There is no getting away from the fact that paper towels can be extremely helpful when it comes to wiping, cleaning or drying.
You simply pick one up, use it and then throw it in your trash. It’s simple. They dont require washing or organising like other alternative might and let’s face it they aren’t excruciatingly expensive.
But, here’s what is excruciating US citizens spend $5.7billion a year on paper towels!
Although paper towels have an unarguably low carbon footprint individually when combined they are a large cause of deforestation and global warming as well as the world’s waste problem.
So if we all start to cut back on our paper towel usage now this could have a major positive impact on our planet.
The birds could keep their natural habitat, the polar bears’ homes could stop melting and the world’s trash pile could stop piling up and up and up. So here are some great ways to stop using paper towels:
- Limit yourself and others- As is the case with anything going from all to nothing is likely to fail so first try to cut back. As a family, you could make this a competition because we all know a family competition is a sure way to bring everyone’s competitive side out and encourage everyone to stick to the new goal.
A good way of monitoring everyone’s paper towel usage is with individual piles and a tally charge. So let’s say Jennifer uses one this comes straight out of her small pile and a tally goes under her name. At the end of the week whoever has used the least is crowned the winner. To make it even more exciting you could offer a prize. Each week try to reduce the amount that each of you are using until it is as close to zero as possible.
- Get some cloth towels- Cloth towels are a great replacement for paper towels as they can be used for exactly the same purposes yet are reusable so contribute to waste much, much less.
The chances are you probably already have some cloth towels chilling at the back of a draw somewhere that you can dig out but if not they are super cheap to buy. Make sure you have a few so they are readily on hand as if they are not accessible and easy to use it is easy to start to regress back to old ways!
- Keep hand towels in the bathroom- Similarly, it is very easy to quickly dry your hands on a paper towel when leaving the bathroom. A good way of combating this common usage is by having hand towels on show in the bathroom.
Not only are they better for the environment but they are also much nicer to your hands so the chances are that once you start using proper hand towels you’ll wonder why you ever chose paper towels in the first place. Perhaps choose some fun towels so that the children are more inclined to use them too. Having their own towel can make a child much more likely to use it and look after it as they will start to take a degree of pride in it.
- Have a place for dirty towels and kitchen towels- This may sound obvious and somewhat random but not having a specific place for dirty towels to go can lead to them being left all over the place. If this starts to happen it is very easy for them to be missed out when doing the washing. No clean kitchen or bathroom towels is a recipe for disaster as it is seen as a free pass to revert back to paper towels!
Therefore, it is super important to have a special washing basket for them both so that you can see when they need washing. Having one in each place that you frequently use the towels could be a great idea as it means they can be put straight into the basket, perhaps one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom could be a great starting point.
The baskets do not have to be ugly and misplaced, in fact quite the opposite, they can be used to pull the vibe of a room together, as a final finishing touch. It is easy enough to find cheap but nice baskets online, at Walmart or at Target so don’t worry about wasting your money at super expensive and over priced shops.
Stopping using paper towels may seem like a daunting task, especially if they have been a part of your daily life for a long time but when you start to realise the detrimental impact that your usage is having on the environment you also start to realise how badly you want to stop using them.
As previously stated, a problem shared truly is a problem halved so the best place to start may be by consulting with your family about your goal.
This way you will also know that you will have support and will not be dragged back into old habits.
It is important to remember that there are lots of equally good if not better alternatives such as washable cloths and towels.