By Liesl Clark
A couple weeks ago, we posted 10 items we no longer buy and have had a resounding response. Well, they were actually 20 items, since the original list of 10 came from Suburban Pioneers. We’ve decided to up the ante and compile a list of 50 items you could cross off your shopping list as most of these are no longer on our list and the alternatives our readers have provided are truly viable. We’ll start at 50 and work our way down to the first 10 listed by Suburban Pioneers.
50) Water: This one was submitted by one of our Facebook page friends. Let’s not ever buy water unless we absolutely have to. With a little forethought, there’s no need to buy water packaged in plastic.
49) Air: Another Facebook submission — Who buys air?
48) Note paper: Notes can be written down on any scrap paper. We write notes on the backside of letters that come in the mail, envelopes, anything with room for a few paragraphs.
47) Wrapping Paper: There are so very many wonderful alternatives to wrapping paper. You’ll find a few in our Trash Backwards app:
46) Fly Paper: We’ve started making our own very effective sweet fly paper and won’t ever consider buying the arsenic-laden strips again.
45) Pot Scrubbers: We’ve started using aluminum foil lately, of all things. But Rebecca has a great tutorial for converting a plastic mesh produce bag into a pot scrubber.
44) Planters: Almost anything can be converted into a planter — you just have to use your imagination. Come and get inspired at our app, there are some truly incredible planters there:
40) Window Washing Liquid: Vinegar and water works perfectly, along with newspaper instead of microfiber rags or paper towels.
39) Laundry Detergent: Try our DIY recipe and save some money.
38) Dish soap: Here’s a DIY Dish Soap recipe that’ll surprise you.
37) Salad Dressings: Remember simple balsamic and olive oil dressings? Just make your own delicious dressings in a jar. They get better with age and will give you no excuse for not eating your greens. Try our favorite recipes and you won’t be disappointed.
34) Saran Wrap: We never use plastic food wrap any more, now that we’ve found the ultimate reusable alternative.
33) Gift Tags: We’ve been known, come Christmas, to repurpose last year’s cards as gift tags. You can do the same with all the pretty cards you receive throughout the year — turn them into tags to add to your gifts.
32) Padded Envelopes: We receive so many of these throughout the year, and reuse them of course, that we even freecycle a box or 2 to other businesses that can reuse them.
31) Christmas Ornaments: Ornaments are one of the sweetest items to make, as they’re treasured year after year.
30) All-Purpose Cleaner: Orange peels and vinegar will style you with an all-purpose cleaner you’ll love.
29) Fruit Vinegar: Fruit scrap vinegar is one of the DIY recipes that’s really changed my buying habits. I make a better apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, and blackberry vinegar than I can buy in the store.
28) Potatoes, Arugula: If you’re a gardener, you’ll understand this. When you inadvertently leave a potato or two in your garden, you end up with more next year. Same goes for arugula which always goes to seed in our garden. We never have to replant it. So we simply don’t buy it.
27) Garlic Crusher: In a pinch, use a wide knife to whack at your garlic cloves. Or, go caveman-style as I do and find a great stone for crushing.
24) Beach Toys: So many beach toys are washed up on our beaches, obviously left behind by others, I’d love to see people simply stop buying them. There are great alternatives to buying these redundant plastic items.
23) String: We rarely buy string anymore, because we aren’t ashamed to say we salvage it from all sorts of items, like our chicken feed sacks.
22) Doorstops: Get creative with your doorstops and you’ll find joy in refraining to buy one.
21) Easter Egg Dye: We discovered a great reuse for an Easter egg dye that we’ll definitely use again — magic markers! Whether they’re used up or not, soaking them in water for a while doesn’t hurt them one bit.
20) Paper towels: Um, use cloth ones.
19) Hair ties: Look in every parking lot and on any sidewalk and you’re bound to find a hair tie or 2.
18) Pens: As above, look in every parking lot and on the side walks. Pens are everywhere.
17) Ribbons: Simply look on every shoreline and ribbon can be found there.
Ribbon Found on Our Beaches (including the spool), Photo © Liesl Clark
16) Styrofoam Packing Peanuts or bubble wrap: (just ask on Freecycle)
15) Ziploc bags: Wash them.
Gaiam Bag Dryer, Photo © Liesl Clark
14) Plastic children’s toys: (just ask any parent for them, they’ll gladly give you a box or 3)
These Plastic Toys Were Being Thrown Away. We Salvaged ‘Em. Photo © Rebecca Rockefeller
Oh, and if the parents in your neighborhood want to hang on to all that plastic, just make your own toys. Here are a few (hundred) ideas for toys you can make from stuff in your home to get you started:
Click through for innovative ideas for making your own toys or reusing them at Trash Backwards
13) Books: Use your library!
12) Plastic straws: Plastic straws are a scourge upon the land and water. Use your lips, or find a glass, bamboo, or metal alternative.
11) Cigarette Lighters: Plastic cigarette lighters replace matches way too often. We still collect cool looking matchbooks from bars and restaurants.
Lighters Recovered from Puget Sound Beaches
(For these last 10, be sure to visit Suburban Pioneers for their full post)
9) Plastic Funnels
8) Microwavable Neck Pillow
7) Pet Fur Remover (Brush or Stone)
6) Travel Toiletry Containers
5) Rubber Bands
4) Reusable Grocery Bags
3) Pet Poo Bags
2) Cleaning Rags
1) Plastic Leftovers Containers
What can you add to our list? If you’re ready for more, we’ve created a list of 100 Things You Never Need Buy. Enjoy frugal living!