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Green Tip #2 - Get Rid of Your Paper Towels - The Paper Towel Challenge

Posted Feb 19 2011 5:01pm
Paper towel Challenge.jpg

Shawna Coronado standing next to her kitchen counter where she keeps the folded towels she uses to substitute for paper towels. It works great!

My goal for 2010 was to get rid of the paper towels in my family's life for the entire year. As of this weekend I have done it - I survived the Paper Towel Challenge with no paper towels for one whole year. HOORAY!!!

In doing research, I found that most paper towels are manufactured using chlorine (to bleach them white), which releases carcinogenic furans and dioxins into the environment. Shockingly, almost 3,000 tons of paper towels are sent to landfills EACH DAY!

Over 540,000 trees could be saved each year if every household in America would use just one less average roll of virgin fiber paper towels. Using post-consumer recycled paper if you ARE going to use a paper towel is much wiser because Americans use more than 67 million tons of paper per year. We need to find a sustainable solution that stops this astounding waste.

If your household uses at least one roll of paper towels per week  you could save at least $100 per year or more by switching to dishcloths and tea towels. It seems like the switch is common sense.

For me the Paper Towel Challenge was not easy at first. I am a bit of a germ-o-phobe and prefer to "throw away" the germy paper towels rather than wash them myself. Guess what? You can wash a cloth rag or towel with soap and water and it kills the germs just fine. It became easy to use and reuse the towels once I got in the habit.

Above you see a photo of me, championship non-paper-towel-user with the cotton cloth towels I use as a substitute for paper towels. I keep them folded and on the counter next to my coffee pot at all times. I wash them once a week in hot, soapy water in my clothes washer. Easy-peasy.

If I can make this switch, so can you. Help save yourself money and make a difference for the environment. Try the Paper Towel Challenge: one year, no paper towels! I bet you can become a reduce, reuse, and recycle champion too!!

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