Despite all our best efforts to cut back on the consumption of paper products (many of which can now be purchased in the 100% PCW variety), there is still one product that we use in abundance: paper towels. Although most of us have rags and cloth towels around the house that work equally well, and many public restrooms now come equipped with air dryers for our hands, most people still demonstrate a stubborn refusal to buck their reliance on tree-killing paper towels. Of course, “experts” say that paper towels are more sanitary, but in truth, hand towels are equally hygienical when laundered regularly and used properly (don’t wipe hands covered in raw chicken on the towel and expect to use it later to dry your clean hands). And how about adding a little sophistication to your dinner table with cloth napkins?
In short, there are many reasons why you should toss paper towels (out of your life) and get back to basics.
1. Deforestation. Well, duh. Sure, there are some brands that offer partially or fully recycled paper towels, but by and large, this is not the case. Considering that about four billion trees are cut down each year to make paper (of which paper towels are only a percentage), we could make a pretty big dent in deforestation if everyone decided to cut paper towels out of their everyday lives.
2. Pollution. You may be wondering how making paper towels contributes to pollution, and you may be surprised to know that it actually plagues every step of the process. Diesel machinery is commonly used in logging operations to haul felled trees off the site. Then it is put on logging truck and shipped around the world via road or water (and you know those vehicles don’t run on steam). From there they make their way to paper mills that pollute the surrounding countryside and the air. And finally, the paper products are shipped to your neighborhood by way of planes, trains, and automobiles (hello, greenhouse gases!). Yup, paper production is a pretty dirty business.
3. Dust allergens. Perhaps you are one of the many people who suffers from an aversion to airborne allergens. Most people don’t realize just how many household items can cause an allergic reaction, and dust and dander are the two most common. By getting rid of the paper towels, you could really cut down on the amount of lint and dust floating around your house, making you sneeze, and becoming lodged in your lungs.
4. Organic cotton. Okay, this one is big. If you opt for towels made of fabric, you can go the extra mile for the Earth by choosing organic cotton (or other sustainable textiles). This is a great alternative to denuding our planet and it is guaranteed to be chemical-free, which is great for you and your family (because remember, most paper towels are bleached and then patterned with chemical dyes).
5. Drying. If for no other reason than your own comfort, you should make an effort to cut paper towels out of your life. They are definitely more drying (and not in a good way) than cloth towels. They can leave your skin rough and cracked, necessitating the use of buckets of hand lotion when the simple solution is just to use a regular towel instead. And vanity wins it!
Submitted by guest blogger Kyle Simpson writes for Wine Rack Plans where you can find a wine rack to fit your individual needs, taste, and style.