Wasteful Stuff In Your Home & Useful Alternatives.

As my zero waste endeavor continues, I’ve been taking note in my home of the wasteful things I’ve been using all my life and how easy the solutions to them are. Here are 14 wasteful things I’ve taken note of in my home and am on my way to eliminating.

  1. Bottled water. This is an absurdity and no one should be succumbing to the temptation of bottled water. Watch this short film about bottled water. Hopefully you’ll never want to touch a bottle of water again. There’s no lack of tap or fountains from which we can refill our own bottle.
  2. Paper Towels. Hang a towel near each sink to remind yourself to dry your hands with it instead of paper towels. Make sure to have plenty of rags on hand in the kitchen, bathroom, and near your cleaning supplies to remind you to use rags. Paper towels can be handy for gross messes but rags do the same job and can be washed in bleach or vinegar to kill bacteria.
  3. Aluminum Foil. Aluminum foil makes a lot of things easier – grilling, baking, and storing food. But why waste money on it when you can buy reusable parchment baking paper and thermal food covers.
  4. Ziploc bags. Very handy for travel and storage, but reusable sandwich bags are cuter and less wasteful. There are a lot of great ones on Etsy.
  5. Mail. You can try the App PaperKarma to opt out of receiving mail. What I ended up doing instead was to call the phone numbers provided on the mail every time I sat down to go through it. It was not as painful or time consuming as one would assume.
  6. Food packaging. Buy in bulk and take your own containers to buy food in. When grocery shopping, bring your own bags.
  7. Trash bags. If you recycle, your need for trash bags will decrease. Make sure you are using reusable bags (like large burlap sacks) for your recycling and to dispose of your trash.
  8. Toilet paper. So, it is very brave of people to go to rags instead of using toilet paper. I’m definitely not there yet. I still use toilet paper, though I have been buying eco-friendly toilet paper made out of recycled materials. Most major department stores have this option. Also consider using a handkerchief to blow your nose.
  9. Q-tips. Using a Q-tip in your ear removes the natural wax that is in there to keep out water and protect the ear. Professionals agree, they are not healthy. Wash outside of your ear canal with a rag and stop using these things. They’re pointless.
  10. Cotton balls. What do we really use these things for anyway that can’t be handled with a wash cloth? Removing nail polish? Dedicate a rag to nail polish removal. Facial toner? Reconsider your use of facial products or apply with a reusable cleansing pad. Aside from just being wasteful, the cotton industry uses 2.5 percent of the world’s cultivated land yet uses 16 percent of the world’s insecticides—more than any other single major crop.
  11. Disposable Razors. Invest in a razor that only needs the blade changed.
  12. Tooth brushes. Tooth brushes as wasteful may not have occurred to you, but think about this – fifty million pounds of toothbrushes go into landfills every single year. Dentists recommend you replace them every three months to maintain a healthy mouth. Consider using recyclable toothbrushes that are already made out of recycled material.
  13. Batteries. Use appliances that plug in or have rechargeable batteries.
  14. Disposable cleaning products. Swiffer mops, throw-away vacuum bags (that seem to have gone out of style), anti bacterial wipes (a favorite of mine, sadly), among others are very tempting because they are easy – clean, and throw away. But so wasteful! What’s so hard about clean, then wash?

Many of these things are great modern conveniences, but are they really necessary? No, they’re not – and in fact, they’re wasteful. Stop buying these things to fill landfills and keep money in your wallet instead.


8 responses to Wasteful Stuff In Your Home & Useful Alternatives.

  1. Great list! Thanks for that :)

    Most of my waste-free journey has been helped by purchasing Norwex products which are a chemical-free, more environmentally friendly cleaning products (and other living items) brand.

    I have a Norwex toothbrush which has a removable head but lasts for months longer than the average and obviously only needs the head to be replaced.

    Norwex enviro cloth, window cloth, face cloth which all are incredible at cleaning and just keep reusing.

    An alternative for rubbish bags night be to line your indoor bins with newspaper (we get them free in our mailbox) instead of the biodegradable bags because they can’t degrade as they are meant to when sent to landfill because of the density of the rubbish there or something and so it adds to the bad gas release there.

    Have you looked into composting? I’ve started off small and intend to go bigger when I move out of this tiny unit.

    For taking food on the go or wrapping it up in general you could use bees wax cloth :) I think there is also a vegan alternative of the same thing.


  2. Bibi

    Well… I came here to See an Alternative for q Tips. Not for my ears, but When using make up.


    • Kearby – Author

      I don’t use q tips for makeup, I use make up brushes. I am sure there are washable applicators.


  3. SweetSimpleLife

    I know this is years late. But about 1 1/2 years ago…we attached a bidet to out toilet (bought it for 40 bucks on Amazon) and bought brown wash rags…in place or toilet paper. We haven’t looked back, except when we are in public or at someone else’s house (which is rare). Since using this method, I haven’t had any UTIs (I use to get them all the time, since the age of 8…can’t even take a bubble bath because that’s how easily I get them). When I do have to use toilet paper…I feel gross! It has saved us a lot of money!


    • Pale Osprey – Author

      I really want to get one of these! Thanks for the comment.


  4. Natasha

    For toothbrushes, use an electric toothbrush! They use a very small amount of energy, you only need to replace the top part, and they clean your teeth well.


    • Pale Osprey – Author

      That’s a great idea. I’ve been considering getting one actually.


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