Day 14: Unpaper Towels

I haven’t purchased paper towels (or napkins) in about 5 months! This is a HUGE deal for us, as we used to buy the 16-roll package every couple weeks! As I mentioned before, my journey into the world of cloth-diapering forced me to take a step back and really analyze how much we actually wasted on a daily basis. I realized that we used entirely too many napkins (at the table) and paper towels (for everything else). We were just making so much garbage! The first thing we did was to do away with paper napkins. We dug out our linen napkins (and got a few more from my mother-in-law). This was a very easy transition for all of us. The next to go were the huge rolls of paper towels. I had heard of “unpaper towels” and had seen some super cute sets of them. Basically, they are 11×11 or 12×12 squares of cotton with an absorbent backing, such as birdseye or terry. Then, to give a paper-towel effect, they have plastic snaps so that they can snap together and roll up to be placed on a paper towel holder. They can be a bit pricey, with an average of about $3-$4 a towel, so I was super excited when I won a set in a raffle-like contest for about $7 for a roll of 12! They were made by 4 Green Beans! (I later added to my roll an additional 12 in the same fabric from Butt Face Baby that I purchased in a benefit auction!) This transition was a little more difficult for the hubs, as he was the main culprit in the case of the excess paper towel waste! In order to ease the pain, I started buying only one roll of (very cheap) paper towels at a time. But, since the unpaper towels had taken their place on the paper towel roll, the paper towels stayed in the cabinet. Gradually, we all started reaching for the unpaper towels more and more until we just stopped using the paper ones altogether! I have only encountered three situations in which the unpaper towels didn’t cut it. First, nothing absorbs the grease from freshly-cooked bacon like a good ole paper towel. Thankfully, we don’t cook bacon all too often, so this didn’t put much of a damper on our switch. Secondly, Windex and paper towels have always gone hand-in-hand in this house, but we have found a couple towels that we already had that work pretty well as a replacement. And, finally, my dad was pretty disappointed when he came for a visit and learned that I didn’t have paper towels for him to blow his nose! He only uses paper towels, so he was in a bit of a pickle! Now, he just remembers to bring his own when he comes for a visit!

Some people ask, “Why don’t you just use kitchen towels instead of buying unpaper towels?” Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not eat my sandwich on the same thing that I use to wipe up chicken gunk or spilled milk on the floor! We use the kitchen towels for all the messy stuff, and save the unpaper towels for cleaner situations! We have saved lots of money not buying paper towels, and we have also saved a few trees in the process! We love our unpaper towels! They work great, and they look great too!



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. The Simple Italians
    Oct 31, 2013 @ 11:15:27

    Thank you! I’d never heard of these. I use cloth wash cloths as unpaper towels, but I really like the idea of making some that I can hang up like that!


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