23 May 2009

LGSG: Reducing paper waste

One of the ways we've cut back on our expenditures and waste is by getting rid of paper towels and paper napkins. It seems to me if we have them, we use them very quickly, no matter what their intended purpose is. In fact, things like paper towels contribute greatly to our environmental waste.

Instead, we rely on fabric napkins and microfiber cloths.

Having reusable cloths saves you money. You do initially invest in the cloths, but you are no longer buying the paper or are at least buying less. The cloths are also washable, so you are able to gain continued use from them.

I love the fabric napkins. Maybe I'm strange (don't answer that), but I think a meal with fabric napkins just seems classier. All of my napkins were purchased from the store on clearance from some where or another. I can't bring myself to pay more than .25-.50 a piece for them. If you sew well, you can also make your own. I found a simple tutorial here. I just throw mine in with the regular laundry, usually on the cold setting and they do fine.

Microfiber is one of my favorites. I use them for general cleaning all around the house. They work great in place of paper towels, and they don't leave the streaky, linty mess. We have specific cloths for the extra dirty jobs, like the bathroom. I also love them as dishcloths! If you aren't careful, these can be a larger expense. I've found that the varieties sold at hardware and tool centers are much cheaper than those found in the cleaning section of your favorite market.

Harbor Freight Tools is a wonderful place to buy microfiber if you have one in your area. You can often get a four pack of 16x16 cloths for less than $5. They are neon colored, but otherwise the same quality etc. you'd find anywhere else.

Now how about you? How do you reduce paper waste in your home? Have you found any creative uses for microfiber? Let us know below!

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