Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kickin' the Paper Habit

We are a nation with at least two destructive habits, and I am not even talking about drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. We are a nation with an insatiable appetite for oil and paper, however oil is a topic for another day. The typical American household uses many paper products: paper cups, paper napkins, paper tissues, taper towels, toilet paper, paper grocery bags, paper lunch bags, disposable diapers, disposable feminine hygiene items, and the list goes on. Now there are disposable cleaning pads for your disposable floor cleaner, disposable wash cloths, disposable toilet paper liners.

We are not a paper using family with two exceptions: toilet paper and feminine hygiene products. My husband objects to the letting go of the former, though there truly are some viable solutions. I have simply not had the time to experiment with the latter, though I plan to one day. Gross, you might be thinking, but here's the alternative: the bulk of feminine hygiene products wind up in landfills, perhaps the very landfill upon which your house is built. We do not know how long these items take to decompose in a landfill as one has yet to do so.

That said, I am not expecting anyone to make that drastic of a change... not yet anyway. An easy way one can reduce their paper consumption and landfill contribution is to start using cloth napkins. Besides being an environmentally responsible choice, cloth napkins are pretty. We use only cotton or linen napkins. They are very absorbent and can be used to quickly wipe up anything your kids can spill before it hits the floor. No more running for wads of paper towels. No more ruining everyone else's napkins when a spill occurs. (I happen to know this first hand.) Cloth napkins are easy to launder and fold. I just toss them in with our daily laundry, give them a stiff shake, and hang them on the line to dry. I have started halving them over the clothesline like this:

This method causes me to do one less fold and makes a nice crease. When folded I store them in a basket next to our dishes.
Hope you are inspired to kick the paper habit, one paper product at a time.

1 comment:

Feener said...

i have memories of my dad carrying a handkerchief and i would blow my nose into it. i have often thought that a handkerchief needs to make a comeback.