There are some things for which non-disposable items are not an option. I try to do my part to save the environment. Actually, that’s utter bullcrap, I do my part to save money because, contrary to some of my other posts, I can be quite, er, frugal. Can I help it if being frugal sometimes saves the environment, too?
So I use a broom and dustpan/mop and bucket to clean my floors instead of a Swiffer-type deal. I use a sponge and spray cleaner combination to clean my counters, appliances, stove top, toilets, sinks, tubs, tile, etc. instead of those Clorox pop-up wipes. (I’m fully aware that sponges are bacteria flop houses. I buy the ones that inhibit bacteria growth and dispose of them often enough that this isn’t a prob. Plus the spray cleaner I use has bleach, so I think we’re safe. Of course we use different sponges for the kitchen and bathrooms, too.). I use a dust cloth and furniture polish instead of those single-use wipes. My son takes his lunch to school in a lunch box instead of brown paper bags. We use real dishes and flatware instead of disposable ones, too.
On the other hand, I also use disposable diapers and baby wipes. This is not an option. Have you seen what comes out of the business end of a two year old? I don’t even want to confront it just to clean it off his bottom let alone to clean it off a cloth diaper!
I also (when I’m not eight and a half months preggers) use disposable feminine products. Although I don’t want to go into detail, let’s just say I won’t even use those ob tampons that don’t have an applicator! Things that come out of your body are gross. That’s why they come out!
We also use paper towels. They come in handy when cleaning the glass tabletops and mirrors. I think Windex makes a single use wipe but I doubt we’ll buy that product.
We use Q-tips and cotton balls for the appropriate situations. I’m not sure what we could use in lieu of these items, though.
So what about your household? Where do you draw the line at using renewable resources?
“We use Q-tips and cotton balls for the appropriate situations. I’m not sure what we could use in lieu”
I feel so… used.
Agreed on the disposable diapers. That’s simply non-debatable in our house. We also used paper plates and cups at our last kiddy birthday party. It was initially so we wouldn’t end up with a load of busted plates but the clean-up afterwards was admittedly much much nicer.
I’m with you on the diapers. When my kids were babies, I tried really hard to use cloth diapers, they were uncomfortable to the kids, leaky, messy and I did so much laundry the machine was going 24/7. It was just plain disgusting.
I use a little piece of wood with a scoop at the end instead of a Q-tip (I’m such an enviromentalist–not). I bought it in Japan and it seems to work pretty well. It scoops the ear wax out instead of pushing it further in.
As far as other stuff around the house; economics before enviromental concerns. Heck, I even ask for plastic bags at the grocery store so I can reuse them to line the bathroom trash cans.
I use cloth diapers, but these days you can get a diaper service that does the non-fun stuff for you. You just throw the diaper and its contents into the pail, put it out once a week, and they come and give you fresh clean diapers! It’s like getting a Christmas present once a week! And it’s still cheaper than disposables (which I do use for nighttime and long outings).
I use too many paper towels, though. I try to use washcloths and other things, but the paper towels still disappear pretty fast.
I do use a Swiffer every once in a while to get the dust out of the edges after a real sweeping. The front half of the house is wood, and a lot of dust gets collected; a broom doesn’t do it all. I have never even considered buying all those wipe products, though.
And yay for clotheslines! I love 'em, and it gives you a nice thrill of frugality and environmentalism every time you hang out a load of laundry.
My family used real diapers…with a service that came a took care of them. It was really neat, they drop off a bundle of clean diapers and a hamper, you get them dirty and trade them in for clean ones. They came in a big red van every week. Life was good.
I’m right with you on the “feminine” products thing. I have a friend who is all about The Keeper…for those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a rubber cup that fits up there in order to catch the flow and keep it from coming out.
This leads to some problems:
1.) I have to turn the thing upside down to get the flow out. What happens if I spill? Ew.
2.) Say I’m at a party, and I realize it’s time to change. I empty it out…but am I supposed to put the still dirty thing back in? Isn’t that unsanitary? I could carry another one, but then I’d have to carry the dirty one all night…and, at the very least, I’d have to give it a good washing in the sink. I’d prefer to douse it with bleach, but Clorox just doesn’t fit into those classy little purses.
3.) They’re supposed to last 30 years…but then why do they give you more than one or two when you buy them?
…fortunately, my friend gave up, once she realized that I really didn’t like discussing my choice of period-busters. She pushed the environmental position very strongly…I counted by the fact that she eats at McDonalds.
My mother used cloth diapers with all four of us - she has always said that the few times she used disposables (on long trips and the like), we got horrid diaper rash. And I remember using the ones from my younger brother long after he was toilet trained, for dust clothes and the like.
Feminine stuff? I’m all about the disposable. I do use the o.b. ones, but not for any sort of environmental reasons, just 'cause I like them better.
I don’t know of anything else I’m faced with the choice of disposable or reusable. I prefer glass drinking glasses, but from personal preference. I do use paper towels, though I will use a dishcloth for drying - the paper towel is to get a mess up.
There are differing opinions about the disposable/cloth diaper environmental impact. The disposable people say they’re about equal, and the cloth people say the cloth is better. Cloth is also cheaper and better for the skin, so that’s what I do. And yep, they make great rags.
Absolutely disposable diapers!! With my oldest child, we had to use cloth for about 3 months, because of an infection she had. We had a diaper service, but, still, YUCK!!
Disposable feminine products, too. We do use paper towels (with a toddler around, if we didn’t, we’d have to run so much laundry that it wouldn’t be any more environmentally sound. Paper does break down pretty quickly.), but we use real dishes, cups, glasses and eating utensils.
I have to admit I use all the “cleaning wipes”. I am an incredibly lazy housekeeper, and having these things around helps me not to mind the housework so much!
Sorry, but I am an absolute disposable diaper devotee. They actually keep the baby’s bum drier than cloth, and they are easier! I have two kids now and it’s all about “easier!” And my kids have never had a problem with rash.
Besides, I think our last local diaper service folded about two years ago. That’s something from my mom’s day that is no longer available. Don’t get me wrong, I still buy cloth diapers, but I only use them for baby towels and housework!
The CUP?!? Are you fucking kidding me? That is the grossest thing I have ever heard! NinetyWt, don’t even start…
The diapers are probably the LEAST objectionable thing that ends up in a landfill via my family…
I was raised on cloth nappies, and my mother has no regrets whatsoever. Don’t know if they’re still available or not, but she always used special nappy liners to make cleanup easier. They hold the solid stuff away from the fabric, so you can just take the “parcel” and flush it down the toilet. That just left a piece of pissy terry cloth, which was run through the washing machine and hung out on the line to dry. Only time we had disposables was when we were away from home, and didn’t have the use of a washing machine.
Bear in mind that, in the UK, our washing machines have internal heaters, and can bring the water to just under boiling point if so desired. Kills off all the little buggies, and keeps them white. So, in my mother’s case at least, the cloth nappies didn’t create too much work.
Myself, I tend to avoid disposable products where possible, because I object to spending money on something only to use it once and throw it away. The natural exceptions would be things like cotton buds (Q-Tips to you guys) and paper towels used to mop up doggy sick.