Thursday

the paper trail: eliminating paper towel waste

back in september our family took on a two month challenge proposed by amy over at crunchy domestic goddess to "ditch the disposables." we picked to eliminate paper towels, and four-plus months later, we haven't looked back.

it's much easier than i would have thought. we use kitchen towels, washcloths, and a few chamois for drying hands, wiping spills, and washing baby faces and high chairs. we already had a rag bag in the bathroom where stained shirts and old towels went to experience new life, and we keep those separate for "icky" tasks like cleaning the bathroom.

i toss used cloths in a hamper by the washer, and if a rag was used in the bathroom, i'll often wash it with dylan's diapers. we still have one roll of paper towels leftover from the summer, and i do pull that out occasionally for pet-related cleaning.

we haven't switched completely over to cloth napkins, since we still have a bunch of paper, but that is a goal this new year. honestly, i don't see myself giving up tissues, but i do try to use cloth wipes or burp cloths when wiping dylan's nose.

eliminating paper towels is saving us money and curbing our household waste, and it's not even that difficult a change to make.

for more thrifty green thursday offerings, head over to the green baby guide.

9 comments:

Cathy said...

we've got a rag bag, too! it's depressing to think we're cutting down trees to wipe up spills.

Gabriel and Dorothy said...

We use rags rather than disposable paper towels, too. We've done this for the last few years, and I never even think twice about it until a visitor asks for a paper towel and is shocked to find out we don't have any. "What do you use *raised eyebrows and confused face*?" is the most common response we get, but it's a great chance to explain some simple green living tips without sounding too preachy.
Our neighbor takes it even further and doesn't buy toilet paper. She just uses washable wipes. Even though this is what we do for diaper changes, my hubby and I aren't sure if we're ready to take it that far...

Debbie said...

We haven't done paper towels or napkins in about 12 years. I don't even think about them anymore.

Kathleen said...

Good for you! We've cut down significantly on our paper towel usage, although I sometimes resort to one here or there (mostly for cat poop or other gross stuff). But once you get in the hang of using cloth, it's easy.

greeen sheeep said...

Ha! My contribution to this week's Thrifty Green Thursday was also about paper towels, as well as other paper goods.

It was such an easy switch for us I wish I had done it years ago. To think of the trash and money I would have saved!

Good for you for taking that step.

Matt and Emily said...

I can't believe you live in the same town as me. It was a divine appointment for us to sit at the same table. I'm excited to get to know you this year at MOPS!!

Rebecca said...

I have never bought paper towels in my life! And yet, I always have some on hand. How did this happen? Well, my husband bought two rolls when we moved in together . . . in 2003. And when we moved into our new house, it came with 1.5 rolls of paper towels. While I like all the "free" paper towels I have inherited, I don't really find the need for them. I guess that's how I've been able to hang on to the same four rolls for six years.

Thanks for joining us for Thrifty Green Thursday!

Joy said...

Great tip! It's such a simple money saving, planet saving measure to give up paper towels but it's fascinating how many people can't imagine life without them. I've recently found that by cutting my rags up into smaller sections I'm doing less laundry too. Thanks for contributing this week for Thrifty Green Thursday!

Lauren Debo said...

suzannah, i love you so much! and i'm so excited that i found your blog. i've already enjoyed reading it. (yah for not using paper towels. i've been trying to use cloth towels myself.)

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