The Easy Step To Using Fewer Paper Towels In Your Home

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In a world that's rapidly shifting its focus to sustainable living, small everyday habits can make a significant impact. One habit that many households overlook is the excessive use of paper towels. While they're undoubtedly convenient, their continuous use not only hits our wallets but also contributes to environmental degradation. With this said, if you're seeking an easy step to cut back on paper towel consumption in your home, look no further than reusable paper towels.

Before diving into how to implement this greener solution, let's look into paper towel usage. According to the American Institute for Economic Research, in 2018 — and therefore, predating the pandemic and the nation's surge in demand for paper products — Americans spent approximately $5.7 billion on paper towels alone. While paper towels can be biodegradable, many don't get disposed of or composted properly. Per data from the Environmental Protection Agency, most single-use paper products end up in landfills, where they slowly decompose and produce methane (via Stanford Magazine), a potent, environmentally toxic greenhouse gas. Not to mention that the production of paper towels requires an insurmountable quantity of trees, water, and energy.

These staggering facts paint a dire picture for the environment and our wallets. So, what are some eco-friendly alternatives? Reusable paper towels like Papaya, Three Bluebirds, and Geometry are a few of the options today. Note that a single reusable towel can replace 17 rolls of disposable paper towels, per Papaya. Cloth towels like microfiber, flannel, and cotton can also be effective alternatives.

How to integrate reusable paper towels into your home

So, you've committed to cut back on paper towel use and stocked up on reusable towels. How do you integrate this sustainable practice into daily life, though? This above TikTok from @jessicahaizman is a case in point: Simply, keep the towels in easily accessible spots. For instance, if you often reach for a paper towel after washing your hands, ensure there's a cloth towel system near the sink. You can get organizational bins to keep new towels (this is what TikToker @jessicahaizman used from Amazon) and a designated laundry basket (like this one by mDesign, also available on Amazon) for the used ones.

To make the transition even smoother, designate certain towels for specific tasks. For instance, have a set for drying hands, another for cleaning spills, and another for wiping down surfaces. It's also important to own a proportionate number of cloth towels, so you have enough to rotate through while some are in the wash. This ensures hygiene and also helps in organizing your cleaning routine. You can create labels for these different towels, like in the TikTok video, and paste those on your storage unit.

Making a sustainable change like this is a collective effort. Educate your family members or housemates about the new system and encourage them to reach for cloth towels instead of paper ones. The transition might require some adjustments, but with conscious effort and the embrace of reusables, it becomes effortless. Take that step today and make your home a little greener!