Think about how many paper towels you use? How many napkins? How many tissues? What about cotton rounds to clean your face? How many rolls of toilet paper? And now think about how often you have to replenish these items? While not a ton of plastic, usually each one come wrapped in plastic and I felt like I was going to buy one thing or another every other week so that adds up. And that soft plastic is not something you can recycle so it goes into the trash bin and then landfill to sit there forever!
What if you had an infinite supply of paper towels, napkins and tissues and you never had to go shopping for those items again. You would save time and you would save money! And it is so easy! I would say that my partner was skeptical but was willing to give it a try to support my plastic free mission. We transitioned to a variety of cloth towels. For wiping up messes, cleaning kitchen counters + appliances, we have a set of white cloth towels which are easily accessible. We also transitioned from paper towels to the unpaper towel which I bought through Marleys Monsters. Huge shout out to the Sustainability Concierge, Friday who introduced me to the fabulous brand when we had our “Go Green” session. I absolutely love these towels and they offer so many fun prints. We bought a set of unpaper towels and napkins. At first we tried to roll the towels on a paper towel dispenser to try to mirror the paper towel experience. You can see our fun lemon printed Unpaper Towel on a standard paper towel holder in the background below.
For us they tended to unravel a bit so we converted to just placing them in a draw for easy access which has worked out perfectly.
This has been such an easy switch. And my partner has not been concerned about this switch in the slightest. We just toss them in the washing machine with our weekly loads and then we are all set with a clean set of towels + napkins for the next week.
In the bathroom, I used to use single use cotton rounds to clean my face morning and night. I have switched to reusable cotton rounds made from Organic Bamboo and wash those weekly. I just put them on my sink in the same holder I used for my single use cotton rounds.
For tissues, I have transitioned to handkerchiefs vs. tissues. There was one exception to that rule. When I was sick and blowing my nose non-stop all day long, I bought a box of tissues as they were a touch softer than the handkerchief I was using. Progress not perfection, right?!
Lastly there is toilet paper and I am not going to say go to cloth or get a bidet toilet. Although I have read that as a recommendation by some, I just don’t think many will adopt that route. And my partner 100% would not support that option so I will use that as my excuse too ;-). He also has very high standards for his TP needs. So I ordered Who Gives a Crap which is an option to get plastic free toilet paper. I ordered the base option (recycled 3-ply toilet paper) and immediately my partner was not a fan. He did not feel it was soft enough. Well, we got through that initial supply and upgraded to the premium toilet paper made of 100% bamboo and I think we found a place where both my partner and I are happy. The cost will run you about $0.80- $1.10 per role depending on which item your select and if you want a subscription. Comparing that to Charmin Ultra which is what we used (1.00 a role), the price is very comparable and going with the subscription we save about $50 a year.
Obviously all of these changes saves time for not having to go shopping for these items. And these changes also saves money! Here’s some math.
Think about how many a paper towels a family of 4 uses over the course of a year. The average family uses two roles per week @ $14 for an 8-pack, that’s $182 a year! Or you can buy the unpaper towels from a place like Marleys Monsters. A 12 count will run you just $30, while a 24 ct will run you $54. And now you are set for life! Just wash, reuse and save $$$!
On average a family of 4 uses 9000 napkins a year! With the cost of $5 for 250 napkins, that’s another $180 a year in savings! Or you can use cloth napkins forever and save that money for a rainy day.
If you enjoyed my blog, please use the link to the right to follow me. You will get an email update each time I post anything new. It’s not that often so don’t worry about being inundated with emails. I would also love to hear from you! How is your plastic free journey going? I hope to have inspired you!
*disclosure: Some links in this blog are affiliate links, meaning I make a little bit of money but at no additional cost to you. I will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. This will help me to continue to explore and offer up recommendations to reduce your plastic usage.