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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Choose Cloth

Back by popular demand...a "re-print" of "Choose Cloth" (newly updated):

Over the last couple of years, we have slowly been getting rid of everything that is disposable in our house. In a society that is obsessed with disposable everything...sometimes I feel like an odd ball. But hey, what's new? The progression has been as follows:

PAPER TOWELS: These were the first thing to go. They were expensive and I was addicted to them. I just bought a few more cloth towels and I grab them for everything. We have darker towels for staining spills.

PAPER NAPKINS: We didn't use these a lot to begin with, but I switched to all cloth napkins after I found the cutest little red ones with stars. Adorable. Now I have several sets and I *love* using them at every meal.

DISPOSABLE DIAPERS: We cloth diapered Bella from day one. It's one of the most enjoyable things about being a mama so far. They are so adorable, healthy, and easy to use. Love them.

FEMININE PRODUCTS: After I had Bella, I started to use what many affectionately call "mama cloth". Basically, reusable feminine hygeine products. I have a GREAT set of reusable hemp pads. After I get my period back I will switch to using The Keeper or The Diva Cup. And for those of you that are saying "ooooh gross!". Get over it...have you ever researched what is in a tampon? Sick.

TOILET PAPER: Our latest switch has been from paper to cloth toilet paper. This was definitely not a hard thing because we are already using cloth wipes on Bella (the cloth wipes we have are so soft and wonderful...most are made of flannel and velour or sherpa...2-ply). Before I decided to do this, I was intimidated because I didn't quite understand the logistics of it all. So, in order to help some of you "get it"...I will explain further and offer a pictoral description of the setup.

Basically, we have dry and wet wipes. Dry for pee, wet for poop. The wet wipes are in a wipes warmer on the back of the toilet. I put them in there every day with a solution of water, apricot oil, Dr. Bronner's soap, tea tree oil, and lavender oil. It's a lovely smell...much more fun than plain 'ol scratchy toilet paper! The dry wipes are just next to that on the toilet. I will eventually get a cute wire basket for the dry wipes. After you are done using the wipe, you just throw it in the wet bag hanging next to the toilet. Update since this photo was taken: The wipes are now in a basket in a drawer next to the toilet. Easy as pie. Here it is:


I know some of you have just vowed never to use the bathroom at my house ever again. But never fear, I will keep ONE roll of regular TP for my less "natural" guests. We do have one last box of tissues right now, but will just use the cloth wipes for that as well. And please don't worry about the sanitary issues...everything is washed in super hot water with soap, baking soda, and the occasional vinegar rinse.

GROCERY BAGS: I bring my own bags to the grocery store. I LOVE my string bags from Reusable Bags. Ecobags is good too. Many grocery stores will give you a small credit for bringing your own.

All in all, switching our house to completely cloth has been a GREAT experience...one that is environmentally sound, and also financially sound. We save SO much money by not buying disposable stuff.

I still have a few more changes to make. I would like to get sets of cutlery and plates to take to events where I know there will be disposable dinnerware. I don't do take out a lot, but if my restaurants were more eco-friendly, I would also get the stainless stell food carrier so they could just put it in there instead of the disposable boxes. The first time I heard about this, I was so excited. It was when I was visiting the Ecopolitan in Minneapolis. They asked me if I had brought in my own take out containers or did I need to purchase one from them. I did have to purchase one, but it was a recycled, compostable container. I love that place!

I also need to better at bringing my own travel mug to coffee shops. I have probably filled a landfill with all of the to-go cups I've drank from and tossed in the garbage 5 minutes later...so wasteful!

Re-evaulate your choices today...and choose cloth/re-usable!

If you would like to read another blog about this topic, check out my friend Sarah. She is a swell gal. She has her own business, Wallypop, and makes great stuff. Here it is.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that's a great set up! I think I'm just going to have to get over my irrational squeamishness because cloth just makes a lot more sense!

10/24/2006 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cindy qualls referred me to your blog, especially this entry about cloth..i must say, i was inspired. i've been using cloth diapers for my kids & rarely buy paper towels, but cloth tp....it never occurred to me. i really think i'm going to give it a shot though. :) thanks for the inspiration.

12/10/2006 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question about the toilet cloth paper. Does the bag smell bad with the accumulated cloth? How often do you launder them.

Thanks. :)

1/12/2007 11:11 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

No...I've never had a problem with smell. I will occasionally spray some essential oils in there, but I wash them about every 2 days, so there really isn't time for a smell to develop. I think the fact that it's a drawstring bag and some air is allowed in really helps. If it was enclosed, and then opened, I think the smell would be worse. Hope this helps!

1/12/2007 11:17 AM  
Blogger Bryan said...

I am looking into doing this at least for me right now at our house. Did you buy the wipes or make your own? If you bought them where did you get yours? What is the bag made of or did you buy that too? I think this is a great idea and think I just might switch all to it once my husband gets use to the idea. I think he would like it better since he does not like the cheap toilet paper I buy since I can't see spending a fortune on toilet paper. Thank you for being such an inspiration:)

4/10/2007 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've used cloth TP off and on. We keep a bucket in the tub and throw everything in there. We also throw any diapers and I throw my pads in there too. It all comes out in the wash, lol! I use old face cloths but I'm thinking of making some flannel ones with some fabric I had left over.

4/18/2007 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

I have a question about using cloth wipes too. What brand of wipes warmer do you use? Do the cloth wipes work well with any wipes warmer?

Thanks!

5/03/2007 6:12 PM  

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