This is Day 44 of the Green in 365 series!
By Kim from The Soulicious Life
Paper napkins and towels are a staple in many kitchens. They are all we had in my New England colonial growing up, and I’m not alone. A 2007 study shows the consumption of paper towels and other tissue products is highest in the United States at approximately 52 pounds per capita. That’s 17 pounds higher than in Europe and more than 500 times higher than in Latin America.
While the one-time use of paper napkins and towels may be handy in a world where we are taught convenience rules, it’s also wasteful. The paper used is most-often made from virgin pulp extracted from wood or fiber and bleached to whiten the color. Therefore, the cost of paper towels and napkins isn’t just the price tag at the grocery store; it is also a tree cut down and toxic chemicals released into the environment.
Photo by Kim @ The Soulicious Life
Choose Cloth Instead
While you can find 100% recycled paper towels and napkins from earth-friendly companies these days, a better option is cloth. A small initial investment of cloth-based towels and napkins in your kitchen can make a big impact. Not to mention that using cloth napkins at home makes every meal feel a little bit fancier!
Find great deals at your local discount, dollar – or better yet – thrift store. If you sew, you can even make your own from scraps of fabric! If you are addicted to the “roll,” you’ll find lots of great options on Etsy for rolls of “Un-Paper Towels.”
You’ll be surprised at how many uses on average you can get out of napkins and towels before tossing in the laundry. Note: Guests are the exception to my rule; they always get a fresh napkin that goes directly into the laundry after one use.
To make washing a breeze, set aside a special basket in the laundry room just for kitchen napkins and towels. They come out of the laundry fresh, clean and ready for another round of multiple uses. Just be sure to use eco-friendly laundry soap and never fabric softener which will hinder absorbency.
Your grocery bill will thank you, and so will the earth.
How have you made cloth towels and napkins a part of your routine at home?
More Green-Cleaning Kitchen Ideas:
Denver-based Kim Daly, a.k.a SoulMomma, believes that an eco-friendly existence should be part of any healthy lifestyle. When not nurturing her compost bin or buying new-to-her items, she can be found discovering delicious vegetarian recipes, hiking with her family, and striking a yoga pose anywhere she can. Learn to nourish your body, your soul and the planet on her blog, The Soulicious Life.
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