Monday, July 18, 2016

Giving Up the Go-To Paper Towel

In several What You Can Do posts, we have mentioned trying our best to go green by giving up paper towels or using paper towels that come from recycled materials.  This summer I decided to try hard to give up a few non eco-friendly habits - starting with my dependence on paper towels. Giving up paper towels has always been a goal of mine - but honestly I have never attempted it out of sheer certainty that I could never do it. I will be the first to admit that using paper towels is easy and convenient.  Got a spill?  Grab a paper towel. Gotta clean a messy face? Grab a paper towel. A few weeks ago I went to a friend's house for a play date. Of course my kid got peanut butter all over his face and I asked where her paper towels were. She said "oh actually we don’t use paper towels.  There are some dish towels over there." She continued on and said "I know it’s weird but we try."  I responded, "No!  That is not weird at all.  It’s impressive and something I have always wanted to attempt." 

Cut to today:

My dish towel pile that makes it easy to grab a towel to clean up.
This is the same spot where my paper towels use to be.
I am currently running paper towel free!!!  But it hasn’t happened overnight. It is hard to change one’s habits. The first few days I kept reaching for the paper towels, and when they weren't there I would get mad and begrudgingly go find a dish towel. After a few days I realized if I was going to be successful - I had to make it as easy to grab a dish towel as it was to grab a paper towel. Usually I keep my towels inside a cabinet. But in order to make this work I moved my dish towels to a spot on my counter…right where the paper towels use to live. I also discovered that the non-absorbent dish towels wouldn’t help me clean up anything. So I switched them out and only keep the most useful towels on the counter. 
Ditching paper towels does mean more laundry, but I am lucky that my washer is right next to my kitchen. So if something is super dirty, I just toss it into the washer where it can stay until I have enough laundry to run a full load. I also went ahead and put wash cloths in my kitchen to clean my son's dirty hands and face after meal time. I also have to do my best to avoid constantly using a new towel every time. Otherwise I end up with so many towels hanging from my fridge door that I can barely use the handle to open the fridge.  

It's not perfect, but at least it is a start.  And honestly I am so proud that I have been able to keep this new habit up for over a month. Now my only problem is that I am not sure what to do with the Costco-sized package of paper towels in my garage!

Are you paper towel-less?  What are your tricks and tips?!

Comment below and tell us. 



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