“So what about paper towels?”
This is a question that I get from time to time from people trying to reduce their carbon footprint. I have a couple of suggestions for you. We implement both of these things at our house.
Suggestion 1: Cloth Towels, or “UnPaper” Towels as we like to call them
I purchased these cute cloth towels on Etsy from Anne Riggs Designs. We have been using them for about four months now and they are holding up beautifully. They are extremely absorbent, well made and adorable. Two thumbs up in my book. Thanks Anne! I also purchased these cloth napkins from her.
Of course if you have a serger or are savvy with a sewing machine, you can attempt to whip these up yourself. I do have a sewing machine and try to challenge myself into using it from time to time…but I can tell you, the cloth napkins I have made to not hold up like these. Sometimes it’s best to support someone else at what they are really good at doing!
Lucky you, a peak into our trash can! I promise I would not have taken this picture had these been stinky diapers… However, I felt this the best view to explain our set up. We have a receptacle for trash and a receptacle for cloth napkins and towels. I wash the towels at minimum every two days, but typically I run a load every night. Between the kid’s stained clothes that need immediate washing and our towel usage, it is not difficult for us to run at least one load of laundry per night. Because of this, I am able to keep my towels and napkins clean and minimize the possibility of mold or mildew while stored in the wet bag pail liner (from Planet Wise..I love this pail liner).
Our UnPaper Towels fit onto a regular paper towel roll and hang under our cabinets, but we keep our napkins and other clothes in a drawer (along with our bibs…).
Suggestion 2: Use recycled, or mostly recycled paper towels when needed. Sometimes you NEED a paper towel. We have kids and dogs, trust me, we understand. If you are using the paper towels with organic waste (most food items, water, juice spills etc…), then you can compost your paper towels after using. We are able to throw most of our paper towels into our kitchen compost keeper along with our table scraps. However, if we are cleaning up the kids paint, or something that cannot be composted, the paper towels must be thrown away.
Curious what your carbon footprint is? You can take a free online quiz here.