What do a dirty bathroom sink, a dusty bookshelf, and a puddle of grape juice on the kitchen floor all have in common? In 90 percent of American households, someone will reach for a paper towel or napkin to clean them up.
The use of paper towels alone sends 3,000 tons of waste to the landfill every day. Many people think nothing of wiping up a mess and then tossing the paper towel in the trash seconds later. What they don’t realize is that it takes millions and millions of trees to meet the demand for paper towels and napkins.
At the same time, these disposable paper products are also a waste of money. Depending on the size of your family, paper towels and napkins can add an extra $120 – $200 dollars to your annual budget.
And you’re just throwing it away. The good news is this doesn’t have to be the case.
Use Cloth: Many people only use cloth napkins when it’s a special occasion, but why do we need a holiday to eliminate paper waste? Cloth napkins don’t need to be fancy or expensive: look for napkins made from durable materials like cotton or flannel at your local thrift store or garage sale. Even discount stores like Ross and TJ Maxx often offer designer sets at a reduced price. If you’ve got some time and a sewing machine, you can make your own napkins by simply cutting squares of absorbent fabric and hemming the edges.
Use A Towel: What ever happened to drying things with a towel? Investing in some sturdy cotton dish and hand towels will help you avoid reaching for the paper stuff. When you’re not at home, PeopleTowels are a great way to curb your paper towel and napkin use. Made only of 100% organic Fair Trade Cotton these stylish towels save trees, save money, reduce landfill waste, cut CO2 emissions, and conserve water. Clipped to a bookbag or slipped into a purse, these towels are also an easy way to start a conversation about conservation with your friends!
Use 100% Recycled: There are some situations where paper towels and napkins are just too convenient to ignore. When disposable is a must, choose brands that offer 100% recycled content. And if the extra cost makes you wary, consider these facts from the NRDC:
- If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber paper towels (70 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 544,000 trees.
- If every household in the United States replaced just one package of virgin fiber napkins (250 count) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees.
Brands to look for include 365 (Whole Foods), CVS Earth Essentials, Seventh Generation, Small Steps, Natural Value and Marcal.
Image Credit: noego