Thursday, March 12, 2009

Top 5 Reasons Why the Paper Towel Challenge Isn't Working

Last week I decided that I would try to convert my family from paper towels and napkins in an effort to eliminate some of the waste we generate. What a nightmare!

1. Family Doesn't Buy Into Eliminating Paper Towels
Using our enormous rag box, I created a stash of ready-to-use paper-towel-replacements. Then, the lengthy debate with my husband about why we shouldn't use as many paper products begins. I explain that we're trying to limit our garbage output. My husband says that we're generating more waste water by having to wash the rags constantly. Plus, aren't paper products bio-gradable? Argh! Why can't being green be easy?

2. Increased Laundry By Twofold
I blew through my stash of rags within one day! Between my two-year-old spilling her applesauce, to my five-year-old missing the potty, I thought 20 rags would be more than enough for at least a week. Boy, was I wrong!

3. Rags are Not as Absorbent as Paper Towels
Instead of absorbing liquid, the t-shirt rags more or less just pushed it around. Whereas I would normally use a paper towel or two to clean up a wet mess, I felt like I was using four rags to do the job.

4. Food Stuff Sitting in Your Rag Pile Isn't Very Appealing
Spaghetti sauce, yogurt, eggs -- you don't want these things sitting in your laundry. I do the family's laundry once a week, so I couldn't really let it sit. I found myself doing a load of laundry at least once a day.

5. Kids are Really Messy
I think this experiment may have worked out better if my husband and I were two childless neat freaks. But that is far from the case. I think children under five should automatically come with at least 10 cases of paper towels.

I admit defeat, but I won't go down with out a fight. Yes, I've resided to continuing my paper towel usage. But I've discovered that Marcal has come out with a green paper towel. It's made from recycled materials, which makes me feel every bit better about my excessive paper towel use.

Anything you'd do differently to make it work?

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  1. You need to make rags pretty and lots of them.
    Yes I got both classy napkins
    and cloth baby whipes plenty of them

    Also if you get a hanging or folding dryer you can hang dry them indoors.

  2. Okay, I'm taking the advice and going back in to try again. I will not let the paper towels get the best of me!

  3. I hope it works for you.

    The hanging dryer really gives a line dry smell.
    They also have nicer Drying racks which are made of wood. The hanging ones are made of plastic.
    I mostly like to use it for bigger towels to reduce how much time I have to use the real dryer.