Paper towels, napkins and tissues – Oh, My!

In looking over my trash diary entries, I find I use A LOT of paper towels, napkins and tissues.

These are not just a packaging by-product (like a paper board box for storage of crackers), these are paper products I use as a disposable convenience.

It was a conscious choice the other day when I used a half a roll of paper towels to soak up a water overflow in our basement because the mop just wasn’t cutting it, and I didn’t use towels because it was too late to do laundry and I didn’t want wet towels festering over night and into the next day.

Each morning I make a point to pick up a couple of napkins when I get my coffee because if I don’t I’ll have spillage from my not-so-leak-proof lid on the reusable cup.

I use paper napkins at work, at home and on the go for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And sometimes at home we use paper towels instead. I’ll also use paper towels at home for cleaning countertops, and wiping up small spills. I also use paper towels to wipe off apples after rinsing.

I use more tissues when I have a cold than on a typical day, but I always have a box at the ready. (For the record, my husband uses handkerchiefs for nose blowing, and has since way before I met him.)

There are definitely ways I can use less paper towels, napkins and tissues by using dishrags, hand towels and cloth napkins. However, now I’m questioning when I make the switch. Do I use up the existing stock in our basement first (rolls of paper towels, a whole bunch of paper napkins, and boxes of tissues)? Or do I go for the cloth now and keep the stock on hand to use on occasion?

I think I’ll start with the napkins during meal times at work. It’ll be easy to keep a cloth napkin on hand at work and take it home for washing when it gets dirty.


About Amy Marpman

Director of Recycling Services at Great Forest, Inc. in NYC. Continually finding the balance of idealism with the practical realities that make or break recycling programs.
This entry was posted in Waste Minimization and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Paper towels, napkins and tissues – Oh, My!

  1. I have two rolls of paper towels left and when they are gone I have vowed NO MORE! I am so glad I found your blog!

  2. Yay! Thanks misses pickles for referring me to this blog! I’m trying the same thing for this year(not a trash diary,per say, but a total elimination of trash from our household) I wish you luck as well! If you need some ideas check me out at windingroadfarm.word,I’ll be sure to subscribe to your blog too cause we need all the help we can get!

  3. Pingback: Paper towels be gone! | Beyond the Blue Bin

  4. Pingback: The Rubbish Diet – Week 6 | Beyond the Blue Bin

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