How to Reduce Paper Towel Use
Whether you’re trying to make a zero waste bathroom or you’re working toward making your kitchen more eco-friendly, cutting back on paper towel use is important. Discover some incredibly simple ways you can reduce paper towel use to help save trees, save money, and cut back on your waste.
Why It’s Important to Reduce Paper Towel Use
Even though everyone knows that the very trees we rely on for the air we breathe and climate control are cut down to make paper towels, a lot of people don’t think twice about grabbing a paper towel to wipe up a mess or dry their hands.
But when you consider some of the sobering facts behind paper towel use, it quickly becomes apparent that this is one important area to focus on when you’re trying to live a more eco-friendly life:
- Around 20,000 gallons of water are polluted and 17 trees are cut down to make one ton of paper towels.
- In the U.S. alone, people use approximately 13 BILLION pounds of paper towels every year.
- We could save 544,000 trees each year if every household in the U.S. used just one less 70-sheet roll of paper towels.
And if you think it’s OK to use paper towels because they’ll eventually biodegrade, think again. Decomposing paper towels produce methane gas, which is the leading cause of global warming.
Plus, don’t forget that trees aren’t just cut down to make paper towels. We also lose around 27,000 trees EVERY DAY to make toilet paper. That’s why it’s also very important to consider switching to an eco-friendly toilet paper.
Incredibly Easy Ways to Reduce Paper Towel Use
Alright. So now we understand why we want to reduce paper towel use. But is it something we can actually do? Absolutely!
These 5 simple steps can help you reduce paper towel use in your home. Even better, most of them can also help you save money since you won’t have to buy a new roll of paper towels every few weeks.
1. Use Cloth Napkins for Dining
When I decided to cut back on the number of paper towels my family was using every day, the very first thing I did was buy these cloth napkins. This switch DRASTICALLY reduced our paper towel use.
If you think about it for a second, it’s easy to see why this was such an important first step.
If we were home all day, each person would typically use a paper towel during breakfast, lunch, dinner, and possibly even snack.
That was up to four paper towels in just one day and for just one person. And there are three of us in this family. Whoa. That was A LOT of paper towels.
When you make the switch to cloth napkins, I highly recommend getting a dark shade. They do a much better job of hiding food stains.
I simply keep a basket on my counter filled with clean cloth napkins. When we’re ready to eat, we can grab a napkin out of the basket. I also keep a basket next to the washing machine for the dirty napkins. After we’re done eating, we just toss the napkins in that basket until it’s laundry day.
2. Use Kitchen Towels for Drying Hands
For a lot of people, grabbing a paper towel to dry off their hands after washing them is second nature. If this is you, another simple way to reduce paper towel use is to hang up a kitchen towel for drying hands.
We actually keep two kitchen towels hanging up at all times. One we use to dry our hands after washing them, and the other we use to dry any dishes we have to hand wash.
If they get dirty, we simply toss them in same basket as the cloth napkins so they can also get washed on laundry day.
3. Switch to Unpaper Towels for Cleaning
Aside from eating, I noticed that the other time I tend to use a lot of paper towels is when I’m cleaning. To make my cleaning routine more eco-friendly, I knew I had to find a good swap here as well.
That’s why I ultimately went with these organic unbleached cotton unpaper towels. They’re super absorbent, so they work great at wiping up all of my natural cleaning products.
Plus, since they’re unbleached and made from organic cotton, I can feel better knowing the environment wasn’t harmed to make them.
I keep a basket of unpaper towels right next to our basket of cloth napkins so they’re easy to grab whenever we need to wipe something up in the kitchen. You can also roll them up so they slide over your existing paper towel holder.
If you’re wondering why I always recommend using cotton unpaper towels for cleaning, check out this post to see why cotton unpaper towels are more eco-friendly than microfiber cleaning cloths.
Of course, I’m a mom, so I understand that there are certain messes you don’t want to clean up with a reusable paper towel. In that case, choose one of these best eco-friendly paper towels. These tree-free paper towels are a more sustainable option since they’re made from either bamboo or recycled paper.
4. Reuse What You Already Have
In addition to using unpaper towels for cleaning, you can also use what you already have around the house to make cleaning rags.
If you have T-shirts, socks, sheets, towels, or washcloths that are too worn or dirty to donate, cut them into rags. This is also a great option if you’re concerned about cross-contamination.
As an example, you can designate red rags for cleaning the bathroom, black rags for cleaning the kitchen, white rags for dusting furniture, and so on.
Cutting up old clothes and towels is also a great way to make your own homemade reusable disinfecting wipes, which can help cut down on waste from disposable disinfecting wipes.
5. Move Your Paper Towels
The last thing I did to reduce paper towel use in our house was to move the paper towel holder off the counter and put it in the back of a cabinet.
I know this seems like such a silly tip, but think about how many times you reach for a paper towel simply because it’s always right there.
Instead of having your paper towels out on the counter and within easy reach, put your unpaper towels or cloth napkins in their place. When you need to dry your hands or wipe something up, you’ll be reaching for a reusable option instead of a disposable one.
Simple Ways to Reduce Paper Towel Use
If you’re looking for a way to help the environment and save money at the same time, reducing your paper towel use is a great place to start. Thanks to these helpful and easy-to-follow tips, you’ll have no problems removing paper towels from your home.
More Eco-Friendly Living Tips
Now that you see how easy it is to reduce paper towel use, are you interested in even more excellent eco-friendly tips? Then be sure to check out some of our other popular posts:
- How to Make Homemade Soft Scrub
- Unbelievably Easy Eco-Friendly Laundry Tips
- Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Common Household Products
- How to Naturally Get Rid of Ants