Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Cutting Out Waste

Paper towels.

Plastic sandwich and snack bags.

Household cleaners.

Three items which have successfully disappeared from my home. Inconvenient? Sometimes. Cost effective. Most definitely.

From paper towels to Micro-fiber Cloths
I used to buy paper towels in bulk. I was a paper towel snob and would only purchase Bounty, because, yes, one sheet could indeed absorb more than the cheap variety where I would have to pull off several sheets to do one job.

And yet, even though I was using less sheets per clean up, I wasn't very conscious about throwing the used paper towel in the recycle bin. Nope. Into the trash they went.

So, not only was I throwing my money into the trash, I was also throwing my trash into landfills. I know, I know, don't go throwing the fact that I used disposable diapers back in my face. At least applaud my small efforts.

I now use Micro-fiber cloths to clean. Everything. You can get them anywhere. My tip? Go to the automotive department at a store like Target, where I picked up 10 for something like $6.00. If you go to the aisle with household cleaners, sponges, etc, you will end up paying more. Save money by hitting the aisle where the guys with the cool cars go in order to get a soft cloth to keep their machine sparklin' for the ladies.

(Yeah, I don't know what that was all about. I just read an article on writing and am working on not censoring myself mid-thought.)

I hear that Williams-Sonoma has an incredible kitchen towel which is well worth the money. I'll double check what variety and get back to you . . .

From plastic sandwich/snack bags to Reusable Containers
Unless you are someone who is conscious about drying out plastic baggies, say, on a baby bottle rack, or something similar, I just can not see any reason for using plastic bags. There I've said it. Have I offended you? Do I sound like a green snob? I don't mean to. I just want to impress the importance of thinking long term, rather than convenience.

My kids take their lunches to school. Even the 4 year old. I send them with reusable containers, and no, I didn't buy expensive one's. I looked for sales, used coupons, and purchased those containers which are supposed to be "one time use". They lie. "One time use" containers can be cleaned over and over and over again. Top rack of the dishwasher or by hand.

And yes, the kids bring them home. We use them for everything. Lunch. Snacks. Leftovers.

From purchasing household cleaners to Making Household Cleaners
Simply put, water, vinegar, and baking soda can go a long way. Check out this article on Blissfully Domestic for Earth and money saving ideas when it comes to cleaning your home! Seriously, have you really checked the price of household cleaners? Not cheap. And, if you go "green", the cost goes up. I'm done. Making my own cleanin' moonshine these days.

Challenge: For the month of March, try to go without paper towels and plastic bags. Purchase a spray bottle and try out one of the "recipes" on the link I posted above. You can do it!

Let me know how you do!


Debbie said...

I've thought a bit about the cleaners, but never about the paper towels and plastic bags. Hmmm. Definitely given me some food for thought...

Anonymous said...

I actually cut up a bunch of old T-shirts into paper towel sized squares. We use them for napkins or I have some set aside for clean-up. No expense at all! And, we're recycling the T-shirts while also not using paper towels!

And, I love the re-usable containers for lunches. We ended up buying the Wonder bread sandwich containers though, as we couldn't find other containers for sandwiched small enough to fit into our lunch boxes.

karen said...

Washing plastic baggies is actually pretty easy. They can go in the dishwasher. I turn them inside out and clip them to the top rack with a plastic clothespin. They come out clean and ready to be reused. If they aren't quite dry, I just set it either in the dish drainer or over my bottle of dish soap. I love baggies--they are super convenient. And washing and reusing really isn't a big deal at all!

Cuppa Jo said...

Karen, I never thought about putting baggies in the dishwasher.

My question would be: how many washes do you get out of them? At some point, I would think they would get so worn that they tear. What happens when they are too worn to reuse again?

Also, I'm concerned that my children wouldn't bring home the baggies from their lunch, whereas they can't miss the small reusable containers that I pack. The baggies, I'm afraid, would get scooped up with uneaten food pitched.

Stace said...

I'm with you on the "disposable" plastic tubs! Totally and completely reusaable! Same with waterbottles...we wash and reuse...unless someone gets ill...then out they all go! (We wash and reuse CUPS...)

karen said...

I get quite a few uses...I've honestly never counted. I know I rarely have to buy a new box though. If you buy freezer baggies, it takes a LONG time and many, many washes for them to tear. I think I've accidentally poked them with a knife more often! And to be fair, I'm not sending kiddos to school! :) So I don't have to worry about baggies coming home.

But I do know that when it comes to stocking a freezer, you can fit many more homemade meals with freezer bags than with container. One lady said she could get 40 homemade meals stacked in her freezer (just the little one above her fridge) using freezer baggies. If she tried to use containers, she would have to have a separate freezer unit--which would in turn be more power usage, etc. It's all a trade-off. I really like having homemade freezer meals, and beans I've cooked in big batches, etc., in my freezer, so I'll keep using my baggies.

I won't say anything about your disposable diapers if you don't say anything about my baggies, how's that? ;) Different strokes and all... ;)

Cuppa Jo said...

"I won't say anything about your disposable diapers if you don't say anything about my baggies, how's that? ;) Different strokes and all... ;)"

Ha ha! Thank you for the grace on that!!!!!!!!!!!! Deal!