Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Paper Towels

My husband and I used to use at least one roll of paper towels every week. Yes, every week--for just the two of us. And since I use only Bounty paper towels, my bill on these was about $5 per month. Then one day, I started thinking about how much these were wasted. From what I gather, a single paper towel takes only a couple of weeks or a month to decompose, but still, why not save that process and some money by converting to cloth napkins?

And that's what we did. Gradually. By the fall of last year, we were using one roll a month. Right now, we can make a single roll last two months and possibly more. Really, we just use paper towels to blot raw chicken (I really don't want to wash a food poisoning hazard) and to wipe up cooking oil (since the warning labels in our unit say you aren't supposed to put anything with oil on it in the washer or dryer). In fact, I have the paper towels hidden in the cabinet so that we aren't even tempted to use them.

This has been a small adjustment for us that has probably not made that big an impact on our pocketbooks or the earth. But we are glad we have made this change nonetheless, partially because it opened the door for other changes that have helped us personally and financially and that potentially have helped our earth as well.

If you want to try making this change in your household, buy cloth napkins. We bought our first set at Walmart for about $2 each. You can make your own for much cheaper. Or you can do as some have and use bandanas. Seriously! :)



  1. Maybe I need to hide my paper towels from the heavy user in the family . . . but he has gotten better. :) I love your napkins! Mine are a stained hodge-podge lot and I need to find/make new ones. But I love using them! It's funny, though, when we have houseguests who are not used to cloth -- they look at the cloth napkin, then look at their fingers, and are hesitant to use them. I guess they're afraid that they'll get the napkins dirty or stained! So I have to reassure them that it's ok . . . that's what napkins are for! Anyway, I wanted to say that napkins can sometimes be found at thrift stores and garage sales. But I'm kind of picky and prefer cotton, and sometimes the napkins I've found are weird-feeling polyester or something. I made my first ones out of an old tablecloth I picked up at an estate sale for $1.

    1. Your comment gave me an idea! I have an old tablecloth that I was going to use for a random sewing project. Perhaps I will make another set of napkins! Thanks!


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