Conserve your paper products and switch to reusable replacements! Switching to reusable substitutes can help you save money, reduce waste, and save the resources needed to produce these products. Here are five quick alternatives to common household paper products:

Napkins

Instead of using disposable napkins at dinner time, try upcycling your old fabrics into reusable napkins!  This is a great way to upcycle old t-shirts, pillow cases, towels, or other fabrics you have lying around. It also makes a fun project to work on when you’re home and want to find new ways to use items you already own.

Paper Towels

Globally, discarded paper towels result in 254 million tons of trash every year. Replace your paper towels with rags instead! Not only does this help reduce waste from paper towels, it also helps reduce textile waste by repurposing old clothes that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Old and discolored towels are a great alternative to use for cleaning or wiping up spills. You can also use sponges, which are more absorbent and can be washed and reused.

Dishes

Rather than paper plates or cups, use ceramic dishes and glassware. These dishes can be reused over and over again. Paper plates take 20 years to decompose in a landfill, while foam takes more than a million years. Using reusable dishware prevents this waste from ending up in the landfill and also saves money because you won’t need to replace dishware as regularly. When washing your dishes, allow them to air dry or use a reusable dishtowel instead of wiping them down with paper towels.

Food Wraps

There are several reusable options for preserving your leftovers. One alternative is beeswax paper, which is reusable, washable, and compostable. Make sure to hand wash it with cold water to prevent the beeswax from melting. You can purchase these products in stores, or make beeswax paper at home yourself!

You can also try storing your food in glass storage containers or glass jars. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity. Dish cloths are another great way to keep produce fresh. Try wrapping it up in cloth and placing it in your refrigerator or putting your produce in a bowl and laying the cloth over the top. You can fix the cloth to the bowl by using a rubber band, creating an airtight seal.

Tissues

Short on tissues? Try going old school and using a handkerchief! You can either make your own by upcycling fabric you already have, much like the cloth napkins, or purchase them. It’s important to make sure you wash your handkerchief regularly and don’t let anyone else use it to prevent the spread of germs!