After recycling and composting became a habit that doesn’t require any thought, I wanted to make my life a bit more eco-friendly. I put together a quick list of changes I can make to reduce my waste impact.
1. Swap Toilet Paper
I bought a bulk size of Scott 1000 Sheet Toilet Paper (single ply) from BJ’s the summer of 2017 and was running low. I panicked. I was like, what should I get next? I should look into tube less toilet paper because the cardboard roll is completely useless and I can reduce my waste!
Switching seemed like an easy task until I started clicking around. I started down the rabbit hole of finding the best next toilet paper for me. I saw these good alternatives:
- Scott Tube-Free product, 231 sheets per roll ($0.29/sheet)
- Seventh Generation 100% Recycled Toilet Paper, 240 sheets per roll, 2-ply ($0.24/sheet)
- Aria Premium Earth Friendly Toilet Paper, 308 sheets per roll, 2-ply ($0.42/sheet)
2018: I am still figuring out which is the best for me and will get 1 roll to try out! But I am definitely digging the ones that are made from recyclables — this saves 50% energy and also does not use virgin materials.
Aug 2020: In 2019, I stumbled upon Reel toilet paper–or rather, it found me. I was browsing Instagram one morning in bed and got hit with an ad about sustainability toilet paper and a box of 24 rolls for $5. That’s right–$5. The frugal person in me got out of bed and completed the transaction in 5 minutes. I got the box and it was actually on a subscription basis for 6-months (I think?) so it renewed for ~$25 for another 24 rolls on Sep 2019. I won’t say that’s cheap because Scott’s 1000-sheet 1-ply is about $0.40/roll if you get it at Costco or BJs and $1 at the dollar stores… so paying $1/roll with Reel is pricey. While I forgot to cancel the renewal (we stored this box of teepee for almost a year before using needing to open it), I don’t regret it as the texture and strength of the teepee is great!!
2. Swap Cotton Pads
Nov 2018: I use a LOT of [synthetic] cotton pads. They are $0.99 for a pack of 100. I go through 4–5 a week, being conservative, using both sides of the pad before I toss away, and using 1 to remove eye makeup all week (having more of the oil there makes it easier every time).
Ignoring the sanitary concerns of my makeup removal process (lol 🤦🏻♀️️), I use 260 pads a year ($2.60). I can easily just keep buying these rolls for cost savings purposes, but I know they are not good for the environment, since they are SYNTHETIC and can’t even be composted.
- Actual 100% cotton pads like Organyc (although cotton is one of the dirtiest crops…)
- Washable Bamboo Cotton Rounds (bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world)
Aug 2020: Since the post, once I got to about 20 cotton pads left, I started to look for good alternatives. After reading many blog posts to help my purchase decision, I landed on Amazon – washable reusable bamboo nursing pads.
What I really like about this purchase:
- big surface area – used one for 3 days by sticking to one side of the pad each time (there are only 6 pads so if you don’t run the washer enough, you need to get crafty)
- machine washable (although best to avoid softener to retain absorbency quality… but I didn’t)
- colored on one-side so you can “assign” certain colors for certain things (ie: black for eye makeup removal, pink for toner application)
I actually stopped using this altogether and just apply toner directly on my face. I reuse the same “cotton” pads for nail polish acetone remover… until they crumble.
3. Reuse Napkins
This isn’t really a switch I made, but something I highly recommend. Each time you go through a napkin for your mouth, you can save that napkin to reuse… for cleaning! I always threw these into the NY Dept of Sanitation compost (brown bin) so everything avoided the landfill! Since May 2020, NYC stopped compost pick-ups so my napkins have been repurposed… but still trash since at-home compost solutions are not ideal for any animal products or oils…
4. Kitchen Towels
So while I do have a stack of paper towels… I use them sparingly for hands and reuse where I can. I have two little kitchen towels I rotate to clean countertops, light spills, and daily stovetop cleaning with dish soap. Doing this every day saves paper towels and makes a neat stovetop. Having gunk hang around your kitchen will only cause more headache and harsher products for cleaning (thus more waste).
Originally posted on Medium: https://medium.com/@winniemui/ecofriendlyfridays0003-simple-eco-friendly-switches-at-home-62db11e93866