Ditch the Disposables Challenge 2010

27 Aug

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!


12 Responses to “Ditch the Disposables Challenge 2010”

  1. Misty August 27, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    If you use aluminum foil and sandwich bags you can wash and reuse in the future. I got made fun of for that one:)

    • Raisin Girl August 27, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

      Lol, I think my mom used to talk about my dad’s mom for actually doing that.

  2. dipwhit August 27, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    Ok….. I Use a refillable (rubbermade) water bottle…. have been using the same bottle for a year now.
    I don’t own a swiffer, Good old fashon broom and mop for us.
    almost 100% of the time we use real plates and silverware…. NEVER STYROFOAM.
    I use phosphate free dish detergent.
    I use (old baby) face rags as wipes…. WHEN AT HOME.
    We use those spiral light bulbs.
    For smaller trips to the store I have my “shopper” (reusable shopping bag)
    I dust with tee shirts that either the boys or Scott are done with….. and I clean the “glass” (windows and mirrors) with set rags too.
    I wrap my gifts in 100% recycled gift wrap or I re-use gift bags given to me.

    things I prolly will never “go green” on……
    1) diapers
    2) tampons/pads

    that’s about it.
    not too bad. =)

    if we could afford a “GREENER” car I would already have one. But my little Nissan Sentra is not exactally a HUMMER! lol

    not so bad.

    • Raisin Girl August 27, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

      So you’ve told me what you do already. What are you going to do now?

      • AT August 28, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

        Are you saying to Dar that by commenting & sharing what she already does for the environment, she needs to promise to do something else? Maybe she just isn’t ready to commit to anything. :)

        I think I will just continue my avoidance of using paper towels (although I know I won’t be able to convince R of the same), and just try to reduce it even further. I use a paper towel as a napkin during a messy meal, so I may start using a kitchen rag as a napkin instead.

        I may find another old shirt to cut up to add to the variety. Also cut up some really tiny sizes, because sometimes I will only have spilled a DROP of something and can’t justify dirtying a rag just to wipe that up. I think having lots of teeny tiny rags will alleviate that temptation!

        I’m actually kind of interested in the CTP thing. But I wouldn’t wanna just cut up old shirts for that, I’d want a cloth I know would be nice and gentle on sensitive bootyskin. I may look into what the best kind of cloth would be & consider buying some fabric to cut up…. or I’m sure there’s some hippie out there by now selling reusable adult buttwipes. Of course depending on the cost of either fabric or wipes, this may have to wait until our income problems lessen. Unless I find out that T-shirt material would be good. (I don’t own many bath rags; I’m a loofah girl.)

        Also, if I can ever buy a reusable menstrual cup at the same cost as a box of tampons, then I’ll try it. (I have very little “yuck” factor, obviously.) Or of course, my income would have to improve dramatically. (Maybe by the time I actually have another period, it will have!)

      • Raisin Girl August 28, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

        Yeah, I kinda am saying that to Dar. I do think it’s beneficial to everyone to share what she (or anyone else) already does, but I don’t think she does enough. None of us do “enough” for the planet, and that’s the point of the challenge! I can’t afford a hybrid car, I can’t walk everywhere I go in rural MS, we have no public transit, I can’t afford a Kindle, I’m not prepared to give up plastic bags, I *SMOKE* – there’s lots of steps I’m not ready or able to take! Unless we plan on moving to communes, growing our own food, and giving up electricity, etc, we’ll never get to the point where we do enough!

        However, the point is to try and get everyone to examine their lives and find *something* they can try to change for just two months in order to make an environmental impact. If it’s too inconvenient, switch back. You still made a difference! Hopefully by that time it will be second nature and the impact will be even bigger because you’ll keep doing it. I’m not saying this has to be huge. Maybe just “I’m going to start refusing ketchup packets and napkins when my family gets fast food.” But to say that you already do enough and are unwilling to attempt anything different is a complacent attitude, and yes I am saying that she – and the other 150 people who have read this blog and not even contributed so much as a comment – should attempt.

        I know I’m being pushy and demanding, but I’m being honest and encouraging as well. I’m very happy Dar is doing what she is, but I do think there are other things she can and should do. I’m not going to lie to her and just say “Oh well that’s great, you’re doing plenty, don’t worry about it!” when I really feel that none of us are incapable to make any further positive changes. Nothing is too small! The point of the challenge is to try anything, and I’m absolutely going to be a pushy demanding butthole until everyone who reads this makes some small change!

        No offense intended, least of all to one of my favorite readers!

