Between the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, micro-plastics in the lakes (and in our food supply), global warming, rising sea levels, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The problem seems too big for one little person to make a difference. But that’s the thing. We’re not just one little person. If everyone makes a few small – and large – changes, then it can really add up! Sometimes it seems like environmentally friendly products cost a lot more than the usual ones. But often the eco-friendly options are cheaper in the long run, because they last. This saves you money over time.
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Air drying your clothes outside not only saves you money in so many ways! You’re not running the dryer, which saves electricity. By not running the dryer as often, you’re extending the life of your dryer too. In addition, you extend the life of your clothes by air drying them.
I have 3 of these retractable outdoor clotheslines to do laundry for my family of 6, and I love them. The clothes smell fresh and clean, and no static cling either. The line retracts fully into the body when you’re not using it, keeping it out of the way of backyard games.
If you’re getting a clothesline, don’t forget these nice wooden clothespins, to go with it. This 100-pack will be enough for years.
Reusable Sandwich Bags
We love these reusable sandwich bags from Lunchskins. With four kids, we go through a lot of school lunches in a week! They’re easy to wash, by hand, in the washer, or the dishwasher. We prefer the Velco closure, which is particularly easy for smaller hands, but they also have a zipper style if that’s your preference. They can replace 500 plastic bags over their lifetime! And they’re toxin-free.
Mesh Drawstring Bags
I love my mesh drawstring bags from Lavinrose, that I picked up in 2019. They’re perfect for grocery store produce, and scanners can read the UPC codes right through the mesh. They replace all those flimsy plastic bags, and they’re BPA-free. They’re durable and washable too. Find other uses for them, such as corralling small toys, holding your wooden clothespins, or cleaning your delicates in the washing machine. They’re easy to see what’s inside, and the tare weight is right on the label, so you’re not paying for the small extra weight of the bag itself. The multipack shown has 3 different sizes.
My family has been using cloth napkins for over 20 years, and they literally last forever. For my family of 6, that’s over 100,000 paper serviettes not thrown in the trash! PRO TIP! Don’t buy white or other light colours, especially if you have children. Pick a dark colour, or a nice pattern, to disguise any minor stains that are sure to happen over the years.
I love these multi-toned ones! They’re a generous 18×18 inches, and 100% cotton. With a design to hide subtle stains.
When you reuse a napkin for more than one meal, you need to be able to tell whose napkin is whose. Pick up a variety pack of napkin rings, like this gorgeous wooden animal set with six different designs. They’re fair trade and artisan made from Kenya.
I think by this point, everyone has a drawer or shelf full of reusable water bottles and travel mugs. Anytime we can avoid drinking from plastic disposable bottles, that’s one less in the environment.
Reusable shopping bags are ubiquitous too. I have a bin full of them by the back door, and they always seem to be overflowing. Some higher-end retailers are selling products in reusable bags, so the collection just grows.
Replace paper towels with rags for most purposes. Whenever you buy a new set of kitchen towels, the old ones can become rags. (Write “RAG” on it in black Sharpie if your family can’t tell the rags from the new towels.) Old t-shirts that are not good enough for donation also make great rags.
What are your favourite ways to save money with eco-friendly products? Please share in the comments!
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No lie: the ability to have a clothesline is one thing I look forward to about eventually owning a house. There’s just something about the feel of clothes that have been dried on a line outside…I love it so much.
Have recently been working on swapping plastic sandwich bags for reusables. We’ve been buying ours through Colibri Canada on the recommendation of a friend. Mesh drawstring bags are totally on my list of things to purchase in the near future, too.
The biggest eco-friendly swap I’ve made over the last few years is transitioning from disposable feminine hygiene products to reusables. The DivaCup was the first purchase, but I also bought some reusable cloth pads from Aisle (previously known as Luna Pads) and I am seriously obsessed with them. They can be pricey so I’ve been building my stash slowly but I can’t say enough good things about them! Highly recommend.
Love these ideas! I’m trying also to incorporate reusable items instead of disposable. We still use the plastic sandwich bags for putting small items in the fridge but I do rewash them many times. I like the baggies you use – I saw some on that same Amazon site with a zipper. As retirees we don’t do sandwich lunches anymore. Lol – And I am looking into cloth napkins also. So thank you for your helpful suggestions.