As we have been working diligently to reduce our food waste by eliminating packaged foods, we are taking other little steps to reduce waste elsewhere. For instance, we have completely stopped buying paper towels and instead use only towel sized strips of old t-shirts. We then toss "used" ones in the dirty laundry and wash them right along with our dirty clothes. It is hardly even an inconvenience and the t-shirt rags do a much better job of cleaning up than a thin piece of paper towel.
I was thinking about other little tricks I could do to reduce the amount of things I toss in the trash. In doing so, I thought of all the "one-time-use" things I use from day to day. There weren't too many things that found their way on this list, but some of the items that did, include: coffee filters (which we are composting), cotton rounds (you know, the ones for cosmetic use) and toilet paper... Though I am not willing to give up the amenity of toilet paper quite yet, I did find a perfect replacement for those little cotton rounds that otherwise land in a landfill, unnecessarily: again I turned to t-shirts.
Using an old, soft t-shirt, I cut 2-inch by 2-inch squares of fabric. Then, stacking 5 squares, I sewed a seam around the perimeter and an X through the center, to hold the little pillow of fabric together. Similarly to the t-shirt "paper" towels that we use, you can simply wash these and re-use them. I have found, too, that these re-usable cotton rounds work even nicer than their disposable counterparts.
It makes me wonder why we are so fixed on using cheap, disposable products when their durable, re-usable replacements are so much better.