If you had told me a few years ago that I would be brainstorming how to completely eliminate paper waste, I wouldn’t have believed you. I grew up in a house where we never used cloth napkins and we went through paper towels like crazy. (My mom still goes through a roll a day – seriously.) As part of my effort to become more eco-friendly, I decided I was going to seriously try to reduce paper waste.
At first I thought that I wouldn’t stick with it, but it’s really much easier than it looks (even as a mom of two with a full-time job). The first thing I purchased was MyDrap napkins – a gateway product to cloth napkins, if you will. The MyDrap is a hybrid product that is not quite a disposable napkin, and not quite a paper towel. MyDrap advertises that its products can be washed and used up to six times, but I’ve actually used them way more than that, and they still look decent. (I wouldn’t exactly present these ones to a guest, but I shove them in my lunchbox and take them to work.) These products are great because, unlike with true cloth napkins, I don’t feel bad if I stain these. There’s also no pressure to use an iron. I think of these as my “everyday” products. They also come in great colors, including this ombre pattern, which I just learned they have.
Because my goal was to ultimately eliminate paper towels, I couldn’t just rely on the MyDrap products. I needed a whole bunch of towels that I could keep in the kitchen for easy clean-up. I ended up purchasing these striped dishcloths from Williams-Sonoma. I bought a whole bunch of them and keep them in a basket on my counter. I have enough so I only need to wash them once or twice a week without running out.
After using these two products for a couple of months, I’ve almost eliminated the paper waste in my house, but my husband can’t seem to stop his habit of reaching for the paper towels. My solution therefore was to buy these. Like MyDrap, they are a reusable product. It’s true that I can’t put them back on a roll after we’ve used them once, but I’m hoping we can save these for the truly messy tasks – the ones for which we are currently still using paper towels.
I know there is always more I could do to make my house a little greener, but I have found that the above things have been really easy to fit into my busy lifestyle.