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Reusable vs Disposable Products: What To Choose

There’s been a lot of focus in recent years on the need for consumers to choose reusable products over disposable ones. The most common one being disposable straws ending up in the ocean and damaging wildlife.

While everyone wants to reduce the amount of damaging waste added into the environment, its naturally for us to have questions around product maintenance, life span and how easy these items are to use.
We’re here to explain the differences between reusable and disposable, when it makes sense to use each product type, so you can make the right decision for you.

What is a reusable product?

Reusable products are items designed to be used multiple times, reducing the need for single-use items. They’re typically made of durable material rather than things that start to fall apart after one use like flimsy plastic and styrofoam.

Think of a sturdy thermos for your coffee, a canvas tote bag for your shopping, or a stainless steel straw for your drinks. These products are often made from durable materials like metal, glass, or thick plastic, ensuring they can withstand repeated use and cleaning. They’re the ideal choice as they can be used again and again reducing the amount of plastic that enters the environment.

When is disposable an okay choice?

While reusable items are great for the environment, there are a few times when disposable products are the easier and safer choice. In situations when hygiene is a top priority or you can’t reliably clean and sterilise reusable products disposable items can be the right choice for you.

Additionally, when you’re traveling or in a situation where carrying dirty items back home for cleaning isn’t an option, it’s understandable that disposables can be a more convenient option.

What should you look for in a good reusable product?

When choosing reusable products, it’s important to consider a few key factors to ensure you’re getting something that will truly last and be convenient to use. Some things to always consider are:

Durability: The product should be made from materials that can withstand regular use and cleaning. Stainless steel, glass, and high-quality silicone are all good options. If you’re going to be storing food in the product be sure to check all plastics and silicones are food grade.

Easy to clean: A good reusable product should be easy to clean. If something is a pain to pull apart and clean, the chances of it ending up unused and left in the back of the cupboard dramatically increase.

Functionality: Make sure the product suits your needs. For example, a reusable water bottle should be leak-proof and easy to carry, while a reusable shopping bag should be sturdy and spacious. Make sure to fully research what you need so you only buy something once. The purpose of buying reusable is defeated if you buy 5 different water bottles, all with different features, to find the right one.

Environmental Impact: Look at the materials used in the product before buying. Some reusable products are made from recycled materials or are designed to be recyclable at the end of their life.

Eco Friendly Kitchen Habits
Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

Speak to family and friends for recommendations

There are many reusable products that have become popular due to their convenience and eco-friendliness. Speak to family, friends and people you trust to get their honest opinions about products. This means you buy what you need and will keep using it for a long time. Here are a few favourites:

Thermos for Hot Drinks: A good thermos can keep your coffee hot for hours, making it a great companion for commutes or long days out. Look for one with a leak-proof lid and good insulation.

Stainless Steel Water Bottles: These bottles are durable, keep your drinks at the right temperature, and help you stay hydrated without the need for plastic bottles. They’re also easier to clean than plastic and are free from chemicals. We love Ocean Bottles because they also remove plastic from the ocean from every purchase.

Silicone Food Storage Bags: These bags are great for storing leftovers or packing snacks. MAke sure the ones you choose are dishwasher safe and can be used in the freezer and microwave for full functionality.

Reusable Kitchen Roll and Towels: Instead of kitchen roll, cloth alternatives can be washed and reused many times, reducing waste in the kitchen.

Make The Most of Reusable

It’s all about finding the right reusable products to suit your lifestyle. Start with small changes, like switching to a reusable water bottle or thermos, and see how it fits into your routine. Over time, you can gradually incorporate more reusable items that you’ll actually use to cut down on personal waste.

The key is to be mindful and make thoughtful choices that work for you. Whether you’re starting your day with a thermos full of coffee or meal prepping in silicone freezer bags, every small step helps contribute to a more sustainable world.