skip the paper towels

i haven't bought a roll of paper towels in 5 years. many years ago when i started learning about our environment and what effect we have on it, i quickly felt a personal responsibility to reduce my impact. first on the list was to cut out any unnecessary items. what was first? paper towels! they are a convenience we simply can't afford. we just don't need 'em. here are some quick statistics:

- americans send 3,000 tons of paper towels to landfills each day.

- 51,000 trees per day are required to replace the number of paper towels that are discarded every day.

- the paper industry is the third largest contributor to global warming.

ready for the solution? switch to cute cloth napkins and dish towels!

vintage napkins
if your household uses one roll of paper towels per week, you could save more than $100 per year by switching to dishcloths, tea towels and napkins. plus, how darling is it to hand out cute vintage napkins to your guests rather than paper towels?!

think you can make the switch?

vintage napkins:

{row 1: 60's neon splash napkins, gray and burgundy napkins, vintage napkins}
{row 2: rust rose circa 1950, lime green linen dinner napkins, mod rust and brown linen napkins}
{row 3: turquoise and fruit napkins, vintage earthtoned colored napkins, linen harvest dinner napkins}

simple living
resources: 1800recycling, a lighter footprint

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  • We recently took on removing paper towels from the grocery list. I ended up making my own “paper towel” rolls out of old shirts simply because I knew I wouldn’t use pretty ones for ugly messes. I do want to get some pretty ones though for napkins and such. I’m a new follower of your blog and you have such great inspiration on here.

    Here’s my tutorial on how to make ’em:

  • LOVE this post! This is something I have been trying to talk my husband into for quite some time!
    I posted a link to your site on my blog. Hope that is ok.
    Your blog is so great! I always enjoy reading it!

  • I really want to, but my husband is a self admitted paper towel addict. I somehow have to make him think it is his idea, then I can switch.

  • I have been doing this for about a year now! At first, my family and friends were afraid to get my napkins dirty:) Yard sales are a great place to pick up a few at a time. I love it that they don’t have to match!

  • We have cut way down on our paper towel and paper napkin usage but I worry about wiping up things like raw chicken juice with a cloth then inadvertently using it for something else. Any suggestions?

    • hey nanci! hmm.. don’t eat chicken? just joking!

      sure! i would just be really careful to throw them right in the wash or a little kitchen ‘laundry bucket’ right after you use them. the laundry will def get them clean (were you worried about that?) b/c afterall, people wash some pretty gross stuff and it all comes out ok (cloth baby diapers, anyone?). i also like jess’s suggestion above, about how she made her own ‘roll’ out of cotton t-shirts- that way you could easily toss them if they got too gross. here are the instructions on how to do that. also, you could always just keep a roll of (maybe recycled) paper towels for just the super dirty jobs, and you would still be cutting way back on your usage. what do you think?