Paper Towels — Necessary Evil or Expendable Disposable?

There’s a war going on between my husband and I about the importance of paper towels. Occasionally, I’ll admit, it’s a relief that he wipes his grimy car-parts hands on the disposables rather than my fresh white linens. Even when he’s washed them three times, he leaves a gray trail of grease after he changes the car’s oil. Ew. I reach for them myself, too, after weeding the garden or planting a few things, using the edge to dig dirt from under my nails. And there’s nothing better for gross cleanups like pet mistakes — not using cloth for that!

While there many reasons I like to use paper towels, I realize it adds a bit of volume to my trash over the course of a year. I’ve done a few things to cut down on that without erasing paper towels entirely from my grocery list.

  • Buy the half-size paper towels. For obvious reasons, these still get the job done and I can always get a second if it’s necessary.
  • Hang a patterned, colored towel in the primary hand-washing sink. It’s more likely to be used, even when your hands might still have a little way to go toward clean, if it’s not white.
  • Move the paper towels location. If you’re used to grabbing one because it’s close, try switching them to the other side. As it takes a second for you to process where they went, you’ll remember why you moved them and perhaps reach for a linen towel instead.
  • Throw used disposables into your compost bin. Why not? They’re paper products, too.

If you have any ideas about reducing the use of paper towels, chime in!