Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ditching the Disposables Challenge: Upping the Ante

Two weeks ago I signed up for a little challenge over at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. All I had to do was pick a disposable that I wanted to ditch and replace it with something reusable. Crunchy is hard-core and she's given up disposable menstrual products. I'm not so brave and went with something a little less radical. Since I've been lazily using paper plates, reasoning that I won't have to wash so many dishes, I decided to ditch my paper plate habit for two months. How much washing could I really be saving, anyway? I'm estimating maybe 11 plates a week at the most, and that's if I eat dinner at home every night and three meals at home on the weekends.

I've managed to go two weeks without using a single paper plate, at home or at work. In fact, it's been pretty easy, and now I'm beginning to think I was a little lazy with my choice for the challenge. My first thought when I heard about the challenge was to give up paper towels. I dismissed that thought quickly, because...well, I use a lot of paper towels and napkins, at home and at work. I couldn't imagine NOT using them. At work they're the only option for drying my hands in the bathroom, and honestly, if there were other options I'm not sure I'd use them for sanitary reasons. But they're not really necessary when I eat lunch or wipe up a mess on the counter. They're just more convenient. I could probably switch to cloth towels or napkins. My only excuse is that I'm a messy person and I'd be doing a lot more laundry (not to mention having to buy more towels and cloth napkins).

Of course, just like the paper plates, I think once I make that switch I'll realize its not as bad as I thought it would be. So I'm pushing myself a bit more this week and I'm committing to getting rid of the paper towels and napkins everywhere but the bathroom at work. And maybe one day I'll be brave enough to try getting rid of toilet paper like some of the other challenge participants.

7 comments:

Crunchy Domestic Goddess said...

good for you for upping the ante and trying something else. :) i might do that myself as the challenge continues on. it's kind of fun to push yourself like this. ;)

btw, love your new header.

MommyK said...

We rarely use paper plates, but it's because I'm too lazy to go to the store and buy more!

Ami said...

Crunchy - I bought some cloth napkins on clearance and a few extra organic cotton dish towels. I might try making my own napkins eventually, but if I was going to give up the paper towels I had to get something for now. We'll see how it goes...

MommyK - I have a huge stack of them if you're interested. :)

nicole viola said...

Very cool! I've basically given up (at home) paper plates, napkins & paper towels... I keep 1 roll of recycled paper towels for just in case but otherwise, I've been pleasantly surprised with how doable it is to go without those disposable products. Especially the napkins... cloth is so easy, and cuter & softer too!

Melissa Marsh said...

What a great challenge! We rarely use paper plates, but we do use a lot of paper towels, something that we need to re-think.

I don't think I could ever give up toilet paper, though. ;-)

Condo Blues said...

I've been using cloth napkins since last December. Luckily I already had a bunch of them (8)that matched my everyday table cloths. I find that by having more napkins that I need per person per meal in my house (there's only 2 of us) helps stretch the keep a- matching-tablecloth-and-napkins-for-a-week stragety a reality.

Ami said...

Nicole Viola - It is surprisingly doable! I even convinced My Love that I was out of paper towels last night and he'd have to make do with a cloth napkin. :) And they ARE much prettier than those paper things.

Melissa - I don't think I'll ever give up TP either, but if that's the only disposable I'm using it will be a HUGE success considering how many disposables I'm realizing I use on a regular basis. I thought I was "pretty green" until I started this challenge and started paying attention to the number of disposable products I was using.

condo blues - Since I don't have a dining table and eat in the living room, matching wasn't a big deal when I got my napkins. Now I'll have to match my table cloths to the ones I got when I finally do get that table. :)

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