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Greener paper towel use

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It is more resource-friendly to use cloth towels and wash them than to buy paper towels. Here are some green clean up suggestions with and without paper towels:

  • Keep a drawer filled with clean reusable towels of different types in the kitchen. Super absorbent bar towels and microfiber towels are perfect.
  • It takes fewer resources to wash reusable towels in cold water in the laundry once a week than to make, package, ship and dispose of paper towels.
  • Kicking the paper towel habit saves money. An estimate is if the average roll costs one dollar and two rolls are used each week, $104 a year would be saved.
  • For paper towels that must be used, buy the ones with the most recycled content, that are post consumer content, not factory scraps, and are chlorine-free.
  • See the National Resources Defense Council for the list of recycled content in paper towels and napkins and those that are chlorine-free.
  • Compost used paper towels if possible instead of sending them to the landfill.
  • Use a scrub brush instead of paper towels or sponges for counter clean ups. They are more sanitary than sponges.
  • Install hooks somewhere handy to hang wet used cloths on to dry until ready to launder.
  • Put dry used cloths in a mesh laundry bag inside a cabinet until time to launder or in a reusable canvas grocery bag hung on the back of a door.
  • Keep a rag bag of used cloths made from strips of old sheets, t-shirts, cloth diapers, cloth napkins, unmatched socks, and towels to clean up nasty messes like bacon grease, vomit, and animal waste. Trash them instead of rewashing the rags. Old linens can be bought at yard sales and thrift shops.
  • Order online flour sack towels and cut them up into paper towel size. Wrap them around a paper towel holder overlapping by a few inches and rolling until the holder is full. They will unwrap like a roll of paper towels.
  • Use a small basket of clean rolled up cloths if no paper towel holder is available

Stop buying paper towels and you will learn alternative methods to using them. Watch the video.

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