Consumerism is all around us. We're pressured to buy, and often the products we think we need are designed with dependency and repeat purchases in mind. It can be a never-ending cycle of wastefulness if we let it. However, there are several products that have much less wasteful alternatives.
Here are nine products to consider never buying again.
For the most part, air fresheners are largely unnecessary and really only cover up smells. Instead of masking odors, consider trapping them. Use containers filled with baking soda around the home to absorb odors. (Poke holes in any lidded container first.) If you like, you can dress up the containers with a bit of twine, ribbon, or decorative paper. Plain baking soda works well. Or add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for a natural, sweet-smelling boost.
Soap With Microbeads
Found in hand soaps, facial cleaners, moisturizers, and more, microbeads are marketed to us under the idea that they'll help to scrub away grime and gently exfoliate. The truth is they aren't good for our skin, and they're even worse for the environment. The small nature of these microbeads makes them especially hazardous to marine life as they flow from our drains to waterways, where they are impossible to remove. So if you use any of these products, trade them for ones without microbeads. You won't even miss these tiny but harmful pollutants.
Single-Use Mop Pads
Single-use mop pads sound convenient, but at what cost? For the price of a couple of single-use packs, you can purchase a few washable and reusable mop pads. You might have to replace the type of mop you use if your brand doesn't offer reusable pads. But you will save money in the long run, even if you do have to upgrade your entire mop system. And you will be producing much less waste by washing and reusing the pads.
Unless you're on the go and in a hydration pinch, bottled water is a waste of resources and money. Plus, some brands of bottled water can contain harmful chemicals. For a healthier and more environmentally friendly option, invest in a reusable water bottle. There are many size and material options to suit your preferences. And some bottles even have a built-in filtration system to clean water as you're out and about.
Many traditional cleaning products are filled with caustic chemicals. And they can leave residues on the surfaces in your home or even damage them. Not to mention the single-use containers they come in create waste. Making your own cleaning supplies is surprisingly easy and effective. Many DIY household cleaners use basic, inexpensive ingredients, and you can keep them in reusable containers. For example, a common homemade all-purpose cleaner involves a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water plus a few drops of essential oil for a pleasant scent boost.
Sure, disposable diapers may be convenient. But they create a massive amount of waste, and they can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per year. If there's a diaper wearer in your home, consider turning to cloth diapers. Cloth diapers have come a long way in terms of their fit, function, and ease of care. They'll usually cost more upfront than their disposable counterparts, but they'll quickly become the more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly choice as you can wash and reuse them.
Foaming Hand Soap
If you love using foaming hand soap, don't waste your money on the store-bought formulas. Those formulas are mostly water, yet they're similar in price to the other more concentrated soaps. Instead, purchase regular hand soap refills or your favorite liquid castile soap. Then, fill your foaming pump container about 4/5 of the way up with water, and top it off with your soap. Replace the lid, shake it well, and you're ready to wash.
Spice mixes can be quite expensive. Plus, they might contain additives, such as anti-caking agents. And they often come in single-use plastic containers. It's easy and economical to create your own spice mixes by drying herbs and grinding other ingredients. You can keep them in reusable glass containers. And as a bonus, your mixes can be exactly tailored to your taste.
Many store-bought salad dressings are full of unhealthy additives. Plus, they can be pricey and come in single-use plastic containers. Instead, try whipping up your own salad dressing. You might be surprised by how simple it is and how much better the dressings taste when they're fresh. You can use exactly the ingredients you like, make only the amount you need, and store dressing in a reusable glass jar. It all adds up to cost savings and less waste.