Tag Archives: quit using paper towels

Go Paperless in the Kitchen – Green Gift Ideas

Most families use a lot of paper unnecessarily in the kitchen. That’s what makes it such a great target for going paperless. There are simple cloth alternatives for most paper used in the kitchen.

It’s also a nice gift idea for any time of year. You can give attractive cloth alternatives and help someone you care about use less paper in their kitchen or even go completely paper free.

This works best as a gift for someone who wants to be more eco friendly. If they just don’t care, these supplies will probably be tossed in with the rest of the cloth supplies they don’t use much. Cloth napkins will be used only rarely. Cloth towels pretty much reserved for drying dishes or hands.

You can provide a few types of cloth for use in the kitchen:

Cloth Napkins

Give a large selection of plain cloth napkins for daily use. A few different colors can be nice. Organic cotton is always a good choice.

For those you know enjoy entertaining, some nicer cloth napkins are a good addition. Look for attractive designs, maybe as a part of a set with a tablecloth or that can easily be paired with one.

Towels for Cleaning

An essential part of the paperless kitchen are the towels used in cleaning. Most people will go through a few of these a day.

I suggest some microfiber towels for their absorbency and cleaning ability. I have a few, and they’re great. Go for quality, as cheaper ones don’t really last as well. They can clean up spills, wipe countertops, dry hands, dry dishes, and more.

Towel Rack or Hooks

The one challenge with using cloth so much more is that you need a place to dry your damp cloth napkins or towels before throwing them in the laundry. You don’t want them to get moldy.

To make this gift complete, include a small towel rack or hooks that damp towels can be hung on to dry. These can be hung under the sink, in the laundry room, or wherever the washing machine is.

How to Quit Using Paper Towels

Paper towels are almost ubiquitous these days in the United States. Most families use them because they’re just so convenient! No extra laundry, just use that quicker picker upper and throw it in the trash.

Only trouble is that it’s a bit wasteful. How wasteful depends on the source of your paper towels, whether they’re made of post consumer recycled materials and so forth, but overall, they’re probably on the wasteful side of things. At the very least you have to keep buying them.

But they’re so convenient, how do you quit?

1. Warn your family

Your spouse and children are the most likely to resist the switch. It can be a bit difficult to get buy-in on getting rid of paper towels, even if you’re the main one doing the laundry.

On the other hand, my oldest was delighted to see that a microfiber cleaning cloth was indeed as good at absorbing water as the one on the commercial. Made paper towels a bit less interesting.

2. Pick other cleaning cloths

You have a few options for other cleaning cloths. The most eco friendly is to use rags made of cloths you’d be throwing out otherwise. Think of bath towels that have gone bad and are ready to be torn into smaller pieces. Think of t-shirts with holes that really shouldn’t be worn anymore.

These are great, eco friendly and really kind to the budget.

But if you’d rather buy something, microfiber cleaning cloths are popular with good reason. They do an amazingly good job, and good quality ones last a long time.

They’re made of synthetic materials, so they aren’t perfectly environmentally friendly, but the good ones last very well and are strong enough to help you get surfaces clean even without conventional cleaners. I use vinegar and/or baking soda for much of my cleaning, and those products get along great with my microfiber cloths.

Microfiber cleaning cloths are soft, but are textured well enough to scrub. They can absorb a nice amount of liquid, so one cloth can go pretty far when you’re cleaning.

3. Finish off, store or give away your remaining paper towels

You have the paper towels, you may as well use them. You have a few options for what exactly you’re going to do with them.

You could just finish off what you have, trying to slow down their use rather than making the family go cold turkey on paper towel use.

If you have an emergency kit, you could put the rolls in there. You will need such convenient supplies if you ever have the sort of emergency where you need to use an emergency kit, so having paper towels in there is really not a bad thing.

You could also give your excess paper towels away. Just tell the people you’re giving them to what you’re up to. They might want to follow along eventually.