanks for setting up the challenge! I’m off to sew up some handkerchiefs.

  47. I’m late in joining but I wanted to say my goals: normally I wash and reuse plastic sandwich bags until they fall apart, but I’m going to finally get reusable ones. I’m also going to try and use more cloth wipes for the kids.

  48. Little late to the party, but alas, I have read your blog for a short time and found that I really love this idea. After discussing it with my other half, we have decided to give it a go.

  49. I’m in! Better late than never. We already do cloth diapers and wipes, reuseable grocery bags, water bottles. I really need to get away from paper towels. Or at least drastically cut back on the amount I use!

  50. I’ve just been through your list & think I’ve already ditched most of the things on your list. I’ll post your list on my blog & work through it to see exactly how we’re going.

  51. Okay, I’ve gone through the list in detail on my blog, and have decided out of the two things we don’t already do, we’ll commit to using more rechargeable batteries in the future. I’ll try to add your button to my blog to spread the word.

  52. I already do many of these most of the time, but plan to try switching to cloth napkins, ditching paper towels, bringing my own take-out containers, remembering to bring my coffee cup, and trying the DivaCup I’ve bought but am still a little timid to try.

  53. This is great! I am on board with your suggestions already. All except the batteries, which i am working on. Am trying to take the green ideas to work. I want to get the kids ( i work in a group home for girls) to make cloth napkins (and use them…) with me. I would love to win the Skoy cloths because i would take them directly to work & i know we would use them there.


  54. I’m in. I’m excited to say I do a lot of those things listed already. I do want to get rid of using the gigantic restaurant take out containers and will bring my own when I go out.

    I’ll also work on not using so many paper towels. It’s a bad habit and I feel guilty everytime I use one. I need to find a good alternative and then it will be easier to make the switch.

  55. I’m liking to think I do most of this already, but it’s always good to be reminded of things and the old habits that slip back into place when we’re not paying attention!

    I know I’ve started to use a little more disposable kitchen towel lately, but I’m back on track with that thanks to the Change the World Wednesday challenge this week which suggests we stop using it. Thanks for setting up this great challenge!

  56. I could go the easy rout and say I would go no caffee beverage cups (I am a devout commuter mug user when I don’t leave it on the box of the pick up and take off!
    I don’t remember if I did this challenge last year or not. But I have the need of dropping the disposable fork (cutlery)habit at work, and need to work on using Hankies instead of tissues. Shouldn’t be that hard but I am a creature of (many) bad habits!

  57. We are ditching disposable water bottles for reusable thermoses! This is a pretty big step for us … we’ve already made the switch to cloth diapers, dryer balls, cloth grocery bags, etc… but kept holding on to our disposable water bottles!

  58. I want to sign up to ditch the disposables! I am going to:
    1. give up plastic sandwich and snack bags for reusable containers,
    2. start REMEMBERING to bring my reusable grocery bags everywhere I go,
    3. and try to use reusable wrapping materials instead of regular wrapping paper. I’ve never even thought about doing that before! I’m going to try and think of some interesting things to use. Or at least use old newspapers!

  59. Yay for resuable stuff!

    We loved the idea of using a washcloth for the Swiffer I’ve had sitting uselessly in the closet due to our guilt about buying refills–and it works great! I’m in the process of researching make-at-home cleaning supplies with vinegar and the like.

    We have been slowly collecting reusable bags for grocery shopping, and are finally getting pretty good at remembering to take them in the store with us! We’re also using cloth napkins most of the time (and I’m working up to making the switch in my husband’s lunch–he’s great at bringing my silverware and tupperware back, so I’m hopeful). 🙂

    And I finally took the plunge and got a Diva cup.

  60. napkins, paperplates, whatever we can- I have the towels out and have already made washable swiffers- so they look a little silly but look great

  61. We will be bringing our own take-out containers when we eat out, and switching to cloth wipes. My babies do it, so can I! I love the re-usable straws too.

  62. Our family got rid of napkins to cloth, and maxi pads to Lunapads we sweep with a broom and got a reusable duster, We started using Dr.Bronner’s ( technically a “disposable” but…when diluted its less waste and can be used for a year so I think it counts some) we are looking into microfiber cloths within the next couple of weeks, and I quit shaving lol so no more razors!!

