I’m constantly searching for ways to save money. Given how frugally my husband and I already live, this is kind of like the proverbial trying to get blood from a turnip. Nonetheless, I’m driven to continue experimenting with new strategies because every penny counts.
I think we can cut back on our paper towel use in my house. This would, of course, save us money because we’d purchase fewer rolls (this happens to be environmentally friendly, too). We don’t go through an exorbitant amount of paper towels currently, but I know there’s room for us to cut back.
Ways to decrease paper towel use
- Purchase “pick a size” paper towels. These paper towel rolls are perforated frequently so small sheets can be torn off. Instead of wasting a large sheet on a small job, a piece can be torn off that is the perfect size for the job at hand.
- Use sponges or utility cloths for routine cleaning and to wipe spills off counters. It’s understandable to want to use paper towels if a job is really nasty, but routine jobs can be taken care of with sponges or utility cloths. This will increase how many towels are in the laundry, but it is believed that the water and energy required to wash the cloths is less detrimental to the environment than the paper consumption. Germs are another concern. These can be killed by microwaving the sponges and cloths every day for a couple of minutes. Routinely wash the cloths in hot water with similarly soiled items and then dry them on high heat. Used clothes should be replaced with clean ones at least every few days and the sponges should be replaced every week or so.
- Get creative with newspaper. Instead of using paper towels to absorb grease from recently fried foods, use newspaper. Don’t misunderstand me here—I’m not suggesting you place food directly onto the newspaper (I can’t imagine that’d be too healthy). However, a cooling rack can be placed onto a baking sheet that is lined with newspaper. Fried foods can then be placed on the cooling rack to drain. The food never needs to touch the newspaper. Newspaper can also be used in place of paper towels for cleaning mirrors and windows (many people actually prefer newspaper over paper towels for these tasks).
- Store paper towels where they are difficult to access. It sounds silly, but many people indicate they are less likely to use paper towels if they have a hard time getting to them. Thus, an action as simple as storing the paper towels behind a closed cabinet door or in an alcove off the kitchen can potentially decrease how many are used. A complementary step is to make sure sponges and utility cloths are easily accessible.
Have you ever tried to cut back on your paper towel use? What additional strategies can you share?