Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Paper Towels...by Jessica

So it has taken me over a year to finally cut way back on my paper towel usage. How cut back? Well, it seems that we are using about 1 roll every 8-10 weeks versus about 1 roll every 1-2 weeks.

I honestly didn't think I could find a system that would work, but although it's not perfect and I'm still working out the kinks, here's how I cut back.

Using Nate Berkus' money, I bought about 30 cloth napkins and a stainless steel small garbage can that fits underneath my kitchen sink. Now at meals, everyone knows that we use cloth napkins and after dinner, everyone has to put their dirty napkin under the sink (we're still fine-tuning the system, but typically the same napkin is used by the same person all day, it just sits rumpled and messily on the kitchen table throughout the day).

I also purchased an ample amount of flour sack cloth dish towels and I have them handy to grab for wiping up spills, cleaning the countertops, laying them out to make the kids lunches, etc. I still want to make them more easily accessible, like a bin on the counter, or a big basket in the corner....I'm still mulling over my plan.

I still have to clean some things with paper towels, I just can't bring myself to use towels for scrubbing down toilets.

But - I am almost at the point where I can take the paper towel holder off the counter and have the paper towels tucked away somewhere. That's huge for me. HUGE. I really love paper towels.

Juli must share how she NEVER uses paper towels. You must have a gigantic bin of rags. Everyone kept telling me that the laundry would be crazy, but I have not found that to be so at all. Everyone please share your paper towel reduction tips with me!


Juliana said...

I am so proud of you!!!!! I have been paper towel/napkin free for probably a year now. I have a pretty big pile of rags that are basically old white cleaning towels. I think the key is to always have a pile on hand and in the messiest place, the kitchen. The only time I really miss paper towels is when I cook bacon and I want to place them on something to soak up the oil. So far I have been using newspaper...works pretty good!

Amara said...

Your family of four’s previous usage of 1-2 rolls a week baffles me. In a good way. I’m embarrassed to say that I can use one roll a week just on my own (holding hands out to be slapped). I just can’t stand the idea of using a used towel to dry my clean hands on. Even if i'm the only one using it and it gets replaced often. However, you girls have some really good ideas and are encouraging me to make some earth friendly changes. We will see…

Anonymous said...

Jessica sorry i have no tips. your doing a great Job

Jessica Boudreau said...

I have gotten hooked to these norwex cloths. THEY ARE AWESOME. Even though I think it's ridiculous to spend $15 on a "rag" but you only need water to clean. It has some special qualities that make it clean things streak free and antibacterial. My girlfriend and I went to one of those parties and we split a rag actually had it surged in two since we are so cheap. Well now I'm getting more of my own. They are a high end microfiber, not like the ones at Walmart. They make mirrors and windows spotless with just water. So all in all I'm saving paper towls AND cleaning suppplies. No need for windex in my house. Way easier to use too and enviro friendly. They have ones to wash your face too which they even take off waterproof mascara in probably 2 easy swipes, with just water. REALLY. So i don't need makeup remover either! Let me know if you want more info. I actually am throwing a party this next week, if anyone is interested! Keep up the good work Jess.

Jessica said...

I can't do it, I have a puppy that still pee's on the floor and I can't bring myself to use cloth to clean it up and then throw it in the wash, yuck! But that is about all we use them for!

Jessica said...

Yes, Juli - paper towels are always used for my bacon cooking too!!! Newspaper, huh? Good idea! Amara, I used to not like the kitchen towel idea either, but you eventually do get over it. Jessica B - I want more details, those sound awesome!!!! Jessica - I can't use rags for the gross stuff either, puppy pee - definitely paper towels!

Lorna said...

I love the idea of the special can for the dirties. Beats how I currently throw dirty cloth napkins and dish towels across the counter to a mini pile by the door that leads to our garage.

My biggest paper towel saver has been investing in the micro fiber glass and mirror cloths by H2O at home. Note that these are used for our business where the 2 large mirrors and front door are cleaned 2x/day 7 days a week. Switching to the cloths that just require a bit of water has reduced our paper towel use 75+%