  63. While there are a few of those we already do… with the up coming “colds” season coming I think (gulp) we are going to try and change from Tissues to handkerchiefs… Already do it for the baby so it shouldn’t be that hard for us right…

  64. I’d like to join the challenge. I’ll be concentrating on:

    1. Using a reusable coffee cup instead of getting a disposable one at the coffee shop
    2. Switching from disposable utensils to regular silverware
    3. Bringing containers to restaurants for leftovers (I do that occasionally, but I’m really going to try to focus more)
    4. Use reusable containers/bags for school lunches. We don’t use plastic bags — just waxed paper bags when we run out of the cloth ones. But I’ll pick up a few more reusables so we can ditch the waxed paper bags.

  65. Switching to cloth napkins, and cloth kitchen cloths…I’m also going to try and start carrying my own coffee cup again, I got out of the habit when I got to give up the diaper bag…:)

  66. Better late than never – I’m in! I am going to stop using paper towels (will try Skoy cloths (thanks for the suggestion) bring my own shopping bags, cloth napkins and bring my own coffee cup. What a wonderful idea to ditch the disposables challenge! I will pass this info along to my friends and family.

  67. We’ve transitioned most things over to reusable items, but my one holdout has been paper towels. So, I will take the challenge. I will do it. I will give up Bounty. Thank you for pushing me to do what I know must be done!

  68. I recently purchased my first couple of reusable shopping bags! I LOVE them! (when I purchased them, the cashier was going to put them in a plastic bag…)

    I would like to join and am looking for suggestions on reusable napkins! I’ll be watching for more items to ditch… this is where I’m starting!

  69. I’ve already done the cloth napkin switch a few months ago and am working on using only wipe-up rags instead of paper towels. I think my newest ditch the disposables challenge is going to be produce bags. I’ll take them back to the store each time to reuse or use other plastic bags I have on hand. Thanks for the challenge!

  70. I appear to be late to the party, but have already ditched most disposables. We don’t use paper napkins or towels. Feminine hygiene is all cloth or diva cup. Water bottles are Kleen Kanteens. I have my reusable bags and produce bags. We still use plastic bags for the rare occasion that we need to wrap a sandwich, but they are all bags from other things and have been reused multiple times. We have rechargable batteries as well. I’ll have to look at your list again to figure out what else we can ditch!

  71. Good list – it’s nice to see everything all in one place 🙂 I have a couple questions. First, is it better to use glass or metal straws? My concerns are that metal would rust and glass would break. Second, do you have a favorite brand of food storage? I’ve read quite a few times where greenies are recycling their plastic food storage and switching to glass. Looking at Amazon, I see a lot of glass storage, but they all have plastic lids. I currently have one of those spinning plastic storage things. That was my request for Christmas last year as I started my green journey – get rid of the disposables and find something a little more permanent. But, along that journey, I’ve learned about the hole plastic-leaching issue and want glass. Any recommendations? Oh, and btw, I’ll be on board with the challenge – I can use the support.

  72. Though I agree that it would be quite bold to make a switch away from toilet paper (!!) it’s something I would eventually be interested in trying… Right now I plan to eliminate the use of all paper towels and disposable water bottles (and to cut out the use of as much product packaging as possible by buying in bulk at the local co-op).

  73. While I’m doing a lot of this already, I think this month I’ll hold off on using disposable baby wipes (which I’ve been cheating on lately) and making sure the little guy is in cloth when he’s at home.

    I’ve also decided not to give little candy bags or Halloween plastic stuff away to our Trick or Treaters. I’m sure I’ll make lots of friends with whatever I decide to do. 🙂

  74. Am I too late to join? I was hemming and hawing about this for a bit, but I really want to take the plunge! I’m going to give up paper plates/napkins/cutlery, plastic shopping bags (I’ve mostly cut these out, but I still sometimes forget my reusable ones), and papertowels.

    These are all things that I’ve already been trying to cut out, but doing this challenge will give me the extra incentive to make the switch!

  75. The only disposable things that I use from your list of things to switch are TP and baby wipes. They’re non-negotiable in my book, but I do buy brands with high recycled content.
    My sin is fast food, with all its paper bags and plastic-lidded cups. So that’s my challenge: ditch the fast food. I’ll start in 2010, when I’m not pregnant. 😉

  76. we are a family that practices non disposable. Over the past two years we reduced our waste to one small kitchen sized trash bag a month. (and that trash bag is even made of corn.)
    We do everything on your list, and more…..

    all except the cloth TP. although we use 100 percent post consumer, and then we single ply it…. we also use less ( no more wrapping around the hand!)

