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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

An Easy Way To Go Green - Reduce Paper Towel Consumption

By Scarlet

Choosing to use cloth dish towels or sponges instead of paper towels is an easy way to reduce paper consumption and go green. Would that really help, you say? 

The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”  Every day, more than 3,000 tons of paper towel waste is produced in the U.S. alone*! To make one ton of paper towels, 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water are polluted. I hope these staggering numbers remind you that we can each make a difference every day with our simple choices.

When I first made the switch to dish towels, I kept some recycled paper towels on hand, “just in case.” I found that this was a big mistake. Everyone kept reaching for the paper towels out of habit so I decided to just cut them out “cold turkey.”

We don't miss the paper at all! We use cloth dish towels for drying our hands and we just keep them hanging over the oven door handle. For spills, I grab my sponge and wash it out afterwards. For scrubbing up harder to remove spots or sticky stuff I use my sponge or rags that I have made from worn out clothes, and keep those handy under my kitchen sink.  

There are other big benefits that come from eliminating disposable paper towels. Not adding paper towels to my grocery store cart saves money and it is one less bulky item I have to transport home. It takes a tiny bit of getting used to, but just imagine the impact your green choice can make.

If just half of us in America quit using paper towels, we could save 25,000+ trees every day!  Does that put a smile on your face?

*Statistics from (

3 Comments so far

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On Sunday, July 27, 2014, M wrote

Yes, we need to be more aware of our carbon foot print and actively collaborate to lower it. I am very happy using dish towel, dish cloths and sponges. We don't need paper towels in our kitchens. One more thing I'd like to share is that when we go to public restrooms we only need two pieces of towels (even if they are thin) to dry our hands, not anymore. Of course, let's don't use towels if they have hand driers.

On Wednesday, March 14, 2012, Marysa N. wrote

One of the things that I do is keep a rag in the backseat of the car, in the winter when the kids step up in the car to step up in their carseat, I've been wiping where they step into the car because I have a light beige interior. Prevents it from getting basically caked with muddy/salt. Although I probably wouldn't use these nice ones for that :) But great for kids. I'm trying to make cloth lunch napkins for the kids, we go through so many napkins at the table so cloth would be a lot nicer. I can't wait to try these!

On Thursday, February 23, 2012, Zoe @ecothrifty wrote

I agree, there is no need to use paper towels and reusable cloths / rags / sponge are the perfect replacement.


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