Discover more from Good Little Garbage Girl
Little, easy, adorable ways to clean more greenly
the life-changing magic of being a little bit less of a btch about plastic
Do you like to clean as a means of procrastination? Me too, sometimes. (Find me disassembling the dishwasher instead of writing this blog.) There are some simple swaps I’ve made over the years that’ve helped me cut out plastic and reduce the amount of waste that comes from cleaning and I thought, heck, why not share it?
Before I do that, allow me to make the statement I make every time I recommend a product/lifestyle change: Individually, we are not responsible for climate change, and individually, we cannot make a significant difference. However, our collective purchasing habits can signal a shift to the market, and corporations will have no choice but to listen and change their polluting habits (this will be slow, painful and non-linear).
Here are a few things you can do around the house to reduce your plastic/packaging consumption and stuff like that:
Liquid detergent tends to come in those clunky plastic jugs — huge, dumb waste of materials, including water! I use Dropps dishwashing pods, which are shipped in recyclable (and also compostable) packaging and boast features including:
Never Tested On Animals
If you care about chemicals / care not to have chemicals all up in your business, this feels like a better option than the store-bought stuff though, admittedly, I haven’t looked deep into the company’s claims.
As you’ll soon see, I am a Dropps ambassador (not actually, but also @Dropps do you want to talk?), and I like that I can get a bunch of household cleaning stuff from them in a single subscription. Here’s my referral code that gets you 30% off your first order.
ALSO, I’ve noticed that they are a very discount code-happy brand and often have promotions that you can apply to your subscription, even if it’s already in effect (have never really seen a brand be so generous like this before).
Dropps also makes laundry pods that I have on subscription. Apply the same reasoning here: No plastic laundry container, no concerning ingredients, la-di-da.
The revolution is here: You don’t need to buy a new soap dispenser every time you run out of hand soap?! You can have fun shopping for a pretty glass dispenser or just reuse an empty plastic “disposable” one you have on hand.
Dropps also makes little pods for foaming hand soap that smells quite nice — all you do is drop in the little pod, add some water and shake. I’ve tried Blueland’s tablet option but did not like it as much — the tablet didn’t disintegrate nicely and the smell wasn’t mind/nose-blowing.
If you’re someone who likes to have extra so that you don’t need to immediately go to the store when you run out of something, you will like this option. Dropps sends four pods in every shipment, which is four bottles of hand soap. Better yet, they are so small and take up close-to-zero space under the sink or in a medicine cabinet, unlike an extra bottle of soap that comes with a plastic pump that is likely night recyclable in your area.
Windex is worthy of its own section because it seems pretty universal and also it’s available in commercial/non-granola brick and mortar stores. I love it I love it I love it.
During the pandemic, my dear mother-in-law sent word of Windex’s dissolve pods that let you refill your spray bottle without having to shell out for more plastic. You just add water and these little pods and voila! This science experiment should hint at the fact that most cleaners are made up primarily of water, which a lot of us have at home for free and also increases the weight of the product, which makes it more taxing on the environment when it is shipped/distributed.
I haven’t done a cost-analysis on these to see if they’re worth it from a financial standpoint, but to me, they’re worth it from a Windex-bottles-aren’t-recyclable standpoint, since you ostensibly never have to buy another one of its spray bottles again. Look for them in the aisle that you buy Windex!
P.S. In case this needs to be said, you DO NOT have to buy the cute refillable bottle a lot of companies, Windex included, market with their refillables. Just use the near-empty one you have at home, it’s cool.
P.P.S. Maybe you’re anti-Windex because it is absolutely made of chemicals that don’t fit with your vibe, and to that I say good for you. There are other types of glass cleaner that are less blue and more “natural” that come in more sustainable packaging. Feel free to try these out.
The paper towel section
Listen, listen, listen. Paper towels are so difficult to give up because they are versatile. People use them as hand towels, single-use snack plates, counter cleaners, tissues, mops, drying mats, rags, and on and on and on. I think this household staple is of the harder ones to get rid of (and in my household, we haven’t), but I do think there are ways to reduce your use. You just have to consider a handful of doodads to replace the specific use, rather than a one-to-one replacement like is possible with so many of the items on this list.
Paper towels for deep cleaning: I totally get the impulse to use paper towels to clean grimy spaces like the bathroom, and I totally do it sometimes. But it’s also possible to reserve rags for this purpose only, as in, keep a bundle of dedicated bathroom-cleaning cloths, and use them for nothing else. Wash them in your laundry without other items (I don’t know if this is absolutely necessary, but it helps me emotionally).
Paper towels (for counter crumbs/wetness): You definitely don’t need to buy something new, but I did, and it’s this:
Dare I say this is one of my favorite purchases of 2023? Dare I say I am not cool?
Yes, it is another thing, and I would never make the claim that it’s a must-have. But the Broombi has improved my domestic life in that I find myself using fewer paper towels and feeling less frustrated by water splashes around the sink. In particular, I use this to sweep crumbs and baby formula into the sink and garbage. It also works wonders for snagging dog hair dust bunnies from sneaky places like beneath the oven and fridge. Find me crouching weirdly around the apartment with this little Broombi all day every day.
I have yet to use it like a squeegee to clean mirrors, but I think it could work.
Paper towels (for hand drying): Use a kitchen towel/rag. Please (@spouse) you need not rip a new paper towel every time your hands get wet.
I hate sponges. All sponges smell. Do not lie to me. I have been using the following:
A silicone scrubber that is, like fine, but not something I’d use to wash dishes without then running them through the dishwasher
A bamboo/palm pot scrubber (like this) that is compostable but doesn’t have the versatility of a sponge
Standard disposable sponges that are disgusting and make your hands smell like dirty sponge even if you touch them for just half a second
The only thing worse than the sponges in my kitchen are the sponges in other peoples’ kitchens. Who KNOWS where that’s been.
LMK if you have found an alternative that sparks joy.
COOL OTHER STUFF & THOUGHTS:
Aluminum cans can do it all
I was going to write about refill pouches in this post, but they’re not that great of an alternative. They are better than buying a new plastic bottle of something because they use less water and plastic to make, but they are not recyclable. Then I came across these refill aluminum cans made by Puracy, the brand that makes my fave stain remover (haha lol) and wawaweewa is that innovation or what?! Aluminum is endlessly recyclable and this seems so clever!
Instead of refilling your bottle, the can IS the bottle:
This is SO smart. I would love to see this become the standard for … almost everything?
Young folks are suing the state of Montana for being dicks and prioritizing the coal industry over the livelihood of its residents and environment (here’s an easy listen podcast episode on the issue)
I’m sad at Mobama
She recently launched a health-focused food and drink brand called PLEZI. The first product is a fruit drink with zero added sugar. All fun and good, but it’s sold in a plastic bottle. I know her mission is nutrition-focused, by why not also prioritize the environment and do a little better? And while I’m complaining, PLEZI!? The jokes write themselves.
The ocean is taking tums
Startups are adding antacids to the ocean to help it better digest CO2/slow global warming. Relatable.