It's Time to Ditch your Paper Towels.
DISCLOSURE: I myself have not fully made the switch from paper towels to reusable cloths. But I was aware of the emerging trend and I wanted to research what all the hype was about. It's time to ditch your paper towels! Paper towels have been our way to conveniently clean up messes for years, but at what cost? According to Creighton University:
- Every year the average employee uses 2,400 to 3,000 paper towels while at work.
- Every day over 3,000 tons of paper towel waste is produced in the US alone.
- To make one ton of paper towels, 17 trees are cut down and 20,000 gallons of water are consumed.
Doing some quick math here, if 17 trees are cut down per ton of paper towel waste and the US produces 3,000 tons of paper towel waste each day, that comes out to 51,000 trees cut down every day to support our paper towel habits. GULP.
Additionally, The Atlantic reported on some research and found that the US is the paper towel capital of the world in terms of consumption. Global spending on paper towels added up to roughly $12B in 2017 and the US accounted for half of that! Yes, we have a higher population but on a per capita basis, we still showed the highest spend.
Now if that isn’t enough to convince you, let’s look at it on a personal level. For me personally, we use 1.5 to 2 rolls per week in a household of 5. I don’t stick to buying one brand, but it usually is a bulk pack of whatever large national brand is on sale. Looking at my last purchase, I spent $2.5 per roll. That equates to $260/year that I waste on paper towels! That would be a savings of over $1K in 4 years!
I understand. Totally ditching paper towels is a tough pill to swallow. As I mentioned, I myself have not completely made the switch. With two toddlers and one infant in the house, getting rid of paper towels entirely may give me a slight panic attack! It can be overwhelming, to say the least. I turned to some of the experts to find out how it can be done. Here is what I learned from Savor and Savvy and Hello Nest:
- Before you switch, spend a week paying attention to your current usage. What household tasks do you use paper towels for - drying dishes, cleaning up big messes, napkins at dinner time, cleaning windows/glass? Knowing what tasks you need to make the switch for will help you create a system geared towards that.
- Find the right towels to suit your needs. Towels are made for specific purposes and they are not a "one towel fits all" kind of thing. Determine the household tasks you use paper towels for the most and then research what a good alternative is. For example, you may want a flat woven kitchen towel for shining glassware because it is low lint. But for wiping down the kitchen table, you may want something thicker and absorbent like a terry dishcloth.
- Have more than you need. The last thing you want is to constantly be running out and not have a clean cloth to wipe up your mess. We recommend buying at least a pack of 8 reusable cloths so that you are prepared for the week.
- Have a system in place. Create space in a drawer or basket for clean cloths and a bin for dirty ones. Decide how often you want to launder them and then buy enough to last you that length of time.
- Have a set of darker cloths for cleaning up really dirty messes and a set of white cloths that can be easily bleached. Our pack of 8 dishcloths are a great option for having both dark and light towels.
Sticky Toffee Brand Manager