Though becoming environmentally friendly has become hugely trendy in recent years, it’s a trend I can definitely get behind. Every little bit of progress is better than none, and luckily, it’s been easier than I thought to make small changes in my life that eliminate landfill waste and help preserve natural resources. Three of the easiest changes involved switching from paper products to fabric replacements.
Ditch the Paper Towels
By buying few dozen dishcloths, you can eliminate paper towel from your kitchen. You can find dishcloths pretty cheaply at dollar stores or discount stores, which makes them easily replaceable when they get too stained. Ambitious people can even knit them! I keep them in a basket under the sink; I even roll a few in a basket on the counter for a decorative touch. Just toss dirty ones in the laundry. Washing a load in cold water and drying them on the clothesline in the backyard saves even more energy! When they get too grungy to look nice hanging on the stove, move them to the cleaning-rag pile until you’ve wrung as much use out of each one as you can.
Classy Cloth Napkins
Along the lines of dishcloths, fabric napkins are an easy replacement for paper napkins. Keep a stash in a kitchen drawer and have enough to rotate in order to not do laundry too often. You can keep on the lookout for sets of napkins at yard sales or at discount stores, and you can even sew a few from fabric scraps- very little experience with a sewing machine is needed (There’s even a pattern for no-sew napkins)! They’re an inexpensive and fun way to add a little flair to the dining room table and add a touch of fanciness to dinner parties. Plus, a damp fabric napkin won’t fall apart like a paper one.
Swap Tissues for Handkerchiefs
Ditching the Kleenex and using handkerchiefs is another major change you can easily make. I bought a bundle at an estate sale, and one hot-water wash later, they were ready to use. Stores like Target carry them, sometimes in the men’s section. Much like napkins, they’re easy to sew, either with a sewing machine or by hand – they also make great gifts.
Fabric is much gentler on the nose, even compared to tissues containing lotion. Plus, handkerchiefs can be a fun addition to your wardrobe – I’m not above admitting that I choose which one to carry based on my outfit. Darker ones are great for blotting lipstick, and all are very useful during cold and flu season.
Without a lot of hassle, you can make the transition from disposable paper products to reusable fabric replacements and do your part to help the environment.
Have you made the switch to any of these? What else have you traded in the paper products for? Share in the comments below!