Because of their convenience, paper towels are used in many ways, like cleaning spills, serving snacks, and hand drying. But, there is a downside to these little handy helpers. For the sake of the Earth, and your pocketbook, there are a few alternatives you should consider.
Paper towels are not only a drain on resources, and a huge source of waste, but they are expensive over time as well. Here are just three reasons to stop using them, and some green solutions to replace them.
1. Save trees and resources
Deforestation is one of the biggest challenges we have regarding the preservation of our environment and resources. At present, 42 percent of all the wood harvested globally is used in the production of paper. It takes 75,000 trees just to print the New York Times Sunday edition. Yet, every tree generates enough oxygen to support the breathable air for three people.
Producing paper also requires twice as much energy as it does to manufacture a plastic bag. If you took the amount of paper wasted in one year, you could build a wall of paper from California to New York that was 12 feet high. However, if one ton of paper is recycled, it saves approximately 26,500 liters of water, 17 trees, and about 682.5 gallons of oil.
2. Reduce pollution
It is beyond sad to think that at one time, paper was considered a rare and precious commodity, and now it is a growing eyesore in today’s landfills. Today, 50 percent of business-produced waste consists of paper. Approximately 25 percent of waste in landfills and 33 percent of municipal waste is paper.
Paper and pulp are the third biggest pollution sources for water, air, and soil. During the production of paper, toxic materials from the chlorine-based bleaches are released into the soil, air, and water. As for paper rotting in landfills, it emits methane gas that is known to be 25 times more toxic to life forms than carbon dioxide.
3. Save money
The average cost for 15 rolls of recycled paper towels is around 56 dollars. Over the course of 2-3 years, you could easily use up to 480 rolls of recycled paper towels for an approximate cost of 950 dollars. In contrast, you could look into purchasing a biodegradable, reusable cloth towel for far less, and use it multiple times for a fraction of the cost.
Alternatives to paper towels
Making the switch from paper towels to more green solutions will take some adjusting, but in the end you will be happy you made the change. Here are some great suggestions on how you can start to transition to a more Earth-friendly lifestyle:
· You will want a good sized stack of cleaning towels (approximately 20-45) that can be kept loose in a bucket or bag, so you can grab one and go wherever a cleanup is needed. As mentioned above, paper towels get expensive, but a good alternative cleaning cloth is SKOY cloths. You can get 32 of them for 55 dollars, and each one SKOY cloth is said to be able to replace 15 paper towel rolls.
· Little dishes can be kept in a stack on the countertop for quick snacks, if you have a habit of using paper towels to serve snacks on.
· Use cloth napkins for setting the dining table with meals, instead of paper alternatives.
· Old rags and throw-away cloths can be used for the more extreme messes – the ones when it will simplify your life to be able to throw them away after cleanup.
Once you stop using paper towels, you’ll find it was way easier than you thought going without them – why not give it a try?
-The Alternative Daily