I stopped using paper towels and napkins several years ago. It was one of those decisions that I’ve always felt really good about, to the point of semi-smugness. With a planet in peril (literally, no dramatic exaggeration necessary) sometimes our perceived insignificance means we don’t do the little things, because we think, “What difference can one person make?” But as local legend Pete Seeger once pointed out, it’s a million little things that will make the difference.
But lately I’ve had a tough time staying on top of any laundry (in part because I no longer have a washing machine, and in part because I have no time), and so the rags have become a bit of a nuisance — they smell bad, they get moldy quick, and when I run out I find myself wishing I had some paper towels. So I’ve gotten halfway to convincing myself to make the switch back to paper towels: I’m a single, working mom; I have to cut corners somewhere! But my conscience seems to be putting its foot down and I can’t seem to pull the trigger. To ensure I’m making the most sound decision I can (yes, these are the things that keep me up at night) I decided to look into which is actually greener, soup to nuts. Here’s what I found:
With all this in mind, I think I’ll try keeping some recycled paper towels on hand for when I know laundry won’t get done for ages. Since they’re compostable (as is their roll), I won’t have a mini-conscience attack every time I toss one out. It’s a compromise I can surely live with.