Step away from the paper towels

Floating garbage dump

I don’t remember when I first read about the garbage patch in the Pacific, but the image stuck.  For the past couple years, every time I use a plastic bag, a garbage bag or even a paper towel, I can’t help think about landfills, animals choking on plastic and this floating garbage island.  This is one of those larger than life problems you feel compelled to do something about, but completely helpless and hopeless that you can.  But since these images began to plague me I have made a few lifestyle changes (only slightly inconvenient- and only at first) that help me to feel better about my imprint.


Paper free zone. We don’t use paper towels or paper napkins in this house.   It was actually fun and liberating to go out and buy my first cloth napkins… I think we got our first (ugly) set at Marshalls or something 12 for like $4.00.  Since then we’ve upgraded to some funky patterned ones at Crate and Barrel.  After we use them we hang them on the back of our chair (I learned this from my sister) and use until they need to go in the laundry.

For paper towels, the habit is a bit harder to break.  But for this task, you could actually kill two birds with one stone.  I went through all our mismatched towels, wash cloths, hand cloths and some old t-shirts.  I had more than a few that easily made the transition to the rag pile.  Now we keep a box of them in our linen closet and keep a couple under the sink.

We literally have not had these paper products in our house for 2 years- it’s nice not to have to store them or run out of them!

Plastic bags aren’t just bad for babies Again, I am not being dramatic here, but every time I use a plastic bag I think of the garbage float.  And although I haven’t been able to completely eliminate plastic bag usage, I have cut down considerably.  We do not use plastic bags to store things. Period.  Grapes, sandwiches, veggies all go in tupperware.  My husband was at first a little annoyed that he had to carry his sandwich tupperware to and from work, but now it’s just part of the routine…and I don’t have as many visions of a sea turtle choking on my sandwich baggy.

Recyclable Shopping Bags.  Keep in in your purse, your car, in your desk at the office. Enough said.

We’re all busy, no one is perfect. I forget my cloth shopping bags sometimes and I still to use plastic bags to store homemade bread. It’s a work in progress.


About livewellround

I am a yogi, vegetarian, runner, reader, snowboarder, martini-lover inspired by nutrition, health, yoga, politics, organizing, simple living, cooking and all things "healthy and well". I believe in a well rounded lifestyle and the importance of friends, family, fun, social service, travel and the pursuit of knowledge!
This entry was posted in Environment, ReduceRecycleReuse. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s