There’s a lot these days being put on the “don’t buy list”, “eco-friendly list”, “recycle list”. It gets so overwhelming on what to buy, what not to buy, what’s environmentally friendly, what’s reusable and what’s not. It gets super frustrating. We all want to do better, but we have to make a conscious effort to do so. Well, that takes some planning – doesn’t it.
We’re going to share with you some reuseables that we actually use here on the farm. There’s a variety of reasons that we reuse some of the things that we do. Some things just make sense to reuse. A handful of items save us money by reusing them. While others, create less waste for the farm.
What are our top 10 reusable items on the farm?
- Mason Jars – we literally use these for EVERYTHING! We’ve been known to use them as drinking glasses, measuring cups, button holders, pen holders, food storage, food preservation, shaker cups, heck we’ve even eaten out of them. This is our #1 reusable on the farm – without a doubt.
- Coffee Filters – Around here there is coffee ready all day long. We love our coffee, that’s just how it is. If I had to guess, we probably make close to 9 pots of coffee on any given day. When you think about it, that’s a lot of coffee filters to go through. Yeah, they’re cheap like 6 billion for $2. But, why? I can dump our spent grounds right over to the compost bucket and be done.
- Cooking Spray – Ok, the spray isn’t actually reusable. But, how we spray it is. We use a refillable spray bottle. Don’t just use any old Dollar Store spray bottle (trust me!), you need one that is designed to spray oils. Save yourself the headache, spend the extra $6. This actually saves me money as a reusable. I’m going to buy oil and so are you. But, you don’t have to buy both cooking spray and oil.
- Buckets – I would have to say that buckets get used nearly as much as mason jars around here. We have buckets for everything. Buckets for critter water, buckets for critter food, buckets for compost. Buckets for measuring (3 buckets of compost top off a bed for planting), buckets for harvesting, buckets for carrying tools and supplies, buckets for hauling buckets…it happens.
- Travel Mugs and Water Bottles – These get lumped together for obvious reasons. When we go into town (which is a minimum of 30 miles away), I like to take my coffee with me. This also lets me refill my cup without using a disposable (sometimes it’s cheaper too). The water bottle I like to use has a sippy straw (I’m less likely to spill it all over myself this way). I can also clip it to my britches while I’m out in the gardens. This one is a no-brainer to me.
- Dishcloths/Washable Sponges – If you know me – I HATE washing dishes. Like for real! But, it has to be done…unfortunately. This reusable is also a no-brainer. Using washable sponges or “unsponges” or an old fashioned dishcloth is seemingly logical. Look on Etsy (or clink the link above) for some super cute unsponges. Save money, have cute stuff, support a small business, have a reusable all in one transaction – DUH.
- Unpaper Towels – This is kind of a big one here. We did some math a while back and we literally threw away nearly $250 a year – on what? Paper towels! So, I went to work creating our own unpaper towels. There’s even an instructable post on how to make your own. Not only did this idea save us money, there’s little waste and we just throw them in the washer with our other towels when they get dirty.
- Makeup Removers – While I personally don’t wear makeup very often, my daughter does. Instead of her ruining our washcloths with her funky face stuff. I made her reusable makeup removers. Same concept as the unpaper towels. Use it, wash it, reuse it. She discovered that by using the makeup removers, she was also using less of her expensive face wash. Ding Ding Ding – I see savings.
- Wool Dryer Balls – What in the world is a dryer ball? Well, it’s a wonderful thing to have when your doing laundry (at least for those of you that use your dryer). The majority of our clothes go out on the clothes line or hang to dry. The dryer is hard on your clothes and we NEED ours to last as long as possible. That said, I do like to dry my sheets and towels. Dryer balls work similar to a dryer sheet. They soften fabrics, remove static and make your stuff smell good (if you remember to put essential oils on them). Definitely environmentally friendly, reusable and saves money on the expensive fabric softeners and chemical laden dryer sheets.
- Shopping Bags – I will admit that I don’t use these as much as I should. Something I should work on more this year. We do however use these recycled grain bags for more than just shopping. I have one specifically for when I travel (it counts as my carry-on bag) and I shove all kinds of stuff in it. I have one for my crochet projects that I’m currently working on. One for seeding day up in the poop-house (green house). We do use them A LOT, but usually not for shopping.
Making the switch to reusables…
It’s not hard. It’s simple things everyday. The biggest thing is a conscious choice every single day. Will you or won’t you? That’s really what it boils down to. Something that I mentioned can seem super expensive at first. But, when you look at the overall picture a one time purchase of unpaper towel for $50 is still saving you $200 over the first year and then at least $250 each year after that.
What’s something on our list that you would be willing to use as a reusable?