  3. Angela August 29, 2010 at 3:51 am #

    I’m already using hankies *I have allergies and usually need to blow my nose, tissues make it worse. I don’t use batteries much but I have to remember to NOT BUY disposables AT ALL. I rarely use paper towels so that I have to make more regular. I’m living with other people who aren’t as environmentally concerned as I am but I will try to encourage them to veer away from disposables. I bought a menstrual cup but I’m still adjusting to it (have only used it twice), so I still use backup disposable pads. On the upside, I only used 5 sanitary pads for the entirety of my cycle this month. It’ll be a while till I’m able to buy cloth pads but I’ll be getting my cloth pantyliners in November (long story, but shipping isn’t too reliable where I’m at so I have to wait for my sister to bring them to me).

    For the challenge, I’m going to ditch the poo (I’ve been doing it for 3 days and it’s a bit itchy, but I will ignore it and do my best to clean without the poo)…. and switch to cloth wipes for #1 EVEN when I go out :P Right now, I use water from a bidet to clean myself and then wipe with an old face towel when I’m at home.

    I’m in Vietnam right now and it’s really difficult to get reusable stuff here, they wrap purchases in 2 or 3 plastic bags and use disposable chopsticks and wet wipes for most meals. I get really weird looks when I use my reusable bags for shopping (dry goods only) or get asked questions I can’t answer because I don’t speak Vietnamese.

    • Raisin Girl August 29, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

      Wow, I’m so glad you found my blog! How interesting, living in Vietnam and not speaking the language. You sound American… I don’t know if you’re there for work or school or what, but that must be such an awesome cultural experience!

      WAY TO GO on ditching the toilet paper even when you go out! I have thought about that as well, how to go about it, and I figure I’m going to get this part down first and then add that aspect to my list of steps I will be taking next (after these two months). I already have quite a list of the next steps I want to take, so I really hope everything I’ve committed to goes as well as planned.

      I’m interested to know what you think of ditching the ‘poo. I am not looking forward to the transition period myself.

      Good luck adjusting to your menstrual cup. It only took me about 2 menstrual cycles of adjustment time on mine before I got the hang of inserting it and knowing when I needed to dump it, etc. I found it to be really comfortable compared to tampon use. I’d like to get myself some of the pads too, because on light days it seems so silly to wear the cup for a flow that’s next to nothing, but I can’t go with nothing at all.

      Anyway, nice to meet you Angela! Thanks for commenting. Please stop by and check in with us, let us know how you’re doing with the challenge!

      • Angela August 29, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

        Actually, I’m from the Philippines. Filipino is my native language but I’ve almost always been bilingual. Been working here for about 2 years. It’s pretty near my home country but there are a lot of differences culturally so it’s still quite an experience.

        Haha, was a bit overwhelmed by your list. I don’t think I can make quite that many changes (and remember them all) at the same time. It’s both easy and difficult for me to go green—easy because I’m familiar with the concept and have been doing some of it already BUT difficult because I don’t have a support group here and I don’t make the household decisions because I’m just staying here temporarily.

        I actually started ditching the ‘poo about 4 days ago. I’m still cheating a bit by using conditioner but until I find baking soda and ACV (yep, a lot of things aren’t readily available here), I’ll be using warm water and/or lime/lemon juice as shampoo and then a bit of conditioner. My hair is a bit greasy but I’m nervous about totally letting go of conditioner because my hair tends to be a bit poofy without it.

        Thanks for the warm welcome. Will be stopping by now and then for updates. :D Good luck to everyone!

  4. dipwhit September 1, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    No offense taken AT ALL. You’re rightwe can all do more. Baby steps….. I am more of an “esae my way into change” kinda girl…. I am happy you posted this. This blog got me thinking about the “more” I could be doing….. If anything that is doing something. lol. And I have been thinking about it with the t.v. off…. =)

  5. Angela September 3, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    only on my 9th day of no ‘poo, I’m getting better results… sometimes it’s a bit itchy, I hope I’m not allergic to it. my sister has offered to bring me organic shampoo next time she visits but I want to do this for 2 months before I decide anything else. after all, that’s one less plastic bottle.
    read about my no ‘poo update


  1. You’ll tell me if I stink, right? | When someone says "TMI!" I want to punch them in the face and not tell them why. - August 27, 2010

    […] When someone says "TMI!" I want to punch them in the face and not tell them why. TMI is my middle name. Skip to content HomeEven MORE information ← Ditch the Disposables Challenge 2010 […]

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