  77. Awesome. I LOVE my Diva Cup. SO much more comfortable & efficient than tampons!!!

    I’ll take the challenge — hankies & cloth napkins. I already use kitchen towels rather than paper, *most* of the time! 😀

  78. I just purchased some cloth menstrual pads, so I’m in. Also, I’m trying to use fewer paper towels. Now to get the rest of the family in on the latter… not as easy

  79. We already do a number of these. One I’ve been wanting to do — and now will in honor of your challenge! — is switching to cloth napkins (we’ve already phased out paper towels). I love the idea of reusable wrapping too! I don’t know that I will be giving many gifts between now and christmas, but perhaps I’ll start early so I have tome to make some reusable gift bags — thanks for the great idea!

  80. My new thing (and probably what I’ll make for Christmas presents) is cloth produce bags. I’m going to make them out of cotton gauze with a simple drawstring, so I don’t have to have tons of flimsy plastic bags that I throw away each time I go to the grocery store or farmer’s market.

  81. What a great idea! I’ve been meaning to switch to a reusable water bottle for a while, and to switch away from disposable sandwich bags. So those are my 2!

  82. I wish I would have seen this sooner! I already use only cloth napkins and reusable water bottles. I have a bunch of cloth grocery bags, but I always forget them in the car! So I am going to make a bigger effort to remember to bring them in (or take the groceries out to the car sans bags and bag them in my trunk). I would also like to switch to handkerchiefs now that runny nose season is here, does anyone have any recommendations for hankies they really like? I’m excited to finish this challenge out strong!!

  83. I’ve gotten a bunch of mama-made cloth pads for postpartum, and am hoping to start using them any day now. *looks down at huge pregnant belly* Aaaaannny day now.

  84. I am currently trying to make all our food at home so we don’t do any take out anywhere, but really want to remember to bring my own containers if we do eat out. And toilet paper, I’m still thinking about the toilet paper issue and am making cloth wipes to try out …

  85. I saw the little button in your sidebar and somehow thought it had to be paper towels. Then I saw your Diva Cup giveaway and figured it out…

    I actually just ordered a Diva Cup! And am gathering supplies to make my own pads.

    Now that we have a washer, I also found cloth napkins and more dishcloths and microfiber cloths to cut down on paper towel use. (See, that little button made me feel guilty! Ha ha.)

    We’ve just ordered the 12 oz. Klean Kanteen in hopes that it will fit in our car’s terrible cup holders. So far we haven’t found a winner there.

    We just moved, so I used it as an excuse to streamline my cleaning supplies in favor of natural and reusable, so I Freecycled all my Swiffer, Ready Mop, etc., shtuff in favor of regular mops, brooms, and dusters.

    We already did use cloth diapers, but we’ve switched to cloth training pants.

    And I loooove my reusable grocery bags and now use them as a stash of purses and all-purpose, catch-all bags. Sometimes I have to dump stuff out in the grocery line so I can fit groceries inside.

    The “really, really adventurous” part of me wants to get an attachable bidet spout on our toilets. I saw one on Amazon (this one) and thought it looks pretty stinkin’ cool. And then I wondered if that’s just weird. But my husband agreed that it was a good idea, so that’s the next adventure! 🙂

    I’m getting great ideas from the comments above, so I’ll have to add to my list. And I will be sure to link back here from my blog. Yea for the challenge!

  86. We already do quite a lot of these things, and I don’t think we’re ready to give up toilet paper, but I’ve been meaning to switch from tissues to handkerchiefs so I’ll be doing that.

  87. I am so in (if a bit late).

    Here in the UK we had Zero Waste week last month – I missed the official week but am holding my own next week.

    Since having my little one nineteen days ago we must have thrown out nine bags of rubbish – mainly nappies, wipes and breast pads – and I have been feeling so guilty because I know there are cloth/ reusable alternatives to all of them

  88. Count me in! I only wish our daycare were more flexible with using cloth diapers, but I understand that they need to meet the guidelines set forth by the state … still … sigh.

  89. My husband and I already do most of the stuff you mention, but I have yet to make the change from organic cotton disposable pads to a reusable cup! Count me in!

  90. I’m a bit late to the challenge but I’d like to ditch a few things.

    I’m already bringing my own grocery bags and have several stainless steel water bottles that we use.

    I’m going to ditch paper towels (I usually use a kitchen towel but still have paper towels around and occasionally reach for those for yucky messes. I’m going to try and only use towels instead)

    I’m also going to stop using plastic baggies. I’ve recently received some reusable cloth baggies and the girls love the prints.

