7 posts categorized "Housewares"

September 21, 2010

Clean and Green: tools, tips & tricks for tidying up without selling out

ACM_450_Kitchen Did you know that paper and paperboard products (paper towels, tissues, etc) made up 20.7 % of the municipal waste discarded in 2008--more than any other type of refuse? (6,550,000 tons!)

Think about it, every time you clean your house how many paper towels do you go through? What about sponges, disposable mop heads and dust cloths? What about all those harsh chemicals you spray into the air or toss away on a dirty paper towel?

Common household cleaners (including toilet bowl cleaners, air deodorizers, floor cleaners, window cleaners, and some detergents) often contain very toxic chemicals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, even when used properly, these toxins make their way into the environment through evaporation of volatile components.

One obvious solution is to switch to reusable cleaning products - items like microfiber cleaning cloths, reusable scrub stones and refillable spray bottles. You could also switch to all-natural cleaning products - but those are often expensive and still come in throw-away containers - so we suggest making your own cleaners at home.

It might take a little getting used to - in fact, our photographer Sarah wrote a post on her journey to a "greener" clean earlier this year. (Check out Sarah's video below.) But once you make the switch, you'll marvel at how much money you save on disposables and how much lighter your cleaning-day trash bags become.

As Sarah mentioned in her post, we offer a few kits to get you started making your own all-natural cleaning products at home. In addition, we have a DIY Household Cleaners article in our DIY section, with links to some basic recipes for homemade cleaners. 

Finally, our brand-new DIY playlist on YouTube features videos handpicked by us, demonstrating how to make your own dish soap, bath tub cleaner and more. 

With just a few basic items, a handful of ingredients and a little elbow grease, you'll have an eco-friendly, sparkling clean home in no time. Check out this video of Sarah making DIY cleaners:

DIY Cleaning Solutions with reuseitâ„¢ spray bottles from reuseit.com on Vimeo.

Do you know of a great DIY cleaning recipe we should add to our DIY section? Leave us a comment! 

July 09, 2010

Post-Soap Nuts Upcyling: Laundry Detergent Lamp

So you've made the switch from wastefully-packaged, chemical-laden detergents and you're gleefully washing your laundry with the fruit of the Chinese soapberry tree (Soap Nuts) but what to do with that last bottle of detergent?

Sure, you could rinse and recycle it? But why not keep it around as a reminder of what laundry was like before you found a better way? This laundry detergent lamp is a kitchy-cool project that makes good use of that last bulky bottle. And the video is fun to watch, too!

April 05, 2010

Wisdom Wands - Coffee & Tea Without the Waste

It took some of us a while to get used to the idea of drinking hot coffee and tea with a straw, but once we tried Wisdom Wands we were convinced. The coffee filter straw trips to cut back on trips to the coffee shop - which sames money and reduces paper and plastic waste. It also saves energy because you don't have to turn on your coffee maker for a single cup of freshly brewed coffee. Meanwhile, the loose leaf tea straw cuts back on waste from paper tea bags while it gives you a full-flavored cup of hot tea.

Check out both of Natalie's videos on these new products below, and for today only you can save 10% on both Wisdom Wands when you enter NEWTODAY10 and check out. Offer expires 4/6/2010, cannot be combined with any other coupons, and does not apply to volume or wholesale purchases or past orders. 

January 20, 2010

Eco-confessions: Sarah Cleans House on Waste

D1427I'm really good at cleaning the house. I get it all nice and sparkly and I feel incredibly triumphant when I'm finished. There was a time when I decided that "housekeeper" was my perfect career choice. And get this, I LIKE cleaning bathrooms.

Over the past two years working at ReusableBags.com, my fiance, Steve, and I have made some huge life changes that I never thought we could. We legitimately use reusable bags every time we go to the store. It took a while to make it stick, but now it's second nature. We drink water out of our SIGG bottles. We're composting in our backyard, riding bikes most everywhere we go instead of driving and encouraging our friends and relatives to make these changes too.

My Shameful Confession: I clean my house with LOTS of chemicals, use TONS of paper towels and feel REALLY bad about it. Since it's a new year and we've somehow overcome all these other eco-flails over the years, I decided to try to make another change. Armed with a selection of products from our site, I cleaned the house!

I used the Mu microfiber cleaning cloth with the scrubber and hot water to get rid of soap scum in the sink & the crusty stuff on the stove. The Mu bamboo cleaning cloth worked great and caused zero streaking when I cleaned the mirrors (in place of Windex, I made a solution from 4 parts water, 1 part vinegar). A Skoy cloth and Seventh Generation Natural All Purpose Cleaner made wiping down the fridge and kitchen counters easy. (Of course we also carry a kit for making your own all-purpose cleaner!)

