Ditch the paper towels

Think about your day. If you’re like most Americans, you used a few paper towels, and threw them in the trash — whether you used a public restroom, spent some time cooking, or cleaned up a mess in the house. And it adds up, stunningly, to 13 billion pounds of paper towels in the US each year. That averages about 40 pounds per person, every year.

What can be done? Ultimately, the only sustainable paper towel is one that’s both made from recycled content AND composted or recycled when it’s done. But the best solutions are probably to use something other than paper – something that can be reused, rather than disposed.

At home on the counter
Here are our favorite tips:

  • Think ahead. Bring a hand towel or handkerchief, so you won’t need paper towels. Also handy!
  • If you’re looking to buy something made specifically for this purpose, try People Towels.
  • In your kitchen, use dish towels and rags instead of paper towels.
  • You can find some lovely (and pricey!) homemade “unpaper-towels” for sale at Etsy and elsewhere.

Do you have a good solution for avoiding paper towel waste? Let us know!

Photo credit: Tanya Hart and TheatreDork25, via Flickr

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