If you will recall, I decided to give up paper tissues. Although I did have to resort to grabbing a Kleenex in a few emergencies, for the most part it went really well. (Having a box of cute hankies to choose from did help!)
The challenge got me thinking about other things we could reduce our usage of around the house, and my focus ended up falling on our laundry room. I started by making some reusable dryer sheets. (I can't report on their performance yet because I'm still using up the last of a box of disposable ones.) Then I started thinking about how we could get rid of those big plastic jugs of bleach and laundry soap that we throw away each month. After some research, I decided to give soap nuts a try.
Soap nuts are the dried fruit of the Chinese Soapberry tree. When the nuts get wet they release saponin, which is a natural cleanser. For laundry purposes, you put three or four in a little muslin bag, and just toss them in with your clothes--easy peasy! The nuts last for several washes. (We've been doing about a week's worth of laundry with one bag of four nuts.) They really do work just as well as detergent, and when the nuts are used up they can be composted (or in my case, just thrown out into garden to decompose). It's pretty cool, really.
(I'm still working on a solution to the bleach jug, so if anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them.)
A big thanks, as always, to the wonderful CDG for another great eco-challenge!