*This post has been updated 11/2023
I enjoy living as sustainable as I can. My motto is “It’s better with a lot of little steps, then one big step” because while I try my best, I’m no where near perfect. The last few years I’ve tried finding the best alternatives to the products I grew up with and continued using into adulthood. You know: paper towels, paper plates, plastic wrap, plastic sandwich bags, foil, straws and other disposable items.
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Below you will find the list of things that “Jenkins Party of Six” decided to switch.
They were one of those things that I knew would be hard to part with. I mean, I have chaos running throughout my house at all times. Between needing to clean up spilled milk, juice or any type of liquid that one can imagine, including the golden shower. I knew paper towels would be the last to go. But, I gave it whirl and I am still whirling it out! I came across Seventh generation paper towels and hit the jackpot. They are natural unbleached paper towels that we have used for a few months now and love. Yes, I know we could completely go the terry towel route, but again it’s the little steps.
It’s just something that is supposed to be in your pantry, right? Well, thats what I thought …Nope, wrong. I searched high and low for a good alternative that came from a company that was ethical and I was happy to find Bee’s wrap. It’s made of organic cotton with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin in Vermont. They’re relatively easy to wash. Just use cold water, dish soap and hang to dry. We have them in various sizes ranging from small, medium, large, sandwich and the bread size to wrap up baked bread. The great thing is that they last up to a year and are compostable when they’re unable to be used any longer.
We did the math and we used approximately 60 plastic bags per month minimum. Just from packing lunch and snacks and food storage. Thats a ton of plastic being thrown out. I didn’t have to search very hard for this alternative because when I read reviews nothing compared to the Stasher bags. I bought three just to see if they were worth the hype and I was HOOKED. They’re incredible and we have a total of eight or so now. You can dish wash, microwave, put them in the oven, and on the stovetop in a pot, use them for years. Nothing else that I could find even compared. They have a wide range of sizes and colors and they’re made of silicone vs plastic. We’ve had ours for almost a year now so that means we’ve saved at least 720 Ziploc bags from ending up in the landfill.
This one was the one of the easiest for me to switch out. The hardest thing to remember is to take it with you! We use Simple Modern , which I really enjoy. They come in a variety of colors and sizes to meet, many of your needs. I get ours from Dick’s sporting goods, but I’m certain you can find them at any sporting store or Amazon.
Remembering to bring my reusable bags was the hardest part of making this switch but, when you have bags that preform fantastically they’re easy to remember. I can’t say enough good things about BAGGU bags because they’re simply incredible. You can fold these bags down into their little pouches, which comes in a wide range of patterns and sizes.They hold up to 50 pounds, which means I can stuff my toddler into one, if need be! (This is a full disclaimer, stating that I have absolutely NOT stuffed any of my toddlers in any bag.!). They also come in a variety of sizes and they are all machine washable.
My thoughts were similar to the paper towels – time consuming and messy to switch out. Surprisingly it wasn’t! I purchased the reusable coffee filters from GoldTone and they have worked incredibly for me. When the coffee is done, I dump the coffee grounds, give it a rinse and then throw them in the bin with the reusable cloths so they can all get washed together. We also use a Cafe Du Chateau French press that I love, and is super easy to clean.
I know it’s more things that could be added to our list, but again little steps. These little steps, made by my family will make huge impacts. At the end of the day, do what is best for your family and what makes you ALL thrive.
From your favorite Editor of Chaos,