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I've been pondering my recent reduction in use of disposable items, particularly my recent discovery of the brilliance of washable fruit and veg bags, and am wondering what everyone else is using, or if there are any good ideas I've missed! I've probably forgotten reusable things on the poll, but feel free to remind me.

[Poll #1357060]

on 2009-02-28 12:42 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
What are the fruit/veg bags? I don't know if I've encountered those before.

I use a lot of Lush products and they give you a free face mask if you return 5 empty pots to them, so I always recycle those. Not sure that counts as reusing though. And when my brother and I were babies we both had cloth nappies.

on 2009-02-28 12:57 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I just replaced my Diva cup because I can't find it post move (3 years ago!) and loves it :).

You do have to be careful to consider what you're doing though. Cloth nappies, for eg, require a lot of inputs to get them to you (water for the cotton, pesticides, cloth production, transport etc) and then over their life, they use a lot of the resource that we are short on - water - to keep them going, as well as potentially lots of chemicals to maintain them.

So are single-use nappies for eg that bad? They go into landfill, which is something we have a lot of (space I mean). Yes they last for hundreds of years, but essentially don't break down. Which is an ethical mindfield of course! And then there's the case of using anything reusable meaning that you have to know how to maintain them hygenically, which a lot of people don't.

And plastic shopping bags are usually repurposed 4-5 times over before they are disposed of. So what will take the place of these bags when they are used for wet bathers, or dog poo, or meat, or lining small bins? People at large won't make these changes - they'll just replace those conveniences with another product. Probably plastic as well.

on 2009-02-28 01:18 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Modern cloth nappy washing practices don't use nearly the chemicals old wet-pailing/bleaching/etc routines did. :) Washing one kid's worth of nappies is about the same water use as another person's worth of daily toilet flushing, which of course will be what replaces the child's nappy use once they're toilet-trained. So really, if you're worried about water use, it's best not to have the baby in the first place. :D
Single-use nappy manufacturing uses water too, and pumps ick out with the waste, and you're *still* meant to flush the solids, which most people don't. I did consider the options, in depth. And I still think I made a good choice. I used second-hand and home-made and locally-made nappies for the most part, with hemp (a lower water-use crop) making up a large part of the stash, meaning not a huge manufacturing or transport load for much of it (or spread out over several kids). And this isn't unusual - most of the cloth nappy users I know IRL do/did much the same, with local nappy libraries or kits doing the rounds.

The plastic bag thing is funny - I've heard of quite a few people "forgetting" their reusable grocery bags so they can get free bin liners!

on 2009-03-01 12:34 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Ahhhmmm I didn't mean anything bad about you, or the amazing people who do it. Just that it's not a black and white issue. People are stockpiling their plastic bags, and maybe they'll start recycling them ;).

I did post about this on my blog a while back, questioning all of this. It's really important to discuss it all and you've given me some great ideas!

on 2009-03-01 07:19 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Oh, I wasn't feeling attacked so much as evangelical. :D There are a lot of incorrect assumptions floating around about how modern cloth nappies are created and maintained (soaking, excess chemical use in washing and such) that are based on fairly old-fashioned methods. The UK study (commissioned by KC I think *coughcoughlol*) made assumptions like IRONING nappies, for the love of pete, and they came out as "equal". :D

Glad you've got some ideas! It's good to discuss these things, I see other people hadn't known about the F&V bags either, I've only just discovered them myself.

on 2009-02-28 01:25 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
The fruit/veg bags are only a 'planned' for me so far - I found a perfect fabric yonks ago, bought some, and haven't had the time to pull it out of the stash and make the bags!
I'm also putting hankies on the 'to-do' list for this winter, although half the time if I'm out with the kids I wipe their noses with a (clean) cloth wipe or terry flat that's in the nappy bag anyway.

on 2009-02-28 10:53 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
fruit/veg bags are only a 'planned' for me at the moment but I'd love to have a gander at yours to figure out the best way to make them.


on 2009-03-01 01:09 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Most of the time I just avoid using the fruit/veg bags at all, but there are some things, like grapes, that you just can't not use one. I'm interested to see what you use for the bags? What fabric are they made from?

on 2009-03-01 02:00 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
The fruit/veg bags are only "planned" for me, too. I use the reusable shopping bags but where have you found the fruit/veg bags?

I also want to find better, less plastic sandwich containers than the Tupperware I currently use. I need to get onto that.

Oh, and to the person who questioned the environmental friendliness of cloth nappies: There is no question. Cloth nappies are simply better. They use less water, less chemicals and (I'll bet) less electricity to produce. There are lots of statistics floating around the web that prove the superiority of cloth nappies.

on 2009-03-01 02:20 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I've got little green meshy material cloth fruit/veg bags with toggles and drawstrings and they are wonderful. Most wonderful is they were a Christmas present from my mum which showed she was shopping for what she knows I'd like rather than what she'd like/use. I was touched.

What are your ones like?

on 2009-03-02 03:40 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
When I say I use reusable fruit-veg bags, I don't mean I have any special sort - I just wash and re-use the plastic ones until they are unusable! What is your recent discovery?
Other things which I didn't think of till reading other people's comments: napkins (when we use napkins), kitchen/cleaning cloths, jars, plastic containers, lunch boxes, plant pots, rubber bands from mail, envelopes as notepaper, bread loaf ties for holding up seedlings, old singlets as cloths... I'm a terrible hoarder and it is all my mother and grandmother's fault for inculcating the 'reuse' habit :o)
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