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A Paper Free Kitchen

 

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I have a paper free kitchen. This confuses some people when they first come in to the kitchen for classes.  I made this decision pretty early on. With upwards of 20 people passing through my kitchen each week that is at least 20 napkins a week, 80 napkins a month. Plus if I used paper towels, that would be at least a roll per class if not more. This was going to be a lot of paper wasted for no great reason.

I made the decision early on to use only cloth napkins and provide a great big stack of towels for wiping, drying and anything else you use towels or paper towels for in the kitchen. I am pretty sure the investment up front may have been more, but two years on, I know it has saved oodles of dollars and even more oodles of trees.

As I gear up for my fall classes and look for ways to make my kitchen even more eco-friendly, I got to thinking about this tree/paper waste factor and so headed over to my fave cloth towel provider People Towels where they list the following stats:

  • To make one ton of paper towels, 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water are polluted.
  • Every day, over 3,000 tons of paper towel waste is produced in the US alone.
  • Decomposing paper towels produce methane gas, a leading cause of global warming.
  • The average person uses 2,400 – 3,000 paper towels at work, in a given year.

Um... so there! So, I stock my kitchen full of towels and though I have a washing machine I don’t have a dryer. I do spend a significant amount of time folding towels and napkins but this simply allows for an opportune time to catch up on the phone with my grandma once a week.

I know that many place have now installed hand dryers as a way to cut down on paper towels but I really just hate these things and so I keep a towel with me. Consider cutting up old towels, t-shirts, bed sheets or perhaps getting yourself a stylish version from the awesomely responsibly and very stylish People Towels.

Question Of The Day: What is your best tip to help green up your kitchen and/or your cooking?

105 Responses to “A Paper Free Kitchen”

  1. elaine said…
    i love that you have a paper free kitchen! i'm embarassed to say that I'm one of those people that definitely overuse paper towels and sometimes without even realizing it. i think having cute towels around is a great way to make the transition!
  2. mar g said…
    i would love to have a paper free kitchen also. i am always collecing items for recycyling .
  3. Whitney said…
    I love my paper-free kitchen (but it drives both my MIL and my mom crazy! :) )! Inexpensive washcloths are great for most things (including table napkins) and flat cloth 'diapers' are for the big spills. Three more tips I have: 1) I keep a shaker of baking soda under or next to the sink...it helps me scrub anything (pans, counters, sink, cooktop, etc.) and a baking soda-water paste can be left on stubborn, cooked on foods for a while -- works like magic!!* 2) I use the scrapers from pampered chef...you can buy them separately, but they come with the stoneware - scrape pans, counters, cooktop, etc. - great edges and won't scratch anything* 3) with children I find it easier to store things in non-breakable stainless versus glass, but it's easier to 'loose' things int he fridge...use a sharpie and write on the stainless to label it before sticking it in the fridge (it'll wash right off) (I found relatively inexpensive stainless containers at an Indian grocer in town) *these are especially good for people who avoid non-stick and strong chemicals...ie those of us not afraid of using some elbow grease And I second the spray bottle of white vinegar (with or without essential oils) for all purpose cleaning. I also second the stock and composting...it's amazing how many veggie/garden scraps our family or four makes!! Speaking of gardening, square-foot gardening is organic, easy, and can be done is a small space.
  4. Whitney said…
    and I 'liked' you on FB :)
  5. Carmen said…
    You may laugh at this one, but get a dog! I live in an apartment with no green bin program and nowhere to compost. My dog eats most of my veggie ends and peelings (though that is certainly not all she gets)! Not only did my pup make my kitchen greener, she made me improve my eating habits. I feed her an entirely raw food diet and it dawned on me that I was feeding my dog better than myself, so I have upped my raw veggie intake considerably. Plus I walk more now, go to parks and the beach (off-season) more. And she can lift my mood better than chocolate - and that is saying a lot!
  6. [...] Fall classes are filling up quickly. Don’t miss out on the class of your choice. Register early to make sure you get in on the goodness. And don’t miss this week’s People Towels Giveaway! [...]
  7. Colleen Cole said…
    I am following on twitter, liked you on facebook, and I have left a comment! Great topic!
  8. [...] Fall classes are filling up quickly. Don’t miss out on the class of your choice. Register early to make sure you get in on the goodness. And don’t miss this week’s People Towels Giveaway! [...]
  9. Melissa said…
    Thanks Meghan for the giveaway!!! As for greening my kitchen..I only use organic cleaning agents..anything from vinegar and Baking Soda to Seventh Generation. I also compost all my veggie scraps and that way I don't even need to put out garbage every week. I also reuse plastic produce bags for the next shopping trip.
  10. Melissa said…
    I'm a fan on your facebook page!

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