Replace the Disposables!

“This isn’t a fancy restaurant!” my youngest daughter would say after I replaced my paper napkins with cloth.  One of the many small changes I’ve made in my house over the past year is that we no longer use paper and plastic throwaway products.  Through my girls’ eyes, I’ve added instant glamour to our every day meals. 

We were big paper plate/disposable cup users.  I thought this was so much more convenient with children.  If my daughters wanted a bagel, we used a paper plate; if they spilled some water, off to go get a paper towel; if they wanted a drink, they (or I) opted for a disposable plastic cup.  After going to a BBQ dinner at a friend’s house, I realized the amount of paper and plastic waste my family contributed.  Since the napkins become soiled, these paper products, then, were unrecyclable.  Our eco-conscious friends used brightly colored cloth napkins (and we were having BBQ)!  I was so impressed with her amazing collection that I asked her about it.  “It was one of the easiest, yet impactful changes I’ve made,” my friend informed me.  She even puts the cloth napkins and regular (not plastic) utensils in her children’s lunches.  So that was it: from that moment on, I resolved to use up all the paper/plastic disposable products (napkins, cups, paper towels, plastic utensils) that I had left in the house.

Here are some easy Earth Promises you can make to replace disposable products in your house:

 To use a hand towel for drying my hands as opposed to using paper towel or napkins 

To use a dish cloth or sponge for wiping up spills as opposed to using paper towel or napkins.

– To replace paper napkins with cloth ones:  Many households use the cloth alternative only when company or big family dinners arise.  Make it part of your daily routine. If you don’t want to spend the money right now to purchase a bulk of new cloth napkins, make them from old articles of clothing

To use a lunch box instead of paper or plastic bags.

– To use microfiber clothes in lieu of paper towels to clean windows and dusting.  These are a great alternative to the swiffer cloths. Microfiber cloths can be purchased in the auto department

Now my girls acknowledge my contribution to the environment as well as their etiquette.  It’s not a matter of us dining as if at a fancy restaurant, but who puts the napkin on their lap first!

Making these small changes is a great advantage to the environment and your budget. Think of the money that could be saved by not buying any of these products.


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1 Comment »

  1. Cindy said

    Great ideas! I figure we save about $100 per year by not buying paper towels. We didn’t opt for real cloth napkins, though. We bought a bunch of inexpensive white wash cloths instead. They’re really absorbent, wash up great, and when they get too dingy they make good rags.

    We also gave up the sponge–it’s still disposable–and opted for knitted dish cloths. They’re virtually indestructible.

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