Crunchy Domestic Goddess has had a challenge for the past two years, asking everyone who will participate to find at least one or two disposable items you use regularly and give them up for the months of September and August. I noticed they posted the challenge on September 2nd last year. I want to get on it earlier than that! Not to hijack their idea (click their link if you like, they should take full credit!), but I’m pretty sure that they won’t mind, considering we’re talking about saving the planet here, not upping our blog stats.
This will be difficult for me. I was a tomboy as a child – always had dirty fingernails, played with the boys, dirt bikes and hot wheels and climbing trees and playing in mud, sleeping on the ground with the dogs and building forts – but somewhere along the way I became a real girly girl. Maybe it started with adolescent hormones or just being awed by how makeup could transform my face, but I’m now 30 years old and I love pedicures (when I can afford them, which is hardly ever) and nice, minty-smelling shampoos and soaps, going to the tanning bed (please stfu), dressing up, wearing heels, and I won’t even go buy bread without a full face of makeup on. I am what some might call high-maintenance.
When it comes to beauty, I use all kinds of facial cleansers and moisturizers, creams and toners, masks and scrubs. I use lotions on my body and love smell-goods in the shower. I buy nice shampoo – no cheap crap. I don’t pay Marci $200 a pop to have my hair cut and colored just to turn around and lather it up with $1 Suave junk. I want my locks clean, nice-smelling, and healthy. I love my hair. My hair and my eyes are my favorite things about myself, strictly aesthetically speaking.
So some of this is tough stuff, but there are things that I care about more than primping and smelling like Halle Berry. I care about the environment. I care about my kids, and thus want them to have nice, long lives on a thriving planet. So I’m willing to make some changes. I’m sure you’d agree. So let’s all pick at least one thing we can give up for the next two months. I’d hope everyone would set their goal for two things, but hey, baby steps. Crunchy Domestic Goddess offered this list of suggestions, but if you think of something you can do that’s not on it, tell me! (Psst, I added a few suggestions of my own and I checked all the links, changed a couple, and added a few, but this list was written by Crunchy Domestic Goddess, whose link can again be found at the end of the list.)
You can make the switch from:
- Paper napkins to cloth napkins
- Paper towels to cloth towels or something like Skoy cloths
- Tissues to handkerchiefs
- Paper, plastic or Styrofoam plates to your kitchen plates
- Disposable utensils to regular silverware
- If you order food “to go” or have food to take home from a restaurant, bring your own container rather than accepting Styrofoam or plastic
- Inexpensive plastic “Take & Toss” sippy cups to Thermos bottles or the Klean Kanteen
- Disposable water bottles to (again) reusable bottles like Thermos or Klean Kanteen
- Plastic sandwich bags or paper lunch bags to reusable containers/bags
- Plastic straws to glass or stainless steel straws
- Swiffers (or similar products) to a broom and dustpan or mop (or use reusable cloths like cloth diapers/terry inserts in your Swiffer)
- Disposable dust rags to cloth rags
- Disposable diapers to cloth diapers
- Disposable wipes to cloth wipes (inexpensive plain washcloths work really well)
- Disposable feminine products (tampons, pads) to reusables like DivaCup, MoonCup/The Keeper, Glad Rags, Luna Pads, Pretty Pads, or New Moon Pads, among others. You can even make your own pads.
- Grocery store bags to reusable bags
- Disposable wrapping paper or gift bags to reusable cloth gift bags [Or use other non-conventional wrapping that you or someone you know has purchased previously, like newspaper. - Brandi]
- Single-use batteries to rechargeable batteries
- Store-bought facial cleansers to homemade cleansers or the Oil Cleansing Method
- Ditch the ‘poo! (Shampoo that is)
- Make your own laundry detergent
- Make your own deodorant
Or, for the really crazy dedicated:
Most of you know that I ditched tampons and pads years ago in favor of The Keeper. I did so for several reasons. First of all, as a feminist, I do not like giving my hard-earned money to men who sell me things to bleed onto. I don’t like paying to bleed at all, but damn sure not to someone who never has had to use their own damn product. Also, I really, really dig my vagina. We’re pals. Besties even. So I do not like sticking things in or around her that have been bleached or treated with chemicals to smell like “fresh scent” which is a fucking joke anyway. I know someone who almost died from Toxic Shock Syndrome, associated with tampon use, so there’s another reason. And it saved a massive amount of money to never have to buy “feminine hygiene” products again. But the main reason I made the switch was thinking about, actually visualizing, all those tampons and pads in landfills. I figured if I could give it a shot and just take a chance on it, even if I decided it wasn’t for me, I would have lost nothing… but if I tried it and liked it, I had saved the planet from a whole lot of waste. If anyone had told me how much more convenient and comfortable it would have been to switch, I would have done it years before!
Initially when I heard about The Keeper I was grossed out and thought the girl a friend described as a user of such a product was just some crazy hippie, and no way would I ever try something so nasty. Since my amazingly positive experience with it, I rule out nothing. That’s why I will be posting a blog later detailing exactly what I am going to give up for the next two months, and how I’ll go about it. PLEASE, if you are going to take the challenge, leave a comment telling me what you are ditching! I’d like to know if this post had any impact. If you convince someone else to ditch a disposable, let me know. NO EFFORT IS TOO SMALL TO COUNT! And think of it this way – you are just going to give it a shot. If you don’t like it, just try to push through for TWO MONTHS. You lose NOTHING… but the Earth gains so much, from every day that we try. Let’s support one another and share our ideas!