30 Days to Zero Waste (Day 4: Ditch the Paper Towels)

zero waste paper towel

Spread the Sustainable Gospel!

Zero Waste Challenge – Ditch Paper Towels | Did you know that “every day, over 3,000 tons of paper towel waste is produced in the US alone?”  This is a good opportunity to upcycle socks or any other piece of clothing that can’t be saved.

Let’s Cut Out Paper Towels!
Especially in the US, this can be a hard one for some families.
Did you know that “every day, over 3,000 tons of paper towel waste is produced in the US alone?” And despite the paper towels being paper, we can’t forget the resources that go into producing them. It’s about 20,000 gallons of water to make one ton of paper towels.
I’m a little biased with this one as I grew up in a household that never used paper towels, ever. It was just considered one of those things, “wealthier” people used.
In our house, we used rags made from orphaned socks or from dad’s old ratty shirts. I never thought twice about it because it just made sense.
1. Making homemade rags from scrap material you have lying around is a FANTASTIC way to upcycle textiles and save SO much money. Seriously, I know there are a bunch of cute things you can buy but stop. There is absolutely no reason to buy something when it’s purpose is to clean up messes.
2. My grandmother taught me about using newspaper on glass if you want a streak-free finish. And my goodness, it works. I get the newspaper in the mail that I cannot stop (apartment problems), so I put those to good use before I recycle or compost them.
3. I always get asked what to do to drain oil if there are no paper towels. I use a baking rack on top of a baking sheet, works better IMO.

Day 5: Use a Reusable Coffee Cup

Follow me on Instagram or like my Facebook page, where I also have the daily goals, with the hashtag #30daystozerowaste.

To answer all of your questions about ditching paper towels, check out my post-Ditching Paper Towels – Answering your Questions.

10 thoughts on “30 Days to Zero Waste (Day 4: Ditch the Paper Towels)

  1. This would never work in my household of 2. You read that right, two. I'm the only one with the required lady parts to do laundry and I'm not cleaning up after my bf/bad roommate. Disposable will have to do until he either grows up. Fat chance after 30. Or moves on…..Sorry I'm venting. I just took a shower and had to dry off with a hand towel because nobody did towels after I did last week.

  2. What is the overall impact comparison of towels vs paper towels? Assuming you use rags to clean up serious messes, on a regular basis, is the energy expended in washing them still less?

  3. Hi Shannon! Great question! When comparing water usage between cleaning rags and manufacturing paper towels, the amount would probably be close. It's hard to say considering there are many factors that could determine that number. However, water usage is only one of many variables that should be measured when determining if something is more “eco-friendly.” Unlike rags, paper towels must be manufactured repetitively since we toss them each use, packaged, and transported multiple times (to factories, warehouses, then to stores). They also create quite a bit of solid landfill waste which as to be transported from one's house to a landfill where it will contribute to emissions along with the other refuse. All in all, in my opinion, rags created by scrap material we have lying around is the greener choice.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.