Monday, August 22, 2016

DIY -- landfill footprint

So I've posted about my experiences with hankies but I forgot to tell you about another no-waste habit breaker.

I bought terry cloth kitchen towels.
I air-dry my dishes most of the time.
What I was using paper towels for was drying my hands and cleaning the house.
I was using a lot of paper towels.
I could have switched to 100% recycled paper towels and helped save 2.2 million trees, according to one website.
BUT trees had to die anyway to make the paper that was recycled into those paper towels.
AND those recycled paper towels should NOT go into your recycling bin because of the grease on them as well as other issues raised in the article.

Cloth kitchen towels, like cloth hankies, can be hand-washed.
That means you don't need to wait until you have a full load of wash before you get the funk out of them.
And they do get funky.
They take well to castile soap which, as I have said before, gets oil and grease out better than detergents do.
They can dry on an outside clothesline; you want to do this if you are handwashing the towels.
It makes no sense to avoid using a washing machine for only one towel and then use the dryer for that same towel.
So you want to have at least 2 and preferably 3 towels so you don't have to wait for that one towel  to dry.

The kitchen towels in your local store might be boring, but you can buy cotton terry cloth in a bunch of colors by the yard off the web, make your own, and add fancy ribbon that you can also buy online.
There are also websites with patterns for crocheting or knitting towels and dishcloths, which means you can make them in colorful patterns.
This is what you can get from one of my favorite sources for products and patterns.
The patterns are free, buy the fiber and, if you need them, needles and, if  you need them, free lessons on Youtube.

There are over 300 million people in the USA.
If we are sending 2.2 million trees to their deaths by not using recycled paper towels,
you do the math and find out how many trees YOU are killing just for paper towels.
I've cut my paper towel use by 80%.
A roll lasts me a couple of months but then you have a family.
Make several cloth towels in each  person's favorite color or funky design.
Get everybody used to reaching for those instead of for the paper towel roll when all they're doing is drying their hands.
Better yet, teach your kids a valuable skill by having them knit or crochet their  own.

If you have a mess on the floor and you soak it up in cloth towels, you wash  and re-use instead of sending a whole roll of paper towels to the trash.
Except for pet messes.  Pet messes need paper towels.  They also need to be put out of the house right away.
Well, anyway, look around your house and see where you are using paper towels that really shouldn't be sent to recycling, and see if you  can use cloth towels for those things.

One more thing that those of you in a relationship probably already realize.
If you're going to be the one to suggest doing this,
you have to contribute part of the labor.
Especially the maintenance part -- the washing. 
It will only mess up your relationship if you're always the one advocating these labor intensive ideas and not the one contributing any of the labor.

I'm just saying....

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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