I was doing laundry the other day and became curious about what my dryer sheets are actually made of — are they fabric? are they biodegradable or compostable? are they recyclable? They just felt very… wasteful. And that’s not the only thing in our home that feels wasteful. Here in #mytinybungalow, we focus a lot on ways to reduce waste and have made a few changes, so I wanted to share some of my favorite tips with you guys + I’d love to hear how you reduce waste in your home, too!
1. Dryer Balls
Speaking of dryer sheets… I’ve tried quite a few alternatives to the strangely plastic feeling traditional ones. My absolute favorites are these sheep soft wool dryer balls. I’ve heard that each ball lasts about a year and mine are still going strong a few months later. Aside from reducing waste, I’ve noticed that wool dryer balls help to reduce static and are really good at removing pet hair! Actually, that last bit is my favorite part about using them. When they are all used up, I plan to put them out in the yard for birds to pull bits of wool from to use in their nests.
2. Natural Laundry Detergent
While on the topic of laundry, we use this Method Laundry Detergent. Not only does it smell ingredient (and the scent lasts), but it works really well. We made the switch to natural detergent because I couldn’t stomach the thought of all those chemicals being washed away and potentially contaminating our rivers, lakes, and oceans. I suppose I could make my own detergent at some point, but I haven’t really had time to do that yet.
3. Reusable Food Storage
We’ve made a few changes in our home to reduce waste in the kitchen as well. When we have leftovers, we always store them in leftover glass jars from sauces or large Mason jars (these wide-mouth ones are my favorite). I find it really satisfying to open the fridge and see everything organized nicely in clear jars! Then, instead of reaching for plastic wrap or aluminum foil, we use these reusable mesh bags. They aren’t great for leafy greens, so that’s something to be aware of.
In Seattle, it’s legally required that we compost. At first I wasn’t really stoked about having a container of produce, coffee grounds, and what-have-you on my kitchen counter, but after investing in a good compost bin, it doesn’t bother me at all. The key to composting is investing in a bin that will help fight odors (and taking it outside often). This one is my favorite for many reasons: it doesn’t smell, it’s cute, and it’s really easy to clean out. Now that we have chickens, our compost output has really decreased though! When I’m cooking, if I have any scraps I save them for the chickens as a treat.
5. A Cotton Shower Curtain Liner
One household item that has always struck me as extremely wasteful is a shower curtain liner. Most fabric shower curtains are unlined which essentially means you need a layer of plastic to prevent a flood in your bathroom. Usually, traditional shower curtains are made of vinyl which is insanely bad for the environment, so I’ve started using this thick cotton shower curtain. I’ve layered mine behind my stylish shower curtain and it works just like a traditional shower curtain. It costs a bit more than the cheapy plastic ones, but you’ll have this shower curtain for way longer because you can wash it as needed. The cotton canvas is surprisingly watertight. I’ve also noticed that less mold pops up in my shower because there isn’t a wet plastic thing creating little ecosystems on my tub!
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What other tips do you have for reducing waste in your home? I’d love to hear them!
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