  91. I know its a little late but I’m going to join!!

    We already do almost all of these!!

    I’m going to choose: Bringing my own container to restaurants and I’m going to dry the feminine products transition! I also want to look into the straws, I hate that they are plastic anyways.

    I’m not brave enough to get rid of the TP!!

  92. I am surprised at how many of these I already do! I do use toilet paper, but I use washcloths to wipe my baby’s bum! I have had the same pack of disposable baby wipes for 5 months and it’s not even half empty!

  93. We already cloth diaper, but I admit to using more than our fair share of disposables (we’re only supposed to use one at night, but we tend to use them every once in a while during the day). so I’ll take the initiative and cut them out.

  94. I’m a little late to the game, but I’m.. uh… game!

    I will give up disposable lady-time things (I’ll be pregnant til next month (hopefully!) but i still use some..) & i’ll switch to rags instead of paper towels & swiffers… i know i should have a long time ago, anyway!

  95. I am in the process of transitioning to cloth diapers, as money allows. I realize disposables cost more in the long run, but the up-front cost to start cloth diapering is immense, especially on 1 income. I currently cloth diaper about 1/4 of the time, with that increasing as I buy more diapers.

    I have also bought probably 10 of the reusable shopping bags, and really need to work on remembering to use them. When I forget and have too much to go bagless, I need to remember to recycle the plastic bag (or local recycling program allows them in our blue boxes).

    The one thing I haven’t tried, but would like to do, is to ditch the disposable feminine products. I think if I had a Diva Cup (or the like) and got used to it, cloth pads wouldn’t be far behind.

    My other major ‘disposable’ I’d like to ditch, is buying books at the bookstore. I want to get more books from the library, and any books I do buy, I’d like to pass on for someone else to enjoy.

  96. we ditched water bottles (the ones we had i saved and used them for discovery bottles so they were reused and have had them for over a year) and bought reusable bottles

    we also cloth bag and try to use paper bags if we need more(which i cut when we get home and use them for paint paper so they are reused too)

  97. I am going to skip using paper napkins and opt for the cloth ones! I’ve stop long time before using plastic (bags, plates etc)!!
    Hope it will work! Great idea! Thank you
    Marianna, Greece

  98. I am coming a little late on this one! After having my 5th kid, we finally moved to a house and I thought “ok, NOW I can do cloth diapering” I am totally kicking myself for not doing it sooner. We just started in Dec 2009, 24 prefolds and 8 covers. The diapers have already paid for themselves and I do get an ever so superior feeling when I pass the diaper aisle, we use cloth washcloths for face cleaning in lieu of paper towels and another set of washcloths for butts(the kids). My next plan is reusable feminine pads(I hate spending the money AND advertising my “condition”) plus I talked one friend into trying it and another one is ready to start once her #6 kid arrives.

  99. I wish I’d found this during the challenge…it has, however, inspired me to get a package of hankies. 🙂

    I already have some cloth pads (Party in my Pants–great stuff!), and I don’t use paper towels, although that’s mostly because I don’t have a convenient way of getting any (they don’t have them at the campus convenience store).

    Cloth toilet paper? Someday. Someday I shall do that. But not while I’m in a dorm that has free toilet paper. 🙂

    Now, if someone could just invent a reuseable Q-tip, I’d be all set…

  100. I am with Katie, I wish I had found this during the challenge, but then again, would I have been ready for it a year ago? I already do just about everything on the list and have for a few years now with the exception of handkerchiefs and ‘family cloth’ – though both make total sense to me. Not sure if DH will commit to the latter and re-training the kids might be a challenge in and of itself, but I am certainly willing to try it for myself and had thought about it before but filed it away as being “too extreme”. Since we have a baby coming soon and I will cloth diaper/wipe our new arrival, I think I can successfully incorporated this new challenge into our family lifestyle. I spent a bit yesterday cutting up old receiving blankets for use with the baby, I could certainly cut some more for family use. Not sure about doing #2 yet, but certainly down with #1.
    Thanks for the motivation!

  101. I NEVER USE DISPOSABLES! Forget the months… the only tissue I have in this home is for the toilet. We use cloth towels, cloth napkins, cloth nose tissues and cloth diapers. I also make my own laundry detergent, which is super easy – the most environmental – and CHEAP!

  102. I hope I am not too late to “save the world” – I will gladly give up paper plates/cups and disposible utensils at home, with my g-children – to show them how to clean up their plates and their world at the same time…and later, show them how to do the dishes…lol!

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