In the midst of a pandemic, our grocery stores are often lacking the supplies we've grown accustomed to using. We've done a few things to "go green" in the last few years so I thought I'd share a very simple way to start. Stop using paper towels.
We stopped using paper towels a few years ago. It was one of the first changes we made in attempting to reduce our waste and live an environmentally friendly life. If you want to reduce your waste, I’d suggest starting here. It’s impractical to change everything at once, so start with something simple like this. Once it has been implemented into your life, you can find another way to reduce waste.
The most practical solution to cut out the use of paper towels is to use regular, reusable towels or rags to clean. We mainly use old t-shirt scraps. Rags do not have to be cute. Your hand towels can be cute. Our rags are un-hemmed, stained, and unevenly cut. But it really doesn’t matter because we are saving the world.
We keep a bucket in a kitchen closet to toss the used rags into. Once it’s full, we toss those rags in with some other dirty towel laundry.
When to Use Rags Instead of Paper Towels:
- wiping kitchen counters/sinks
- wiping bathroom counters/sinks
- cleaning mirrors/windows
- cleaning toilets
- wiping down literally anything (tables, highchairs, other surfaces)
- to catch bacon grease
- drying dishes
- cleaning up spills on the ground or table
The possibilities are almost endless. If you feel like you can’t toss your soiled rag into the washing machine as is, rinse off the crumbs or other debris, and then toss it into the washing machine.
I know many people who use paper towels as napkins. While you can certainly use your rags for napkins, you could also just use cloth napkins. Just like your hand towels, your cloth napkins can be cute.
Additionally, some people prefer to use paper towels instead of Kleenex. This is a wasteful practice. You can use a handkerchief instead! Or use your rags since you probably have a lot of them sitting around (or you will soon).
Are you still using paper towels in your home? If so, what is holding you back from making the switch?
While paper towels likely degrade in landfills faster than plastics or diapers, it’s still best to keep as many things out of the landfills as possible. We don’t want to end up like the humans in WALL-E.
Only you have the power to change the world! Now go cut up that ratty t-shirt in your drawer you haven’t worn in 5 years. Seriously, there's no time like the present to make this simple change.