In March, I wrote about how crappy paper towels are to our health and to the earth. I made it a goal of our family's to dramatically cut down our paper towel use from that day forward. Here's our progress report:
On May 5, 2012, we moved into our new house in Florida. On that day, I bought eight rolls of Seventh Generation 100% recycled, unbleached paper towels.
I also bought three packs of 5 (for a total of 15) If You Care sponge cloths. I keep a stack of these next to my kitchen sink and grab one each time I need to wipe down the baby, the table, the counter, the floor around the high chair, etc. I then only grab a paper towel for super gross messes like the cat's furball on the carpet or a sticky mess in the garage. If the mess is "clean" enough that I can throw the soiled rag into the laundry without gagging, I use a sponge cloth. If the mess is vile or unsafe, then I use a paper towel.
Fifteen sponge cloths is the right amount for our family. I dirty about six of these rags a day, and since I do a load of laundry about once a day, I always have enough clean rags on hand while the others are being washed.
HERE'S HOW WE'RE DOING:
We have been in the house for almost 3 months and have only consumed 1 complete roll of paper towels. And, to be fair to us, I notice that when company is over, they tend to grab for the paper towels more than we do. I kept track and last week I used exactly three paper towels all week. The sponge cloths are such an easy way to help the planet. Try using them and let me know if it cuts down your paper towel usage too!