Let’s Talk Trash: Reusable Alternatives for Non-Recyclable Materials 

If you’ve been following along with the Let’s Talk Trash blog, you’ve learned a lot about the importance of recycling and which materials can or can’t be recycled. However, sometimes it can be more beneficial to reduce the amount of materials you use on a daily basis. We’ve put together a list of reusable alternatives for single-use items. These switches can help keep garbage out of our landfills and even save you money in the long run. 

Disposable Razor Alternative: Safety Razor 

Disposable razors cannot be recycled, so they end up in landfills. An alternative to a disposable razor is a safety razor, which is a metal razor with replaceable blades. The blades should not be put into blue bags because they can pose a risk to sanitation workers, but they can be recycled in a safe container with scrap metal.

Plastic Straw Alternative: Reusable Straw

Plastic straws are not recyclable by Muncie Sanitary District, and they often end up in landfills or oceans after a single use. An easy way to prevent this is to stop using straws. However, if you don’t want to cut straws out altogether, you can opt for a reusable straw. These are often made of plastic, silicone, metal, or glass and can be carried in your pocket or bag.

Plastic Resealable Bag Alternative: Reusable Resealable Bag

Just like grocery bags, plastic resealable bags cannot be recycled by Muncie Sanitary District. These bags can get caught in machinery at the recycling plant and cause delays. A good way to cut down on plastic bag use is to invest in reusable resealable bags. There are many different varieties to choose from, and many of them are even dishwasher safe.

Styrofoam Take-Out Container Alternative: Reusable Container for Leftovers

Styrofoam is a material that cannot be recycled, and Styrofoam take-out containers end up in landfills after one use. Restaurant leftovers are often put into Styrofoam containers to be taken home, but you can cut down on the amount of Styrofoam that ends up in the landfill by bringing your own reusable container to restaurants. There are a variety of options for reusable containers: thermoses, tiffin boxes, or collapsible bowls. These can be kept in the trunk of the car or thrown in a bag when you’re headed out to eat.

Plastic Grocery Bag Alternative: Reusable Canvas Tote 

According to the Earth Policy Institute, nearly 2 million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide. These bags are usually not recyclable through a regular curbside recycling program. Although they are accepted by many grocery stores, the best approach is to limit the use of plastic bags altogether. A good alternative for plastic grocery bags is a reusable tote. If you keep these bags in your car, you’ll have them even for an impromptu shopping trip.

Plastic Produce Bag Alternative: Mesh Produce Bag 

Produce bought at the grocery store is often put into thin plastic produce bags, which are not recyclable by Muncie Sanitary District. A good alternative for a plastic produce bag is a reusable produce bag made of mesh. These can come in various sizes and can be used to save produce in the fridge. You can even skip produce bags altogether.

Dryer Sheets Alternative: Organic Reusable Dryer Balls

Most dryer sheets are single use, contain potentially harmful chemicals, and are not even necessary for drying your clothes. Replacing your dryer sheets with reusable dryer balls can both help the environment and save you money. Dryer balls can help your clothes dry more efficiently, soften your fabrics, and can even be scented with essential oils to keep your clothes smelling fresh.  

Paper Towel Alternative: Cloth Towel

Paper towels seem harmless, but these paper products are piling up in landfills at an alarming rate. An easy way to reduce paper towel use is by using cloth towels in your home, like linen dinner napkins. When these cloths are dirty, just throw them in the washer.

Makeup Wipe Alternative: Cotton Rounds and Coconut Oil 

Disposable makeup wipes are made of materials like polyester, polypropylene, cotton, wood pulp, or rayon fibers formed into sheets. Unless the wipes are advertised as “biodegradable,” they take many years to decompose in landfills. Some of the chemicals in these products can even be harmful to your skin. A good alternative to makeup wipes is a washable cotton round and a dab of coconut oil. Coconut oil will remove makeup, and the cotton rounds can be tossed in the washing machine when they get dirty.