Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Change the World Wednesday -- Use Cloth Towels

This week’s Change the World Wednesday challenge at Reduce Footprints was to use fewer paper towels. As it turns out, Liz and I both try not to use paper towels at all. After all, we use cloth diapers and wipes, it's not too far a stretch. And—as you’ll see—we both went about trying to get our men on board in much the same way. Here’s how it went down:

Gaby: So I did the challenge this week. I thought it was going to be a big deal when I hid the paper towels on a high shelf in the laundry room, but I don’t think my husband noticed.
Liz: That’s so funny—I did the same thing! I considered playing a joke on my husband and removing them from the house altogether, but then I thought he might not think that was funny. So I hid them high up in the laundry room too!
Gaby: Did he go looking for them?
Liz: No, I told him about the challenge, and he took it pretty well… I was anticipating a protest, for some reason. But we normally use cloth wipes, napkins and rags to clean the house anyway so paper towels normally go a long way in our house.
Gaby: Me too. But he didn’t say a word. The week was noneventful, except for a few incidents.
Liz: Like what?
Gaby: Well, you don’t realize that you rely on paper towels for a few things. I used to rely on them for things like cat puke, but I’m ok with using cloth on that and just laundering it. But when an earwig was crawling across my rug, I ran for the cabinet, and then I remembered. No paper towels. And I was like, Crap. I didn’t have time to get them at the top of the laundry room. And I hate bugs. HATE.
Liz: What did you do?
Gaby: I acted courageously. I killed it with my bare hands and threw it in the trash.
Liz: Go you! I’m impressed. Yeah, I ran across an issue when it came time for draining bacon. But I used a rack and just let the grease drip off.
Gaby: You could always set aside a couple of cloths specifically for draining bacon. And just don’t put those in the dryer—fire hazard.
Liz: It’s going to be interesting to see how other people got creative with this challenge and what they used. I also hit a bit of a snag once we started our first ever tiling project. The glue that you use to set the tiles was everywhere. But I dragged out some old washcloths and used those instead, and they worked much better than paper towels. And I can actually reuse them!
Gaby: It’s funny how you don’t realize you can just wash something and use it again. I used to go through roll after roll of paper towels in college. It makes me sad just thinking about it. Okay, but I did totally cheat.
Liz: What happened?
Gaby: Well, we were sitting at dinner, and you know how they say not to sit your baby in any kind of seat on top of the kitchen table? Well, I now know it’s not because it’s a high surface. It’s because they can spill your beer.
Liz: Your beer?
Gaby: Yup. We have these tall, fluted beer glasses, and we were sitting at dinner, and in one fell swoop, Little M reached out and knocked one over. It broke, and glass went everywhere. I really didn’t want to deal with glass in the washer, so I had my husband go get—sigh—the paper towels. I used about half the roll, and then—boom: Little M knocked over the other beer glass! My other son was crying because I yelled so loudly. I used a lot of paper towels. But what are you supposed to do with glass?
Liz: Yeah, I don’t know. That’s a special circumstance.
Gaby: I still feel guilty, so I’ll have to hide what’s left of the roll for the next month to make up for it.

If you want to join in on the Change the World Wednesday challenge, click on the link below or on the banner in our sidebar. Also, feel free to leave comments on our shorter showers post if you tried that this week!

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