For some reason, at some point, we were convinced that buying something to use and throw away was more convenient than buying the same thing once, taking care of it, and reusing it for years. Everything suddenly became disposable, but we have unfortunately discovered that all of the garbage these convenience products produce is destroying the planet. And, that is not disposable. We have to keep this thing clean because it’s a one-time purchase, nonrefundable.
In other words, it’s time we redefine this funny notion of convenient or practical or advantageous, realizing that what disposable really is is wasteful, heart-wrenchingly so when we consider of the time and energy spent to make them, distribute them, and dispose of them. Plus, these items are ultimately more expensive for consumers, who are now constantly having to buy more disposables to replace the old ones.
We need to get back to long-lasting, reusable things that save us money, save the planet, and ultimately save us time because we don’t have to run to the store to get some more whatever we just used the last of.
Not only are razors disposable now, but there also seems to be this very unhealthy fascination with adding more blades to them. One blade, which could be replaced when dull, used to do the trick, but now it seems a shave requires, at least, four or five blades at a time. Then, we toss all of those away, often along with the razor itself. It makes no sense. Granted some razors are sort semi-disposable and have replaceable heads (and kudos to those who use those), but these cheap plastic toss-aways are ridiculous. Go in for a good razor for a good reason.
(Just a heads-up: Razor blades can be sharpened using blue jeans. Give it a shot.)
2. Plates and Cutlery
Washing dishes is not fun, understandable. But, is it really so difficult to wash twenty forks after a party, or thirty-three spoons after a homemade coconut ice cream party. Even for someone without a dishwasher, cleaning a few spoons, a few bowls, plates … these items are the easy stuff anyway. It’s all the pots and pans that are hard work. Plus, a decent disposable plate or fork costs too much to just toss them away, so most of us end up washing them to reuse anyway. Just buy quality stuff one time and look like a class act for years to come.
3. To-Go Cups and Water Bottles
The world has become significantly more parched than it used to be. Why back in the day, people managed to get from point A to B to C and D without a take-out cup of coffee or bottle of water. They were actually able to arrive somewhere then get something to drink. But, who wants to go back to the Paleolithic practices? Keep getting things to go, keep carrying water at the ready, just do it with something that doesn’t require making trash. It’ll save some trips to the recycle bin, and the financial windfall will be astounding as well.
Once again, no one can argue with the fact that dealing with a dirty diaper is not exactly a spring breeze on a stroll through the park. It’s dirty and stinky, and the fact of the matter is that, disposable or not, it still has to be changed, the parcel handled, and the baby’s bottom cleaned. In other words, we are elbow-deep in it anyway. Disposable diapers clog up our dumps with their dumps, and we then have to dump a bum-load of money to get the next round. How did we manage to get talked into this method in the first place?
Double-A, Triple-A and on the list goes, we use up batteries to run remote controls, flashlights, cameras, toys and whatever nifty portable gadgets we’ve recently gotten into. They are horrible for the environment, so much so that they require their own disposal system, which lots of people often disregard (for the convenience). Plus, batteries are crazy expensive. While it’s a little more up front, a charger and rechargeable batteries will last for several uses, paying for themselves many times over, as well as leaving much less footprint on the planet.
These are easy choices really. They aren’t asking anything of us. They are actually providing us with great advantages: a cleaner conscience, more money, a nicer world to live in, fewer emergency trips to the supermarket/pharmacy/coffee shop, as well as a quality item over a soon-to-be piece of trash. Frankly, it seems insulting to consider them “alternatives” as opposed to simple sensible.
Lead image source: Flickr