I totally hate waste. I know hate is a strong word, and my mother told me to never use it toward a person, but think it is completely OK to use it toward waste – especially when that waste pertains to money. Since my grandbaby was born, I don’t know what happened, but I think I’m becomming more like my grandmother. It’s like an obsession to do the same with less: re-purpose, re-use, and do it yourself. And going through rolls and rolls of paper towels rates right up there near the top of my list of complete useless waste.
So last year, on 1 Oct 2011 (that’s military date talk for you civilians) I went “paper towel free”. Well, almost free. But definitely paper towel-less. I know that sounds drastic right? But I was going through an $18-$20 bundle of 8 rolls of paper towels every other month or so. It used to kill me to use them for a few swipes or to dry my hands and then throw them away. Think of it. $100 a year in paper towels in the trash! So I thought, how did Grandma do it? I mean, the paper towel boon didn’t happen until the 70’s or close to it so she certainly didn’t grow up with them. But she had kitchen towels…and LOTS of them! I retired the paper towel holder that was proudly sitting on my countertop and announced the change in plans to hubby who responded with raised eyebrows and a snide “Yeah right”. Game on. I became committed.
I went to Wally World and bought a big plastic red tub (that matches my front loaders of course) and put the tub right next to the machines. My laundry room is just off the kitchen so the tub is there when I’m feeling particularly NBA-ish and I go in for the 3-pointer. Then I purchased a bunch of white kitchen towels and made room in a kitchen drawer for them. I figured if they got stained, I’d just move them to the car towel pile (re-use right?). But then hubby started tossing his car towels into the same red bucket (men can’t resist tossing things into buckets) and after I washed them, I was undecided if the slight stain on the used-to-be-white-towel had the last job of wiping my counter top or scrubbing a big bug off a headlight (blech!). So…I retired the white towels permanently to the car towel pile and got more kitchen towels in colors to know exactly which are which.
There used to be a point in my life where I considered myself a germ-a-phobe and was fairly proud of it. But then I got real. And while I still never eat from the drive thru or put my hands near my mouth, nose, or eyes without a quick hand sanitizer rub first, I’m also cognizant of the fact that running kitchen towels through a hot soapy cycle in the washing machine will get rid of any bacteria from counter tops and hand drying. I’m very proud to say that I’ve only purchased two bundles of paper towels since October of 2011. And every time I re-load the towel drawer with clean kitchen towels, I think of my grandma and smile.