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The Easiest Ways Every Family Can Reduce Paper Waste At Home

By Kristi Pahr

In the United States alone, we use an excess of 13 billion pounds of paper towels each year. Worldwide, paper towels produce 254 million tons of trash annually. According to The Paperless Project, “If every household in the U.S. used just one less 70-sheet roll of paper towels, that would save 544,000 trees each year. If every household in the U.S. used three less rolls per year, it would save 120,000 tons of waste and $4.1 million in landfill dumping fees.”

Making the switch from paper to cloth towels and napkins is a concrete way to lessen our environmental impact, not to mention save money, but many people are hesitant to take the plunge. By taking a few small steps and easing into developing a paperless kitchen, you may quickly notice changes in both your budget and your paper waste.

First, determine the right kind of towels for all the different jobs that traditionally fall to paper towels. Because they are ultra-absorbent, microfiber towels do a great job of cleaning up spills, while bar towels are perfect for wiping down counters and other hard surfaces. Many families also choose to let dish or bar towels do double duty and use them as paper napkin replacements, as well. Instead of investing in real cloth napkins, these make an excellent substitute, as long as the aesthetics aren’t an issue.