Earth Day – Everyday Things to Replace with Reusables

Activities for kids green livingDisposables are attractive and convenient. But are they indispensible? We tried weaning ourselves off certain disposables and found it to be surprisingly easy. Its just that habits have become so ingrained that any break from them seem more difficult than it really is. Re-usables can be cheaper, healthier and they are certainly greener! So take a pledge to go one month using more re-usables – you dont need to commit to a lifetime just yet. Give yourself a month and see at the end of it if you want to keep doing it at the end of it. The list below has mainly kid related ideas because we think the more kids do environmentally friendly things on a daily basis, the values seep in indirectly.

Have you replaced something with reusables? We would love to know! Please add to the list below.

 Here they are:

  1. Paper Towels – Cloth kitchen towels work great. Even if you are not ready to give up on paper towels yet try using cloth towels for some of the messes, and then wash it off at the highest temperature allowed. They may not always keep looking pristine, but you can always keep some ‘working towels’ and some decorative ones.
  2. Kids Party Glasses – Instead of paper or plastic cups, use dishwasher safe colorful re-usable cups. They look prettier and classier and work great for parties.
  3. Napkins in Kids Lunches – Using cloth napkins for kids lunches work very well. Yes, you will need to add them to laundry every day, but dont you do enough laundry already? Whats a napkin when you do such a big load anyway!
  4. Plastic Bags For Kids Lunches – This is difficult. For those who dont like to do dishes, throwing a bunch of fruits or vegetables in a zippered bag is quick and easy. But using a lunch box with compartments, like some of the bento boxes, actually work well, save money and do well for our environment.
  5. Water Bottles in Cars –Use a re-usable water bottle. You may find some good ones in  your local Target or a store like that, maybe in the childrens lunch section.  It is convenient to pull out one of the bottled waters and throw it in the cup holder, but it only takes a few minutes more to fill a re-usable bottle, and it may turn out being cheaper, healthier and certainly greener.


Do let us know what your ideas are on easy things to replace with re-usables. Do you think we can reach a list of 20 everyday things to replace with re-usables?

Read about how green habits get formed and lost here in Rajvi’s post on ‘Reduce, re-use, recylce’.

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  1. Munny

    I have switched from disposable straws to steel straws for my toddler son …pain to wash these straws….but definitely worth the “environmental” effort!

  2. Indrani

    Plastic bags from the grocery stores can be re-used for garbage bags.

  3. Mona

    i try to collect the small and large yogurt cups/containers, all soup or sauce cans and such small things that we tend to throw away….they come in handy for all the recycling projects that my sons indulge in school and even for making crafts at home.

  4. Becca

    I use tupperware for my baby’s food instead of purchasing throwaway containers or jars. I also use and re-use plastic bags from the grocery store for lunch sacks for my husband and I for work or my daughter’s daycare items. I am having a REAL hard time giving up paper towels though 🙁

  5. Becca, yes, paper towels is very hard. Start small in replacing…maybe get some really old towels that you can cut up and just put in the wash (that you wont be worried about staining) and use those for some spills. Any reduction counts. I like the tupperware idea!

  6. Una

    First, I love finding these kind of earth-friendly posts on the internet, whether it is Earth Day, or any other day of the year. It is encouraging to know there are other like-minded moms who are conscientious about our “bigger home”. 
    The cool thing about replacing everyday things with reusables is that not only does the earth benefit from our simple efforts, but so do our home environments, our families and ourselves. We really can’t go wrong.
    One thing I really like doing to contribute towards recycling is as old as moms and popsicles. Along with the ideas that Mona contributed above, I also like reusing popsicle sticks, old newspapers and magazines (for those of us who still subscribe to such) or used office paper for craft projects.
    Another thing my husband and I have taken up is riding our bikes, with our little girl in tow, to our small neighborhood organic grocer. While our baby is not yet old enough to ride, my husband and I are getting in the habit ourselves so when she is ready, she can ride with us on her own bike. 
    My desire is to provide my child with a healthy, earth-friendly role model. Having my family be a biking family provides us the opportunity to get good exercise, minimize gas use and pollute less. Also, my hope is that my daughter will learn to appreciate the idea of supporting local businesses and eating locally grown food.

  7. j

    Cloth napkins are expensive and sometimes hard to find. Target had a large pack for a decent price. Later I purchased some inexpensive washcloths. They work just as well. I hardly ever buy paper towels or napkins anymore. Also, I reused glass pasta sauce jars with ounce markings to mix-up formula after my daughter weaned herself from nursing. It worked great.

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