Saturday, February 23, 2013
Saying Goodbye to Paper Towels!
Do you know how many spills I clean up a day? And not only spills but saliva, thrown food, potty learning accidents, finger painting, or just plain old cleaning in general. Of course, Paper towels were my best friend and go-to option. We would by bulk cases of paper towels on a monthly basis and use them for everything. Perfect to clean up little faces and to dry wet hands. And then I started to consider where all of these paper towels were going. Thousands and thousands of paper towel every day are being thrown into the trash to "disappear" and end up in a land fill somewhere. And when the average American consumes 740 pounds of paper products a year (this includes bath tissue, facial tissue, paper towels and napkins) that is a lot of waste and much more carbon than I want to release into the environment. We tend to reach for paper towels because they are so darn convenient. Ultimately germ free and sterile and readily propped on the counter at any sign of disaster – we tend to use so much more than needed - on average, almost 9 rolls of paper towel a month. But a paper towel is rarely the best option. When used to clean glasses or television screens, the small wood fibers in the towel are still hard enough to scratch the surfaces and it is recommended by manufacturers to use a microfiber cloth instead. And while we all tend to reach for the paper towel to clean windows and mirrors have you noticed all of the lint that it leaves behind - a piece of newspaper will work just as well to clean and not leave any residue behind.
We have tried several different options here at the Trout house. Trader Joe's and Whole Feeds sell reusable cloths that whisk away moisture and are easily squeezed out and hung up to dry. These are a great option until they need to be washed in the laundry and pulled out to hang dry - most people may have no problem remembering this little direction but I can not. Every single time they end up in the dryer after a hot wash and have unfortunately gotten smaller and smaller as the weeks go on … our purchased reusable cloths are the size of coasters at the moment. So, in utilizing and re-purposing our own household items, we now keep a stack of rags and cut up old t-shirts under our sink that are perfect to clean up messes in an environmentally friendly way. They are gentle on little baby faces and our appliances but more importantly do a better job than any paper towel we used before. After used we rinse them out in the sink and then throw them into the wash with the rest of the dirty clothes. I highly recommend this option to anything that I've been able to try out being purchased from the store. My goal this spring is to make a Reusable, Eco-Friendly, Snapping paper Towel Set inspired by this product found in Mamamades shop on Etsy. I found this tutorial that teaches you how to make them and I'm sure I could use some fabric that we have here at the house. Not only will it be benefiting the reduction of waste in the landfills but it's going to be super convenient and adorable on my counter-top.
Stop the usage of Paper Towels and go cut up some t-shirts!