Connie, Andy and their daughter Erin drove over from Atlanta for a visit. It was the first time they'd been to our new home, and we think they were surprised (and a bit perplexed?) by some of the changes. You don't really notice them until you're in the kitchen.
First, Erin asked for a napkin. We handed her one of these:
She looked really confused. And who can blame her? We also grew up in houses where the cloth napkins were reserved for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners or if someone really special came to visit.
(Erin, you are really special! But we do this for everyone)
Then, Andy (who plays a very capable breakfast sous chef!), needed a paper towel for a spill. We handed him one of these:
"Okay," he said. "What's up with not having any paper towels or napkins?"
We explained that we went paperless nearly four years ago. We did it for several reasons:
- We were tired of kids pulling waaaay too big of paper towel streams off the roll for tiny spills.
- We were sick of paying lots of money for something we were going to use once and throw away. (okay, it's not lots of money. But every penny counts, right?)
- We wanted to reduce the amount of waste we were producing and this seemed like an easy fix. No packaging, less trash.
And it's worked out pretty well. In the last four years the only time we've have paper towels or napkins in the house is when one of our mothers comes to visit (and brings them herself. They still don't get our refusal to use paper) or when we've bought them for a school party or Girl Scout camping trip.
Otherwise, we use the cloth napkins we got on sale for 25-cents each or the rags we've picked up on clearance.
There are two instances when we miss the paper versions. Okay, maybe three. When blotting the grease off bacon. When compressing the moisture out of tofu (though we now have a white dishtowel that's our Tofu Towel). And when the cats or dog pukes.
That latter scenario necessitated our "Color Coding System": White rags for kitchen countertops, cleaning appliances, etc. Yellow rags for nasty stuff. Blue rags for cars. Works like a charm!
It was such an easy change for us to make. It just took a little attitude adjustment and a plan. And it's saved us money and, in a small way, helped save the environment. You can learn more on CarbonRally.com's Paper Towel Challenge.
Give it a try! Your Mom may think you're weird. But what's new?!?