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The Disposable Challenge

Last post Tue, Aug 18 2009 2:24 PM by onequarterdal. 23 replies.
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  • Wed, Jul 1 2009 8:20 AM

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    The Disposable Challenge

    I thought it was time for an exciting new challenge for those who are new to frugality or still fairly new to self-sufficient living.

    It's hard to replace items we already have and use with something reusable sometimes. So this month, I am challenging you to find something disposable to replace with a reusable option.

    If you need to make a purchase for this, be sure to keep it within your budget but keep in mind that once the investment is made, you won't be spending more next month for the disposables.

    If you aren't sure where to start, here are some ideas:

    Bye Bye Paper Products

    Green Family Ideas

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager

  • Wed, Jul 1 2009 10:58 AM In reply to

    Re: The Disposable Challenge

    This is a great challenge, Brandy. Frugal as well as enviornmentally supportive.

    Some things we have done along these lines (and I know there are so many more):

    • Switched from paper napkins to cloth napkins
    • switched from plastic bags to cloth bags
    • Cut down on paper towel use by making cleaning rags and having a ready supply of dish rags for spills
    • Potty trained my youngest (almost 3) so stopped using pull-ups and wipes.
    • Switched from "swiffer" type products to sponge mop and dust rags
    • When my boys were babies, used cloth diapers (except for daycare, not allowed by state law)
    • By making cleaners, I don't buy bottles of spray, cleaners, etc and just reuse the bottles I have

    I have not seen an increase in water/electricity/gas usage for doing extra laundry. Honestly, it's really just one extra load a week of napkins and dishtowels. I wash the cleaning rags separately and don't get a full load each week (but have plenty of rags, LOL).

    I hope to try more of the suggestions listed in the articles.

  • Wed, Jul 1 2009 11:04 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: The Disposable Challenge

    I have not seen an increase in water/electricity/gas usage for doing extra laundry.

    My cloth napkins and cleaning cloths don't even come up to an extra load of laundry. I wash towels on a full load and just toss those in. I'd be using the full load anyway and there is room for them.


    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager

  • Wed, Jul 1 2009 11:45 AM In reply to

    • MarthaMFI
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Apr 16 2008
    • New Westminster, BC, Canada
    • Posts 10,850

    Re: The Disposable Challenge

    mmm the only thing I can see is using cloth napkins.  ds is still in pullups at night because he sleeps too deep to wake up to pee.

    already use rags for lots of things.  

    the kids go though so much napkins..will have to see if I have enough cloth napkins plus all the spills...

    I don't need to buy any disposables this month because I have enough on hand.

    with the swiffer, I use microfibre cloths I was given from the dollar store. I just poke the cloth thought the holes to keep it on.

    Officially recognized Stretchpert in Hobbies and Crafts
  • Wed, Jul 1 2009 1:07 PM In reply to

    Re: The Disposable Challenge

    I can't say I've given up all my disposable products. I have given up paper towels, though. We never really used that many anyway, and when the last roll ran out, I didn't replace it.

    I still use plastic grocery bags, because I reuse them here at home for small trash bags, cleaning the litter box, and bagging up dirty diapers before they go into the oustide garbage can.

    I still use paper napkins as needed. They mostly get used for soaking up bacon grease (we hardly ever make bacon, though) and cleaning up kitty barf. (yucky, I know). But we've had the same batch of paper napkins since 2007, so I guess that's not a whole lot of waste.

    I've started saving boxes. It seems that I always need a box when I don't have a spare on hand. I have also started really working on using both sides of any paper before it gets thrown away.


  • Wed, Jul 1 2009 1:47 PM In reply to

    Re: The Disposable Challenge

    • I only occasionally use paper towels... I've had my supply though since 2005? (bought 16 rolls, down to 8 or 9) I use when keeping lettuce dry in the frig along with other perishables.
    • Napkins I'll save from when I eat out. I'll use them when eating a juicy fruit, like a peach, and throw that and the pit together.
    • otherwise, I do use more cloths for napkins
    • I only use cloths for cleaning. Gone are the days where paper towels are used. Smile Even cleaning floors. I use a paper binder clip (the type of clip that you use when there's too much for a paper clip or staple) to hold the cloth on the swiffer mophead.
    • sorry, I can't bring myself to doing hankies yet ...
    • when I use to pack my lunches for work or school, I'd carry my own utensils, so avoid the plastics, about the only thing that I can't totally avoid is a straw (keep a couple from fast food places, avoid me buying) when I need one for a milkshake
    • working on the one bottle thing ... I have several that I can use but I tend to forget them
    • I have a couple plastic bags but only by accident. Most of the time I use bags that I have acquired that are stronger such as canvas or cloth. 

    Overall, I am not bad but I can improve. Smile
    I'm not confused. I'm just well mixed. ~Robert Frost
    Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction. - Anne Frank
    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

    Married my Blessing 10-16-10 :)
    Became an Auntie 12-10-10 :)
  • Wed, Jul 1 2009 7:15 PM In reply to

    • Darlene
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 11 2008
    • (Mid state) Illinois
    • Posts 137

    Re: The Disposable Challenge

    I still have a roll of paper towel I received free from a new CVS about three monthes ago. Never use them, but thought they might come in handy traveling or something. Since all the kiddies are off on their own, we have greatly reduced the need for toilet paper! Not using so many rolls per week that is. Haven't tried cutting down the use of paper napkins yet. DH does use hankies, so I don't buy tissues very often. I do wash plastic ware and sometimes even wash hard plastic disposable cups after cook-outs. Rarely use paper plates, have several small plastic  trays with built- in cup holder. I have had them for at least 12 years and they work just fine for picnics. Still using plastic bags. I do have some nice cloth ones from promotions, just forget to take them to the store when I shop.


  • Sun, Jul 5 2009 1:35 AM In reply to

    Re: The Disposable Challenge

     the only things left that are disposable here are tissues and toilet paper!  and paper napkins.  the honey thinks cloth napkins go in his pocket and turn into shop rags!

  • Sun, Jul 5 2009 7:10 AM In reply to

    Re: The Disposable Challenge

    I buy paper towels on sale and I use coupons for them.

    I don't buy paper plates nor do I purchase disposable silverware.

    I run the dishwasher only when I have a full load.

    I also don't buy disposable cups and glasses.

  • Sun, Jul 5 2009 12:50 PM In reply to

    Re: The Disposable Challenge

    I purchased heavy plastic plates and extra silverware for when we entertain instead of using paper plates and plastic utensils.  I plan to buy heavy plastic cups and make cloth napkins to omit disposable cups and paper napkins.  I'm sure there are more things, but this is what I'm working on at the moment.

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