Monday, January 09, 2012

JOT #19: Wiping up

If you come to my house, be prepared to blow your nose or wipe your hands or clean up with cloth, not paper. We made this switch a while ago, but I'm still contrite when someone wants a paper towel or kleenex. "Sorry! We don't have any paper." I offer them a clean hankie or a cloth napkin, and show them where to toss them. Often they use toilet paper or dig into their own stash. Occasionally I have stored up a few paper napkins someone has brought by from take-out.

The switch to cloth has made laundering a little more onerous (lots of little cloths to line dry!) but think of all the paper (and related water) we have saved! I make my cloth napkins and handkerchiefs out of old saris or tshirts or other clothes, so they are recycled already.

Consider your use of paper. There are so many beautiful options - pretty napkins with lace, embroidered handkerchiefs, or the utilitarian ones cut from vintage tshirts.

If you do buy paper, buy paper towels and facial tissues and wipes that have a high post-consumer recycled content (preferably 100%!). Tear a towel in half to use even less.

You can also make your own wet wipes by soaking paper and cloth in a dilute soap solution with a bit of aloe vera or glycerin in it. We use cloth wipes that go in the same bin with the dirty diapers for washing.

All in all, a bit of greener wiping up ought to leave the planet a little cleaner.

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