Ditch the Disposables Challenge 2009

Ditch the Disposables ChallengeIt’s been one year since the first Ditch the Disposables Challenge on Crunchy Domestic Goddess which, with nearly 150 participants, was a big success. Let’s do it again and see if we can get 200 participants this time around! For two months, September and October, I’m challenging you to Ditch the Disposables!

We live in a society of convenience, where throw-away products are the norm rather than the exception. But all of the disposable products take resources and energy to produce and then, of course, get thrown away, filling up our landfills. All of this is bad news for the environment.

If you’d like to participate in this challenge, please select one or two (or more! – this can be as challenging as you want it to be) of your disposable products to ditch*, then leave a comment saying which disposable product(s) you will leave behind for two months in favor of an environmentally-friendly reusable product. I will create a list in the sidebar linking to everyone’s blog. Of course, you don’t have to have a blog to participate. I realize that many of you probably are already living without some (many?) of these disposable products, but certainly nearly all of us can find at least one NEW thing we can give up in favor of something better for the earth. If you honestly don’t use a single disposable product, leave me a comment too and I’ll still include you in the challenge and link back to you. :)

Here are some ideas to get you started…

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 or Camelbak bottles or the Klean Kanteen
  • Disposable water bottles to (again) reusable bottles like Thermos, Klean Kanteen or Camelbak
  • 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, 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
  • Single-use batteries to rechargeable batteries

Or, for the really crazy dedicated:

  • Toilet paper to cloth wipes/washcloths (for #1 or #2 too if you are really, really adventurous)

Please feel free to spread the word about the challenge on your blog by adding the button linking back to this post. If you have other ideas for disposable products people can ditch, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list. Thanks and good luck!

I’ll host a few check in posts (every other Sunday if I can remember) throughout the two months so everyone can stop by and say how they are doing, and offer support and/or tips to others as well. Together we can Ditch the Disposables!
*When I say “ditch,” please know that I don’t mean throw them away. I want you to try making a lifestyle change from a disposable product you use regularly. If you want to save your disposables until the challenge is over, that’s your prerogative. You might also consider Freecycling them or donating them to a local charitable organization. I do suggest that whichever product(s) you choose to give up, you pack away until the challenge is over, lest you be tempted to use it/them.

Also, I WILL have a few giveaways along the way to help you out with this challenge. Stay tuned! :)

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161 thoughts on “Ditch the Disposables Challenge 2009

  1. I wish I’d found this during the challenge…it has, however, inspired me to get a package of hankies. :-)

    I already have some cloth pads (Party in my Pants–great stuff!), and I don’t use paper towels, although that’s mostly because I don’t have a convenient way of getting any (they don’t have them at the campus convenience store).

    Cloth toilet paper? Someday. Someday I shall do that. But not while I’m in a dorm that has free toilet paper. :-)

    Now, if someone could just invent a reuseable Q-tip, I’d be all set…

  2. I am with Katie, I wish I had found this during the challenge, but then again, would I have been ready for it a year ago? I already do just about everything on the list and have for a few years now with the exception of handkerchiefs and ‘family cloth’ – though both make total sense to me. Not sure if DH will commit to the latter and re-training the kids might be a challenge in and of itself, but I am certainly willing to try it for myself and had thought about it before but filed it away as being “too extreme”. Since we have a baby coming soon and I will cloth diaper/wipe our new arrival, I think I can successfully incorporated this new challenge into our family lifestyle. I spent a bit yesterday cutting up old receiving blankets for use with the baby, I could certainly cut some more for family use. Not sure about doing #2 yet, but certainly down with #1.
    Thanks for the motivation!

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  5. I NEVER USE DISPOSABLES! Forget the months… the only tissue I have in this home is for the toilet. We use cloth towels, cloth napkins, cloth nose tissues and cloth diapers. I also make my own laundry detergent, which is super easy – the most environmental – and CHEAP!

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  9. I hope I am not too late to “save the world” – I will gladly give up paper plates/cups and disposible utensils at home, with my g-children – to show them how to clean up their plates and their world at the same time…and later, show them how to do the dishes…lol!

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