The paper towel is another feature of our everyday household item list-like liquid soap-that we don’t really think about changing. It’s been there since we can remember, and it seems like it should be. The thing is, a lot of trees are being chopped down on behalf of our paper-towel usage. As a lifelong resident of the northwest, I love trees and can’t imagine living anywhere without them. We’re spoiled here in Seattle, but the thought of trees being chopped somewhere just so we can have a more convenient way to clean up our messes is an unsettling one. If you’re looking to reduce or eliminate your use of paper towels but feel rather disoriented at the prospect, I’m with you. How can we do it?
One way to do it is to acquire a few rags that you can use solely for the purpose of cleaning up messes in the kitchen. Not only will this allow you to cut back on paper towels, it will also let you get more out of the energy used in your wash cycle by bringing the rags in on the fun. If it’s a particularly nasty muck that would make you feel uncomfortable with using the same rag ever again, you could keep an emergency paper towel supply around, just try to use a roll made out of post-consumer recycled paper.
Besides the environmental benefits, using rags instead of paper towels will save you a lot of money in the long run. Rags are a small, one-time purchase, while paper towels are a small but continuous purchase.