N.O.W. idea #11: Dispose of One Disposable

If you’re just getting started with Near-O Waste, it can feel overwhelming… I know! But if you make small changes gradually, you’ll get there! If you enjoyed getting rid of paper towels, eliminate another disposable this week. Choose Ziplock bags, Kleenex, Saran wrap, surface wipes, or sponges.

Ziplock bags can be replaced with glass or metal containers. I’ve accumulated a plethora of options in various sizes for school lunches and food storage. I like Wean Green, Glasslock, and especially Life Without Plastic because the lids are also metal and they’re lightweight and nonbreakable. But my favorite containers are repurposed jam jars; they’re perfect for smoothies and snacks.

Kleenex can be replaced with an old T-shirt. Cut one into rectangles the size of standard tissues and store them in something pretty. If you’re thinking it’s gross to rinse a cloth that you blew your nose with, I get it. I used to think the same way. But it’s really not that bad, and chances are -especially if you’re a parent- you’ve touched way worse. (Guests can use toilet paper if they’d rather.)


Saran wrap can be replaced with Bee’s Wrap, a plate, or a storage container. Bee’s Wrap is pretty awesome. It’s great for covering bowls and wrapping food, but it’s kind of a pain to wash and it doesn’t last forever. I cover bowls of salad (or watermelon!) with a dinner plate and use smaller plates for things like unfinished oatmeal. Alternatively, you could store leftovers in a lidded container or a jar.


Surface wipes can be replaced with homemade wipes or cloth napkinsAnd as a bonus, you’ll be cleaning your house without chemicals.

My boys with a fresh batch of homemade wipes.
Sponges can be replaced with washcloths. I was so happy when we finally used our last sponge from Costco. Now we use washcloths that my mom knitted to wash our dishes. After each use, I rinse it and squeeze out the water. Then I hang it on a nail above the sink to air out. Our washcloths never get smelly. And when it’s time for a new one, I toss the used one (pre-rinsed in the kitchen sink) into the washer.


So which disposable will you replace with a reusable? Or will you try them all?! Donate your remaining Ziplocks, Kleenex, plastic wrap, surface wipes, and/or sponges to a good cause and embrace your new reusables with pride!