Although it is a a year old, I recently saw a great TED talk on how to use a paper towel. In it Joe Smith illustrates pointedly as well as repeatedly, how to dry your hands on any type of paper towel you’re likely to encounter. I watched it a few months ago, and since then have found myself acutely aware of my own and others’ paper towel consumption. We throw a lot of stuff away, and a lot of it is paper!
Many years ago I was visiting a friend in Key West, and he was quite proud of the fact that he generated very little trash. It was a concept I’ve held on to, and I try to be aware of my own trash generation. There are many ways we can easily reduce our paper consumption, and many of them are really nice! At home I rarely use paper towels; I dry my hands on a dish towel, I clean my counters with a flat sponge that I keep clean by putting in the dishwasher every time I run it, and the only thing I can think of doing with them is using them to drain bacon.
How many paper napkins do you use in a day? I have some paper cocktail napkins around for parties, but we only use cloth napkins. They’re not fancy, they go in the washing machine, they’re pretty, and are way less expensive than paper napkins. You can get them from all kinds of retailers, and I saw some really nice ones at Etsy that were so adorable and reasonable I’m thinking of getting some more! Once you start using cloth instead of paper you will never miss that scratchy paper feel, and you will have so much less trash!
How about tissues? How many boxes of those do you go through? Could you give those up? This is a BIG ONE; I am a hankie user. I have been using them for years, and before you start telling me how gross you think they are (I’ve heard it all) I will do my brief infomercial for hankies.
- They are cute- you can get them in all kinds of cute and retro prints
- If you use real cotton hankies you will never, ever get a red, crusty nose—no matter how bad your cold is, or how runny your nose, it will not get irritated at all, I promise
- If you have a cold, all you need are two sandwich bags, one with clean hankies, and one for the used ones. The dirty ones go in the washing machine, and get clean.
- You are not making more trash, and using pulp paper products
I am aware as I wrap this up, so to speak, that this really isn’t about food, so I’ll finish with this; with all the money you save by not buying so many paper towels, not buying paper napkins at all, and at least reducing your tissue consumption, you can get something much better for you and the environment grass fed beef! We can talk about that another time. Are you up for the challenge of using less paper, and making less trash? If you’re still wavering, drive by a landfill site, and let me know what you think!