Saturday, November 5, 2011

Streamlining Saturdays: Reducing Paper Waste (Sustainability Edition)

I mentioned last Saturday that we are composting now and attempting to reduce our waste in general. One of the main things that fills up our garbage can each week is paper waste: paper towels, plates, and napkins, cotton balls, Kleenex, etc. So we're going paperless.

Going paperless hasn't turned out to be very hard at all. You just have to replace your general disposable paper with permanent things. We aren't getting paper towels anymore. Instead, I have a color-coded washcloth system that makes them obsolete.
  • Baby washclothes to clean the girls up after meals and before bedtime, washing hands and faces.
  • White washclothes to wash my  face every morning/evening instead of using disposable makeup removing clothes or cotton balls.
  • Striped dish washclothes and towels for the kitchen (obviously) and cleaning the table after meals.
  • Pink waschlothes for cleaning the bathroom.
  • Orange washclothes for dusting, windows and other little household messes.
  • Blue washclothes are for cleaning the floor.
As long as you wash your washclothes in hot water and detergent, there is really no reason to not use them again and again. I separate bath towels and the white and baby waschlothes from the cleaning washclothes to avoid them coming into contact with the harsh chemicals used for cleaning.

We have also decided not to buy paper plates anymore. We use regular dinner plates if just a few people are coming over. And if there is going to be a party we have thin, plastic, reusable plates from CostCo. They take up much less space than regular plates but can be hand-washed and reused. 

Reducing paper waste is much less expensive, and in the long run, more convenient than constantly running out of paper towels or plates. We still use paper napkins at dinner time, but at least they are compostable along with any leftovers from the meal.

So that's what we're up to lately... Happy Saturday!

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