In full disclosure, we also had some hiccups. Steve kindly offered to help out before he headed out for yoga, but just couldn't part with the Pledge spray for wrestling with the cat hair on the floor and furniture. The hardest part for me was the bathroom. When I approached the toilet, I thought, "I HAVE to use paper towels." After my brief freak-out, I picked up a Skoy and got to work. I definitely had to put a little more elbow grease into cleaning since there was nothing eating away the dirtiness (though nothing was eating away my skin either!)

When I was all finished, I threw the towels and cloths in the washing machine and guess what? The house was just as sparkly, my lungs didn't hurt, I didn't have a mountain of dirty paper towel trash and I felt really good.

December 09, 2009

The Great Staple-Free Stapler Debate

MBH_001_Hero New products always excite us, but rarely do they spark a debate like the one raging in our office over the Staple-Free Stapler. We can all agree on two points:

- It's an awesome idea
- It really does hold 4 sheets of paper together without staples

Other than that, we're an office divided. There are varying opinions, but two two of us with the strongest options are Natalie and Belinda, who make a point of arguing about the Staple-Free Stapler on a daily basis. Their opinions on the product follow - read them, and be sure to chime in if you've seen or used this item before!


The Staple-Free Stapler is cool, don't get me wrong. I would love to bust it open and figure out how it works. Unfortunately, it doesn't really do the job I need a stapler to do. Most of the time, if I need to go for the stapler instead of a paper clip, it's because I'm fastening like, 10 sheets of paper together. So that's one downfall.

The other one, and this is just me being OCD, but I don't like the hole it punches in my paper. I just worked really hard to make my document clean and neat and now there's a hole in it. It does make a satisfying crunching noise when you use it, though. I'll give it that. 



I love holes...they're in things like lace, paper snowflakes, donuts and the staple free stapler stitch. The stitch is ingenious and we don't use the concept often enough--a machine that only uses what is already there. It cuts, moves a piece around, and loops it closed to accomplish its goal - in contrast to introducing extraneous elements like a staple.  You can also throw packets directly into the recycle bin without removing staples.

For most, this cute as a button gadget (it actually resembles a huge button) is not going to replace the common stapler but since I usually only have to secure 2-5 pages together and file them away, it works for me!

So there you have it, folks. The Staple-Free Stapler - maybe the most controversial item we've ever carried! Check it out, along with our other great New Arrivals, and let us know what you think!

July 23, 2009

More ways than ever to kick the paper towel habit!

SKO_01_LS3 In the United States alone, 3,000 tons of paper towels wind up in landfills each day. That's a lot of waste - and what's worse is all the trees being cut down to make those paper towels, and the energy required to manufacture, package and distribute those bulky rolls.

You can significantly cut back on your consumption of paper towels and other disposables wipes by switching to smart, sustainable reusables - which is why we've just added a handful of awesome new products to our store

We're proud to introduce two new companies to our family of products - Skoy and Mu. From these companies, we've selected the smartest, longest-lasting solutions to the paper towel problem. 

SKO_02_2 Check out Skoy's Earth-friendly cloth, available in white or in colors. Each 4-pack replaces 60+ rolls of paper towels, they're machine washable, and completely biodegradable and compostable. The cloths dry quickly, so bacteria doesn't have time to grow, so you can use Skoy in place of smelly, disposable sponges as well. We like to use different colors for different areas of the house - one for the kitchen counter, another for the bathroom, one for the floors and a fourth for common household areas. To freshen up your Skoy, just get it wet and microwave it for one minute, or toss it in your dishwasher or washing machine. Hide your paper towels under the sink and you'll be surprised how infrequently you need them once you've switched to Skoy.

MUK_03 From Mu we have several ways to save money and cut back on waste. Use a heavy duty microfiber cleaning cloth with built-in scrubber in place of your sponge, paper towels and scrubbing pads. You'll even use less cleaning solution thanks to it's scouring power. Like Skoy, Mu cloths and towels are fast-drying so they don't harbor smelly bacteria, and the microfibers enable them to lift and trap particles for quick cleaning. Try a bamboo towel for super-sustainable clean ups or the stylish prints for a smarter, sanitary kitchen cloth and hand towel. 

With just a few of these money-saving and Earth-friendly cloths and towels you can stop buying paper towels in no time.

July 09, 2009

Summer Sale - Up to 50% Off!

Our Big Summer Sale is going so well, we just decided to add a bunch of new items! See them all and remember: Sale ends next Wed., July 15 at midnight (CST)!

It's your chance to get great deals on outstanding reusables including bags, bottles & lunch items. Overstocks, closeouts - plus dozens of customer favorites from:
 from Klean Kanteen, ACME Bags, Reisenthel, SIGG & more!

Limited quantities on overstocks & closeouts. Shop early for best selection!