Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Going Green - Paper Towels

Over the past year, we have tried very hard to use less and less paper towels.  First of all, they can be expensive!  I think the last time I bought paper towels, they were on sale for $4.96 and I used store rewards to get them cheaper (of course!).  At the time, we had already reduced the amount of paper towels we were using in the kitchen and at breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner.  I've since reduced the use of paper towels in our cleaning.

I used to use paper towels to clean the windows, mirrors and shower doors in the bathroom.  Now I use newspaper.  I know it sounds crazy, but it works -- and no streaks!  You need to be careful if you have white trim and walls, because sometimes the soy-based ink might smear on those surfaces while you are cleaning the mirrors and windows.  In the kitchen, we are also using newspaper to absorb oil from fried foods such as bacon, sausage, fried taters and homemade tortilla chips.  

When it comes to eating, we are using cloth napkins.  I haven't actually purchased any cloth napkins.  We're using "recycled" cloth napkins.  I've cut squares from older bath towels that are too thin to do any good after a shower, but are perfectly acceptable to clean up your face and hands.  We also have some thin cloth diapers that were never used for their intended purpose, but rather were used as burp cloths.  We've migrated these from Hunter's drawers to the kitchen drawers.  They are easy to bleach and keep pretty clean (still trying to figure out how to get rid of the spaghetti stains).  I'm hoping to accumulate enough cloth napkins to use during get-togethers and gatherings.

I'm hoping to completely alleviate the purchase of paper towels and what a huge savings that will be!

This works for us.  

Are you thinking about going green in an area of your life?


April said...

I would be hard pressed to give up my paper towel habit, but you've posted some good tips on how to work toward that goal. Thanks :)

Susie said...

Me too April! I go green in other ways:-)

Jelli Bean said...

Good work! I've tried to cut down on paper towels and mostly use them only for cleaning the outer surfaces of the toilet. Newspaper has always been a window cleaning staple since my childhood, but now I've also found that good quality microfiber cloths also do just as well (even though I realize they are an investment.)

Carrie Lauth said...

When dh and I got married, I was determined to cure him of his paper towel addiction. They are so expensive and wasteful. So since I was doing all the grocery shopping, I just stopped buying them. After a few weeks he made the comment "You know, it's funny how when you don't have paper towels, you don't use them." LOL!

I use cloth napkins for meals. I do rarely buy a roll of paper towels for draining bacon on as you mentioned, when I can get them almost free with rebates and coupons. Haven't found a good substitute for that use.

I also love microfiber for cleaning.

Amanda said...

Just recently I've decided to use fewer paper towels. I used to use one after every meal for my son's hands and face. Now I am using a dish cloth. (I hated them as a kid, because I thought they always smelled bad, so I'm careful not to use them for anything but his face and hands)

I'm also trying to use my kithcen towels more for spills and quick cleanups. They're quicker and better at picking up an entire cup of spilled milk, and they wash right up.

I just bought a sewing machine and and now making cloth napkins. (they don't have to have straight edges to work well!) :)

I'm going to have to try the newspaper thing for my windows. We don't get the newspaper though, so I may have to borrow from a friend.

Candi said...

@amanda - If you're not getting the newspaper, you can also check out the recycle bins near the grocery stores and/or library.

Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

The only thing better than newspaper and Windex is newspaper and Vinegar/Water!! No streaks...etc etc...however...even though we use towels for just about everything...some messes are paper towel only. UGH! Try not to use sheets of newspaper that have too many color pictures...it doesn't bleed on to your window...just doesn;t seem to hold up as well as the classifieds ;-)

Candi said...

@Anonymous, I used to use Vinegar & Water when I cleaned apartments. It works really great. But since I'm a couponer, I'm able to get Glass Plus for $.25 on a regular basis at my Publix during a sale and combining it with a coupon. I can't beat it for $.25! :)

Emily said...

Good job! We haven't bought or used paper towels since we moved into our home almost a year ago. It's true what Carrie said, if you don't have them you don't miss them! :)
Here's a post on my blog for what we use instead of paper towels, hope it gives you some ideas or inspiration! http://www.liverenewed.com/2010/01/going-paper-towel-less.html

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

First of all, how cute is your little window cleaner? My daughter, Grace, would love to have her "princess" shirt, as well. LOL! Good tips. I am trying to use less paper towels as well. Just making sure to use the clothe towels in the kitchen instead.
Thanks for coming by my site and leaving such a sweet comment about the RD article. :-)

Christine said...

I too am working on using less and less paper towels. I use micro fiber towels for cleaning and the little wash cloths the kids had as infants to wash their hands and faces after meals. I always forget to use the newspapers for windows, I mean I get 4 Sunday papers they should go to some use. Thanks for the reminder!

'Becca said...

Great tips! We are down to about 2 rolls of paper towels a year. The trouble is, we got a bargain on the 100% recycled, chlorine-free type by buying a CASE, and at this rate they're going to last a long time! We have donated several rolls to church and such.

I've been gradually going green for about 20 years and recently put together an index of my best green tips to hand out at a presentation. I love the way green choices usually save money, too!


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