I must have been a papyrus maker in another life. The smell, the touch, the feel – I must have paper in my life. Books, yellow lined pads on thick cardboard, stationery with my logo on it – and paper towels.
I know I’m not alone. So many of you have confessed to the siren call of the countertop roll-holder. But I knew that the guilt every time I tore off a sheet was not assuaged by using one of those tear off only as much as you need versions. And until I start wiping, how the heck do I know how much I’ll need?
So last month’s start of my new green life included figuring out ways to cut back on paper towels. I can’t stand messy counters and I didn’t want to use sponges and spread bacteria around. Then I realized we had lots of rags in the garage. I decided to use those.
Three weeks in my husband noticed. He said he was concerned about using cleaning/dog mess rags on the counter, no matter how much I washed them. But he didn’t say stop, bless his heart. Instead he came up with a solution/negotiated marital compromise. He suggested finding some cheap hand towels that were a color besides white so we could tell them apart and he’d be onboard with cutting back on paper towels. Later in the day he actually picked up a stack for me at Costco’s. I’m sure they were made in some country I can’t spell but we can’t fix everything at once.
As for drying my hands or wiping them off as I cook, we’ve instituted another eco-frugal solution. We’re using the small towels I bought for the bathrooms to fold over the bath towels I also hang there. (I was Miss Martha in another life too.) Now I’m all for less elegance in the loo, less paper in the trash. The colors even work for the kitchen. And the already in place kitchen towels have been relegated to dish drying only.
I can’t give up Mr. Brawny altogether just yet, so I guess a small package of recyclables is better than nothing. I mean, what do I dry my peaches off with? How will I clean the gunk off the tops of tomato sauce cans before I open them? What will I use to absorb the oil from the latkes I make from scratch every couple of Hanukkahs?
I can see that this will be a bigger commitment than using public transportation, should we ever get enough of it out here in my lifetime.
But we are definitely on a roll.