I get strange looks when I have people over and I hand them a kitchen cloth or cloth napkin to use instead of a paper towel. It’s considered a little eccentric, especially with a baby and two dogs, to not keep paper towels in the house. It started off with me forgetting to buy new ones for several weeks and then realizing that reusable cloths worked exactly the same and saved us money and unnecessary paper products.

In honour of Earth Day, I thought I would share a few EASY ways I’m reducing my waste. I’m sticking to easy, because for many people, they need realistic small ways to change their habits.

Would it be better if I installed solar panels, dug a well for water, and replaced my car with a bicycle? Absolutely. But that’s a lot.

The common thing I hear from people when I talk recycling, reducing plastics use is “With big companies and other countries polluting like crazy, me recycling is not going to make a difference.” There are about 33 million people in Canada, what if every single person changed that thinking and greatly reduced their waste? It WOULD make a difference.  Just because other people won’t change, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Cloth napkins/papertowels

As I said, I don’t use paper towels. I have cloth napkins for eating and rags for cleaning up messes and spills.

Reusable bags in car at all times

My car has little compartments at the feet of the seats and I have filled every seat with reusable shopping bags. Doing this means I always have at least one ready to grab when I go grocery shopping.

Reusable produce bags/no produce bags

When I first read about reusable produce bags I immediately went to Amazon and ordered a set. They’re white mesh so the cashiers can see through them to know what product you have and it is so much better to bag things up with a mesh bag than using those plastic ones.

Also, if I’m not eating the peel of what I’m buying, I don’t use a bag at all. Mangos, lemons, onions, garlic, I let them roll around my cart freely.

Metal Coffee Filter

This is another small thing I didn’t think about until one day we ran out of paper coffee filters. I was annoyed that we were out and then I realized that it would make more sense and be easier to have a metal, washable filter.

Bamboo Toothbrushes

This was another small change that never occurred to me until someone else mentioned it. You go through 1 or 2 toothbrushes a year, in 70 years that is up to 140 toothbrushes sitting in a landfill.

Bamboo toothbrushes (with charcoal brushes) are also available on Amazon and they will decompose and not stick around the landfill.

Reusable Straw

The last easy switch I made is purchasing a reusable travel straw. When the weather warms up, I become a diet coke monster (I know! it’s so bad for you) and it has to be fountain pop with lots of carbonation. And again, a straw is a small amount of plastic, but if I can stop using them with a one time $9 purchase, why wouldn’t I?

So these are the few easy, and cheap ways that I’ve made to reduce waste.

Any other tips? What do you do?

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