It’s Earth Week, and we are celebrating by assessing our consumption and looking for ways to cut back. Here is another way that we accomplish this in our family, using cloth towels instead of disposable paper products.
This is an idea I implemented several years ago, even before I had kids. I bought packs of shop towels to use in place of paper towels. I even had a pack in my classroom when I was a teacher. While we didn’t use them for handwashing, we did use them for everything else: wiping down tables, cleaning off the whiteboard and overhead, and wiping up spills. I would just take them home to wash and bring back clean each week.
Expanding to Other Paper Products
Next up was to eliminate paper napkins. Cloth napkins are easy to wash and reuse. I tried using handkerchiefs instead of tissues, but that was short-lived. I love my Puffs Plus when I have a cold. My son has terrible allergies, so this would be a nightmare in our household now. As it is, we go through a lot of tissues, especially during allergy season.
The ultimate in trading cloth for disposables is in the area of baby care. Babies go through a lot of diapers in their lifetime! I knew we wanted to do cloth before Maggie was born. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it, so I probably could have done better if I had invested in it properly. By the time Carter came along, we used a hybrid system of disposable when out and cloth at home. Cloth diapers also led to cloth wipes, which we still have a stash of in our house, but we use them mostly for cleaning up instead of toileting.
While we still have some of the original shop towels around, I bought a pack of microfiber towels on Amazon several years ago that has become the staple towel for cleaning in our house. They are sturdy, perfectly sized, and come with three colors in the pack if you want to color-code your cleaning cloths.
Cut Back on Your Disposables
So where could you cut back on disposable paper products in your house? Napkins would be an easy place to start. Maybe you could try cleaning cloths and eliminate paper towels next. You could even go extreme and eliminate toilet paper and use cloth wipes instead!