Thursday, February 09, 2012

JOT #34: Amazing reusables

I've talked a bit about cool reusable things, like handkerchiefs and baby wipes and napkins, but here are some even more inspired things that can reduce your use of disposable products even further:

  • tea bags - Loose-leaf tea is the most eco-friendly, or herbs from your garden. A strainer often works, but when it doesn't, consider a little muslin or cotton bag you can dangle from a chopstick. You can also sew your own tea into a fine cloth teabag with a drawstring - just empty and rinse out.
  • coffee filters - sew your own from a bit of muslin or cheesecloth. Yse a double-width, using a paper filter as a template - just wash and use. Or you can get a gold filter that's reusable as well.
  • produce bags - reuse an old orange or onioin bag, buy a mesh bag, or make your own out of an old tshirt! (see here)
  • bulk bin bags - for flour and other fine bulk-bin dry goods, you need a bag that won't let powder through - these are made of ripstop nylon that is food safe. You can get some nylon and sew your own, or use any really tightly woven fabric (then transfer your foodstuff to a reusable jar)
  • scrubbies - reuse bits of orange and other bags or plastic loofahs along with some yarn to crochet up a good kitchen scrubbie. You can also just cover a sponge with the material for good scrubbin'.
  • cotton face pads - forget the throwaways with a bit of flannel blanket-stitched around the edges, or knit or crochet a circle with cotton yarn.
  • wicks - if you use wicks for candles or lamps, save bits of string and twine, then just dip them in oil or melted wax
  • tape - make your own tape from bits of paper or plastic and glue, or just use glue. save all those tiny bits of plastic and paper altogether by using ribbon or wrapping your gift in cloth or putting it in a bag.
  • ziplock bags - give up the plastic bag habit by switching to small snack bags made out of wipeable fabric or cloth you can throw in the wash. Sandwiches can be wrapped, dry snacks in cloth bags, fruit in nylon bags, or just use reusable containers!
  • juice boxes - turn the old juice boxes in to Terracycle, then get a small stainless steel water bottle or thermos or glass bottle to fill with (diluted) juice.
  • garbage bin liners - reuse your old plastic bags until you run out, then start lining your bin with paper. You can skip the whole step by just using the trash as usual and rinsing it out when needed as well.

What other reusable items do you use?

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