Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Brand of Paper Towels is Not the Issue

I saw a product review of recycled paper towels on Grist today.

After reading this...
Conventional paper processing is intensive -- not only does the quest for virgin fiber lead to massive deforestation, but the manufacturing process typically involves chlorine, a toxic chemical that releases carcinogenic dioxins and furans. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the paper industry is the third-largest industrial contributor to global warming.
...I wondered why they were focusing on the brand of paper product. They did say in parenthesis that "a dishcloth or cellulose sponge may be the greenest choice of all", but I think they should have made more of that and compared the paper towels to reusable towels, which would have passed every test they tried.

Why spend a premium for recycled paper towels that get thrown away after barely being used? Cloth Towels are stronger, longer lasting, reusable, easy to use, inexpensive, and very multipurpose.

Eco-friendly tips from my kitchen:
  • Paper towels are handy for some situations- If you have to use them, buy recycled, use as little as possible (get the ones with smaller sheets), and compost them when you're done.
  • Get out of the habit of reaching for the paper- It's just as easy to grab a clean cloth towel than a paper towel if you keep a fresh supply handy where you use it. I have a drawer by the sink, and bags of the older rags by the cleaning supplies (I keep separate ones for cleaning the bathroom).
  • Worried about germs? Just grab a clean one- Especially after cleaning areas used to prepare raw meat. Dishrags are small, I doubt you will notice the difference in amount of laundry.
  • You don't need to spend a lot- Cut up rags, towels, or sheets, or sew some from cotton fabric.
  • No stinky dishrags! I like to use a fresh cloth everyday so I rinse and hang them up and keep a little laundry basket or bucket to throw in when they are dry.

1 comment:

RedWickerBag Design said...

I saw that review as well, and I thought it was absurd that they had one puny sentence about reusable towels and that they were promoting disposable paper towels instead! Paper products are wasteful and unnecessary, just use towels or cloth napkins and keep a separate container to put the dirty ones in when you're done.