Recently our household underwent a big upgrade: no more disposable water bottles! The boyfriend is the late convert (obviously) and these functional and gorgeous S’well bottles are what finally sold him.

That got me thinking, what other products help run our household while reducing waste compared to their disposable counterparts? Here are our top picks (besides reusable water bottles):


image credit Taylor Martin/CNET
image credit Taylor Martin/CNET


Want to never buy dryer sheets again?  Yep, it’s as easy as crumbling up 2ft of aluminum foil into a ball. Conventional dryer sheets are made of non-woven polyester, intended for single use. They spend 2 hours out of the box working for you, and it’s off to the landfill forever. In contrast, an aluminum foil dryer ball lasts for many loads, and then it is easily recycled!


Picnic Time Insulated Cart Cooler with Wheeled Trolley, Lime
Picnic Time Insulated Cart Cooler with Wheeled Trolley


I bought this cart 3 years ago, and let me tell you, many strangers (only old ladies, mostly Asian, I’m just telling you so you know what to expect) have expressed envy over it. It’s sturdy, and the wheels can take a beating. It’s insulated and easy to clean (simply wipe down as needed). Most of the time, I just stick things in the cart, and I don’t waste paper or plastic bags from the stores anymore.  Click here to buy through DWM’s Amazon Affiliate link.


standard beer growler
standard beer growler


I have to admit I’m no beer connoisseur. I didn’t know what “draft” meant until I was 23. The really embarrassing part, was how I learned: I used to order “[brand of] beer, draft” because I thought that’s how it worked. Well, it worked until one day a bartender said “we don’t have that draft”, and I said “it’s right here” and even pointed to the menu. Then he said “right, it’s bottled; we don’t have it on draft”. I had no clue what he meant, and now I can’t remember how I responded because my memory refuses to let me relive the rest of that cringeworthy scene. Anyway, I digress. Now we live in Philly, where there is a pretty lively local brewing scene, and I still don’t know anything about beer or drink it all that much. But I’ve got a growler for when I fancy some!


There are purists out there against growlers, comparing it to “if you went to a nice restaurant, ordered something great, and then took the beautifully presented plate of food, scraped it into a bag, put that bag in the fridge for 3 days, microwaved it…” (beach, please). Even so, it remains the right choice for us, since we don’t find it difficult to keep clean (“grubby”? ew), and we can easily stick to the “fill it and drink it” rule. A 64oz growler is 2 drinks (pints) each. So I might roll out Friday afternoon to have it filled to go with a Saturday meal, or fill it after brunch for Sunday Funday. Our beer consumption is different from someone who has to keep a 6 pack in the fridge at all times, so any time we feel like beer, we’d have to head to the store anyway. It requires just a littllleeee bit more forethought with a growler, but every time we prevent a cardboard box and 6 glass bottles from going in the recycling!


Whitmor 6154-111 Mesh Laundry Bag, White
Whitmor 6154-111 Mesh Laundry Bag, White


Our building offers dry-cleaning, and provide a single-use drawstring plastic bag (like these) for the convenience of drop-off. When you pick up items, the plastic bag is gone, discarded at the dry-cleaners. Well, no more. I now drop off dry-cleaning using a mesh bag. When my laundry is returned, so is the bag. Then I toss the machine washable bag in with the rest of my regular laundry that I do at home. Out of the washer it is a little damp to the touch, dries in no time, and is ready to hold the next batch of dry-cleaning! Click here doobly doo you know the drill.


 Click to open expanded view Evo Kitchen and Grill Olive Oil and Cooking Oil Trigger Sprayer Bottle
Evo Kitchen and Grill Olive Oil Trigger Sprayer Bottle


I am too lazy to take good care of nonstick pans and make sure my loved ones and I aren’t ingesting any teflon. Besides, a decent set of cast iron and stainless steel cookware is versatile and with the most basic care, good for life. What saves more waste than a buy it once/buy it for life purchase? The one caveat here is that obviously, cooking means food getting stuck to your cookware. I used to use copious amounts of oil, which I learned to do from my mom. Then I discovered the magic of PAM. But before long, I became curious and read up on the ingredients, and it turns out PAM contains palm oil, the current method and rate of production of which is a global environmental issue. So I decided to look into an oil sprayer that I can use with my own single-ingredient, regular oil. The Evo has been great the 2+ years I’ve had it. I’ve not experienced clogs, it’s not much work to clean, and I can use very little of a good quality cooking oil instead of copious amounts or any of whatever’s in PAM. You can click here to buy (and support DWM!).


So, usually I leave you gals and guys with some coupon I find in my inbox, but it’s been flooded with an avalanche of Mother’s Day deals that are probably also bombarding your eyes everywhere you go. I am all for pampering mom with a luxury gift, but in honor of waste reduction and the frugal, resourceful moms I know, here are some alternative ideas:

  • instead of taking mom out, cook her a lavish meal at home
  • instead of buying her flowers, help her plant an herb garden
  • instead of going to the spa or salon, give her a facial and a massage, or a mani/pedi
  • does mom drive a lot? detail her car!
  • where does mom spend most of her time? the kitchen? her office? give it a makeover!


Started young :)
make your own coupon book for mom redeemable for chores, hugs & kisses


I mean, she’s probably not doing that in the picture, but she’s got a lot of her own ideas. Well now, y’all have a nice week until next time, and treat yer moms too!

My Waste Reducing Buys

3 thoughts on “My Waste Reducing Buys

  • May 5, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    In addition to your husband, you have a boyfriend now, too? That sounds expensive! Haha, I kid. I’m totally going to use some of these awesome ideas!

    • May 5, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      Oh, wait — You’re a new member of the cast! Awesome!

      So what are you doing in Philly? Do you also work in a medical field?

      • May 5, 2016 at 11:11 pm

        “new”?! I’ve been around for days! 😉

        I moved to Philly for grad school. Nowadays I freelance (and this, this counts!). I’m not smart enough to go into the medical field… just a lowly lit major 😛

        I’m glad you’re giving some of these a shot!


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