Living Cheap is the New Green

I wish I had come up with this great title, but I didn't. It's actually from an article on Mother Nature Network, which caught my eye, because I am interested in living ecologically as well as inexpensively and was glad to see an article about those aims often being one
and the same.

You can read their six basic tips for yourself (and I'm sure Coop readers will be able to come up with many more), but I want to discuss one in particular, #4: Ditch the Disposables.

It makes sense that anything you use once and then throw away would not be a sustainable choice, yet how many of us think of it as a poor economic choice as well? We'll list a few disposables we can do without and invite readers to add more suggestions of
their own:
  • Paper plates, plastic knives and forks: Even if you don't use these at home, you may be seeing them in the workplace. If so, can you convince the powers-that-be at you place of work to ditch the disposables and stock up with some reusable plates and mugs for people to use, plus encouraging folks to use their own.
  • Disposable pens: Back in the day there were fountain pens, which got replenished from an ink bottle. The modern mostly disposable pens you can buy in bulk may seem inexpensive, but how much is spent continually buying new ones? There are pens which let you replace the ink cartridge when done--a modern version of the fountain pen.
  • Paper towels: At about $1+ dollars a roll, these too seem cheap, but how many do each of us use in a year? Reusable rags and clothes are a better option, but if there are some task that you feel do work best with paper towels--get recycled paper. Even if you're not near the Coop, most bodegas and grocery stores stock Marcal paper towels and toilet paper, which are made of 100% recycled paper.
  • Disposable packaging: When we get prepackaged grains, nuts, tea and other items--we are using the packaging it comes in once and throwing it away. Yes, we can put some of this in our recycling bin, but if you can bring a reusable container to the coop and buy from the bulk bins, you will save money and avoid disposable packaging
Feel free to comment with suggestions of your own.