Our friends Stacey and Chris are supercool and awesomely forward thinking in so many ways. I'm constantly inspired by their efforts at living more consciously and purely.
In their house, they avoid paper products to the best of their ability which translates to: I've never seen them use a paper towel! Yes, that means no paper towel. No paper towel in a house with an 18 month old! It's crazy to think that this should be so surprising, but it is. We are so dependent on paper to clean up our lives that it doesn't even occur to most of us to grab a kitchen towel as oppose to a paper one.
I do my best to use as much of our kitchen towels as possible, but to be honest they are just not as absorbent (and with Avi's new habit of pouring out her water to splash, we need absorbent around here).
I started off by buying the Seventh Generation paper towels, but those were really horrible. While they are definitely better for our environment in terms of production, I wound up using twice the amount due to the lack of absorbency. For a while it was really upsetting me that I couldn't find a reasonable solution.
Finally I stumbled across these in the market:
They are AMAZING! They absorb better than conventional paper towels, ring out easily without ripping, and are super soft so as not to scratch any of your dishes or surfaces. They are the perfect blend of sponge and cloth!
And for in case of emergencies or on-the-go snacks, I have a few rolls of Marcal Small Steps paper towels around the house. They are made from 100% recycled paper and have been since 1950. I use their bathroom tissue as well (it's softer than the Seventh Generation).
Some 40% of trash in our landfills is made up of paper products! It seems so silly to me that when we can be using recycled materials to make the same products we mostly don't. Why would we cut down more trees and further pollute our air and water?!?
Green Seal's Choose Green Report has a bunch of good information (and is a pretty short document) worth reading. It talks about how recycling and buying recycled products can cut back on so much of the damage we are currently causing and how by buying PCF or Processed Chlorine Free products (like diapers!!!) we can avoid some immune and reproductive system problems we are unknowingly inflicting upon ourselves.
My goal is to avoid as much paper use as possible (including printing emails, articles, etc, reading the "paper" online). Twist Euro Sponge Cloths have been treating me well (as have all the other products they make. Check them out here) and I feel comfortable supporting a company like Marcal when I need to use paper products.
Are any of you on board? The more of us that commit to trying, the cleaner our world will be!