"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15


Reducing waste

My latest (small) step in attempting to live more environmentally conscious: Using less paper towels!

I'm Genelle, and I'm addicted to paper towels.

I'm ashamed to admit I use them for everything. Cleaning bathrooms. Cleaning counters. Cleaning the kitchen table. Cleaning glass. Wiping up spills. Wiping the boy's faces. Dinner napkins. I even like to use one when I am chopping produce to catch seeds/stems/etc.

I feel guilty for how many rolls of paper towels our family goes through. I've never actually kept track, but it's quite a bit. And more importantly, it's more than we need to be using. Environmentally and financially.

It's taken me a while to come up with a good solution to this problem, but I've finally solved it!

Here's my plan:

1. Put paper towel holder in pantry, out of easy reach.

2. Buy inexpensive paper napkins for meals (thinner, smaller and cheaper than paper towels.) My goal is to eventually switch to cloth napkins, but one thing at a time.

3. Keep a stack of baby wipes (we use cloth) in the kitchen for after meal kid clean-up.

4. Buy some kind of rags to keep handy for cleaning and wiping. These needed to be cheap so I could have a big stack of them. I wanted to be able to use several each day and only have to do kitchen towel laundry once or maybe twice a week.

I actually found these at Winco; they are flour sack cloths (towels, really), and cost under $2 for a two pack. But they are enormous! So I brought them home and cut them up into 16 nice sized little rags. Probably about 4" by 8". My original plan was to hem the edges to keep them from fraying, but let's just say I decided my $2 investment wasn't quite worth the time involved in that project. They will eventually fray, but I'll see how long they last. My mom's fancy new sewing machine is supposed to be able to serge, so maybe I'll try that out sometime.

I wanted to see if I liked using them before going back to buy more.  So I put this little stack in my most centrally located kitchen drawer and have been using them for several days now. 
The verdict? I really like them! I love that they are nice and thin; somehow that works best for me for doing these "paper towel chores". The only negative I've discovered is they feel so much like paper towels that I keep almost throwing them away!
But the best part is that I feel so much better since starting this! And I think I've used 2 paper towels in the last 3 days. To clean up cat vomit. A true "paper towel chore". 


Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

Hi! I found you through Procrastination Tuesdays post...these are great ideas!
I too am looking for ways to reduce waste at home. I use old T-shirts for 'Un-paper' towels at home, as well, as cloth napkins at the table.
We've recently switched to cloth (flannel)for TP substitution too. Strange I know. You can read about our experiment here...


Genelle said...

Great idea using old T-shrts! Lord knows we have PLENTY of those around... my husband is an undershirt freak. :) And I guess I really need to commit to the cloth napkins... really not a big deal after using cloth diapers and wipes for so long! Thanks for the comment, and I really like your blog!

Amy Bowman said...

great idea! we are trying to cut down, too. thanks for the inspiration, & thanks for linking up to "AP Tuesdays"

Marisa said...

I just posted about my new cloth napkins, and linked back here since you gave me the idea. Thanks!