With people around the world being told to stay inside, nipping out to the shops is fast becoming nothing more than a sepia-toned memory. Add to that the bare supermarket shelves many of us are seeing, and it's clear the time to embrace the sustainable lifestyle is upon us.
Some will have made those switches for the good of the planet already, while others are to be found frantically googling "can I wash my socks in saké?". But hey, there ain't no shame in this game, so we're here to clue you in on the reusable items you can stock up on right now…
Out of washing powder? Try laundry nuts
These conker-sized nuts contain saponin, a natural detergent. Pop half a dozen in a muslin bag into the machine with your washing, then use your normal cycle. The soap nut shell absorbs water and releases the saponins, freeing dirt, grime, and oils from clothing. Six nuts is enough for seven loads of laundry, and you can get even more life from them if you boil them for an hour and then strain and save the liquid.
Out of tampons? Try a menstrual cup
No one needs to compound the stress of a global pandemic with the worry that they’re about to run out of tampons. Go for a reusable option in the form of a menstrual cup - this quiz is great for figuring out which one is right for you. Alternatively, Thinkx underwear removes the need for any product at all.
Out of toilet paper? Try family cloth
Yes, reusable toilet paper. If the thought doesn’t have you shutting this tab immediately, here’s how it works. You get a load of terry cloths, together with a clean box and a dirties box. The clean box holds your damp unused wipes (perhaps fragranced with a drop of essential oil), and when you’re done, you pop them in the dirties box, which is lined with a mesh bag so you can remove them when the box is full (plus, water and DEFINITELY fragranced with a drop of essential oil). Then simply wash them in a 60-degree wash when you’re done. You can buy a starter kit here, or just make your own. Hey, you were looking for a project, right?
Out of make-up wipes? Try reusable wipes
There are plenty of reusable make-up wipes out there that just need a bit if soap added, but Face Halos just require water. Wet the pad, and the water loosens the make-up, before the ultra-fine fibres go into the pores and scoop out the gunk. Nice. Each pad replaces up to 500 wipes, which is pretty damn impressive for one little circle of fabric.
Out of paper towels? Try unpaper towels
Paper towels are hugely wasteful, in part because they’re so easy to reach for when there’s a spill, smear or sticky mess in the kitchen. An unpaper towel roll fits on your existing roll-holder, but is made of reusable cloth, with each towel snapping together using poppers. If you’re looking for a home project you can find a DIY unpaper towels tutorial here, or find lots of options already crafted on Etsy.
Out of cleaning spray? Try… vodka?!
There are plenty of online tutorials about how to make your own household cleaning spray, if your light switch wiping habit has caused you to run out of Flash. The important thing to remember is that your normal Smirnoff won’t do it. Most vodkas are 80 proof, which is only 40% alcohol. (Fun fact: “proof” is simply double the percentage of alcohol content. It was invented in the 18th century by the British Navy, to show that the alcohol level in a spirit would be sufficient to light gunpowder).
You need over 60% alcohol to kill viruses and bacteria, which is why “rubbing alcohol” or surgical spirit is often needed - these start at 70% alcohol. So if you’re reaching for the booze, you want something over 120 proof - each country tends to have its own localised version of this (moonshine, corn whisky, damn strong vodka), so drop by your local bottle shop and see what they recommend.
Now it's your turn - if you've got a favourite swap or want to recommend a way of making stuff last longer, tweet us @cooler_future and we'll spread the word!