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Paper products are not only bad for the environment but are also costly. We started reducing our use of paper items and I was SHOCKED at how much money we saved. So here are a few suggestions for getting started:
- Don’t use paper towels to dry dishes, hands, counters etc. Buy a few dish towels and dish rags. I have found that investing in quality ones makes all the difference. Williams-Sonoma makes the best and they last FOREVER. They are highly absorbent and wash up well.
- Use real plates instead of paper plates. While you’re at it use real silverware and cups too.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones. They have the added bonus of looking prettier too.
- Bring a ceramic mug to work and rinse it out rather than using paper cups for coffee or tea.
- If you bring a reusable coffee cup to Starbucks they subtract ten cents from your bill (of course you save a bundle making your own coffee at home).
- Use old t-shirts not suitible for donating to make rags. I use these to clean the bathroom, scrub the floors, wash windows etc. I wash them and reuse them until they fall apart.
- Get a microfiber duster that you can use and then wash. We have a Oxo Good Grips Double Duster and I love it. Old socks work well too.
- Use flannel fabric to make hankies instead of buying Kleenexes. They are easier on your nose.
- Use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers. The average baby will use 3,796 diapers (source: National Geographic’s “Human Footprint.”) That’s a lot of diapers taking up space in a landfill. Using a wet washcloths instead of wipes when possible also helps reduce waste.
I haven’t completely eliminated paper products from our home. I’m not quite ready to get rid of toilet paper! I also keep a roll of paper towels in the kitchen to clean up Daisy’s occasional messes. But cutting back has really saved us a lot of money and has reduced our trash production significantly. Putting the occasional dish towel in with our laundry costs us nothing extra but really makes a difference over time.