How Easy is it to Switch to Reusable Products? – Refuting Misconceptions

The People’s Design Lab has been created to come up with innovative and sustainable alternatives to everyday plastic products. Your vote can help us to choose which products in particular to focus on. Once new solutions have been implemented, however, the question remains: How easy is it to switch to reusable products?

Switching to reusable products doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some common misconceptions that might hinder you from making the switch – and some arguments to refute them! 

  1. It’s too expensive.” Replacing your products with more sustainable options might seem like an investment which you aren’t able – or sure – you want to make. The good news is that switching to a zero-waste lifestyle doesn’t have to be costly. Beware of media and advertising which tend to dictate the next “must haves”, even in the zero-waste scene. Chances are you have a lot of products in your home already just waiting for you to discover their alter ego! Personally, my focus is currently on turning old clothing and towels into reusable sponges, cotton rounds and paper towels. Admittedly, I have invested in a sewing machine and some sewing equipment, but I see it as a minimal investment in comparison to the money – and resources – my family and I will save in the long run. All it takes is a bit of creativity and thinking outside of the box to repurpose household items into reusables – and to save you unnecessary costs.
  2. “It’s too time consuming.” Granted, making the switch to reusables takes time. You will be forced to take a good look at your needs, beliefs and lifestyle and to take the necessary steps to readjust your consumption habits accordingly. However, many of us feel like we do not have the time for self-reflection or to implement these seemingly drastic changes. This is something I struggle with myself. I believe that I need to make one big swooping change, forgetting that making little changes every day will help me achieve the same goal. Every time I remember to bring a reusable shopping bag, refuse a disposable coffee cup or use my bamboo toothbrush, I am making a difference. Switching to reusable products will force you to take things slower and become more aware of how each product contributes to your life. Repairing and maintaining, which were once a thing of the past, will become more relevant again. While it may initially cost you more time and energy, over time you will create new habits which will ultimately allow you to live more consciously and, ironically, have more time for the things that are truly important to you.
  3. “It’s too much of a hassle.” In our society, disposables have become the “go-to” items simply because of convenience purposes. It’s easier to buy pre-packaged foods at the grocery store rather than buying them at the farmer’s market, to order take-out in a Styrofoam container after a long day’s work instead of cooking from scratch or to go on an online shopping spree as opposed to leaving the house on a rainy day. As a mother of a small child, I often resort to disposable diapers, wet wipes and pre-packaged foods simply because they are more convenient and save time. However, I aim to change our habits as a family, slowly yet consistently. It is my responsibility as a parent to be a good example to our child in the areas of consumption and sustainable action for it is his generation and the generations to come which will be most affected by our choices today. Sacrificing some convenience to ensure the preservation of our planet and our species is a pretty small price to pay, wouldn’t you agree? 

Switching to reusables doesn’t have to be difficult. While there are some initial hurdles to overcome, the benefits will be well worth the effort. Your vote can help The People’s Design Lab to come up with reusable alternatives to everyday disposable products – vote today

Ruth Wachsmuth is a global citizen, inspired to write about matters close to her heart. She lives in Germany with her husband and son.