3 Wasteful Products And Their Eco-Alternatives.


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Convenience over the health of the earth? Seems to be the status quo for most mainstream companies out there, as we are bombarded with advertisements touting single use or disposable products – from mops to hand towels to bottled water to plain old plastic bags – all of which help contribute 200 million tons of trash to American landfills each year. And while there are plenty of products and manufacturers guilty of feeding the desire for disposables, I wanted to focus on three of the biggest offenders (in my eyes) and offer up some alternatives.

Swiffer Mop vs. Method omop

The Holy Grail of single-use trash creation, if you ask me. While the mop/sweeper handle is reused, every single time you sweep or mop the floor you are supposed to use a Swiffer disposable piece of fabric that is either dry or dunked in a cleaning solution and comes packaged in a plastic box. Convenient? Yep. Necessary? Nope. Believe it or not, folks used to use…gasp…a broom to sweep their floor! And even when they stopped doing that, they used their non-disposable vacuum cleaner to pick up the dust! As for mopping those floors, well, everyone used to use a “real” mop and a bucket of soap, leaving nothing to be thrown away once they would be done cleaning the house. However, that way of cleaning has pretty much gone the way of the dodo in exchange for convenience – but there is something in between the two that is both convenient AND better for the environment. I use the Omop from Method to mop my hardwood floors. It has a lightweight handle just like a Swiffer product, except on the business end is a reusable, washable microfiber cloth that lasts forever (I have had mine for 3 years now).

Kleenex Hand Towels vs. Um…Towels?

I didn’t even know about this product until a friend of mine told me about it. Kleenex has introduced…wait for it…single-use disposable towels for use IN YOUR OWN BATHROOM. Stating that “Your Hands Are Only As Clean As The Towel Used To Dry Them”, Kleenex must think that you use your hand towels to clean the inside of the toilet bowl with before hanging them for you to dry your hands on. If this utterly useless product ever took off like the Swiffer mops did, we could have an eco-nightmare on our hands at local landfills. Hopefully it never will and they will stop making them, and people will realize that regular old washable towels work just fine.

Paper Towels vs. Washable Cotton Cloths

Paper towels in the kitchen have become as ubiquitous as toilet paper in a bathroom, but it wasn’t always this way. For cleaning up quick messes or wiping down countertops, paper towels became the “go-to” item in the house… leaving behind a trail of trash that really adds up. And while I did keep a roll in the house for cleaning up after the cat, I did switch to cotton wash cloths as a replacement for everything paper towels used to do in my house. I keep a drawer full of them at the ready, and I throw them in the washing machine with everything else. I am now paper towel free, and just donated the spindle they used to sit in to Goodwill. Washable clothes or rags saves money, eliminates trash, and do a better job at cleaning than paper could ever do.

Our society has become one of convenience over quality or future impact, and I hope we can realize the damage we are doing before it is too late. It’s time to stop our throw-away lives once and for all and eliminate these type of disposables once and for all.

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  1. I use an Omop as well!

    I can’t believe the Kleenex towels. Another crappy, wasteful product people will soon think they can’t live without.

  2. I haven’t tried it, but couldn’t you use the Swiffer but instead of using the disposable cloth, couldn’t you use a wash cloth and spray some vinegar and/or citrus oil on it??? I’m sure the wash cloth would hook in just as well as the disposable pads…

  3. THANK YOU for posting about those Kleenex “towels.” I hate how those ads play on germophobia to sell yet another disposable product.

    For folks that already have a Swiffer, there are lots of Etsy sellers who make reusable Swiffer pads! The only thing I haven’t sorted out is how to refill the cartridge with eco-friendly cleaning product.

  4. If you already have a swiffer mop, instead of buying a omop, just buy a micrfiber cloth to use on it. It fits fine and I use it every day becaues of my dog and just wash it and reuse it. you can also just wet it and use it to shine the floors

  5. A friend gave me a swiffer mop once and I love using it to quickly mop the floor. I just put a wet washcloth on the end and use it that way, toss the washcloth in the wash.

    @ Becky, just spray it on the floor or directly on the cloth. 🙂

  6. Just wanted to say I use an Omop as well (have had it for a few years) and it works great. Those disposable hand towels are ridiculous. As for the paper towels, I grew up in a house of ‘rag’ users. Untill I went to college I never realized people used paper towels to clean their counters, etc. I still hate the idea, not even just because of the waste, but holding a wet wad of paper is gross.

  7. Holy crap, eco-nightmare is right! Never heard about the Kleenex towels either, but that is just ridiculous! And the Omop sounds like the perfect solution to convenience and eco-friendly.

  8. It sounds like the reaction to the Kleenex towels is unanimous! Couldn’t believe it when I saw the commercial. With the Swiffer, try using an old cloth diaper. Works really well for wet or dry mopping.

  9. The Swiffer and it’s refills are awfully expensive, but I fit generic brands of those dust clothes into my Swiffer. I actually think this product is not a bad idea, considering my family has hair everywhere on the floor, and it’s very good at dusting under my bed. However, using this broom for years, I can tell you that you do not need to change the sheet every single time you use it.

    I use it for at most, a week before changing, and it works fine. All you do is pull all the dirt and lint off of it in the trash and use it again.

  10. When I saw the commercial I was outraged! They are promoting garbage. What about “Green”. People are trying to go green and they introduce this shit. What hell Kleenex? Get on the bandwagon already for Earths sake!

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