A Challenge For You:

A few years ago I quit cold turkey. No, I’m not referring to cigarettes (never had that habit) or drinking (I could never give up a good beer or a cute cocktail). I’m talking about paper towels.

Yes, friends, I don’t use paper towels and I don’t miss them even a little bit!!

Why did I make this change in my life? One night while I was carrying the garbage out I realized the bag was mostly filled with crumpled up paper towels. I was using them for everything – using them without even thinking about it. Even though I was buying Seventh Generation towels, which are made from 100% recycled materials, it still seemed like a sad waste. So, right then and there I quit my dirty paper towel habit. And, along with it went our dependence on paper napkins, too.

Seventh Generation quotes a stat that I find interesting: If every household replaced just one roll of virgin paper towels with a roll of recylced paper towels, we could save 1 million trees. But, I had to ask myself: what if every household just stopped using paper towels (and napkins) altogether? Until Scott Paper Company introduced the first kitchen paper towel in 1931, homemakers managed to get by just fine without them. And, since 2006 I’ve been fine without them, too!

So, what do I use to dry my hands, clean up kitchen spills and wipe my mouth at the dinner table? Old fashioned cotton kitchen towels and cloth napkins.

But what happens when they get dirty? I clean them (with my homemade laundry detergent, of course)! But, to be extra eco-conscious I rarely run a laundry load exclusively for towels and napkins. Rather, they “ride free” along with whatever else I am washing that day. Whenever I do a load of laundry, I make a quick run through the kitchen to pick up any towels that are ready for the wash. And, since I hang dry all my towels and napkins (and Evie’s bibs) I don’t use any extra energy drying them, either.
Double bonus: I save enough money to take myself on a mini shopping spree at J Crew once a year. Let’s just assume the average household goes through two rolls a week (which, for some families is probably a very conservative estimate). At $3 per roll we’re talking $6/week and $24/month and $312/year. And that doesn’t even include the savings associated with not using paper napkins. Sweet!

So, I challenge you to quit your secret paper towel habit, too. Try it for a week. I promise that you won’t miss ‘em!

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Written by Maureen

More posts by: Maureen

3 Comments for this entry

  1. Katinagj says:

    I stopped using paper towels too. Though this started when our budget got tight and we couldnt afford them. But now Ill never go back!

  2. Claudia says:

    Me too! One day I received a gift card in the mail from a store called Northern Tool and Equipment. Why I do not know. I had never been there and wondered why they sent this to me and not my husband. So we went there and I walked around wondering what I would use my gift card for. It was only for $5. How about I saw a 25-pack of shoptowels. They were a dark red, 100% cotton and had been sewn all the way around (not familiar with stitching terms). It came to me to use them as napkins. So I got my shoptowels for free because they were on sale for $5. They have worked out great! Happy mommie and happy family.

  3. HomemadeMother says:

    Hooray, Claudia!! I love that you are encouraging your family to save money and the planet at the same time!!

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