-Written by Steph
Ok, this isn’t financial (they really don’t cost much), but forests are being bulldozed to make paper towels last time I checked. As a proponent of low-environmental-impact as well as low-cost living, this is a big deal. It was one of the harder things for me, because I used to be in the habit of using paper towels for EVERYTHING – makeshift plates, greasing pans, degreasing foods, wiping stuff up, moisture control in tupperwares, and probably some other weird stuff I can’t remember. Here are some tips that helped me reduce usage A LOT:
1. Wait until baked goods are completely cool before putting them in the fridge. I used to put them away warm because I was in a hurry, and throw paper towels in as well to absorb any moisture. Same with bread. Easy to fix.
2. Use newsprint for de-greasing things like fried potatoes or deep dish pizza. This was my biggest area of waste previously. “But I’ll get lead poisoning!!!11!!” Relax, they’re all printed with soy ink these days. Italy’s been doing this for years. It absorbs oil remarkably well, and is generally free or very cheap depending what newspapers cost where you are.
3. Get in the habit of using “real” towels to clean most messes. Make sure you have ample rags for this purpose, keep them in convenient places, and you’re set. Save paper towels for the very nastiest of cleanup jobs – bodily fluids, pet accidents, sewage backups, bird crap, questionable things you step in, and puke.
4. If you use paper towels as plates, just stop.
5. Use your (clean) fingers to grease muffins pans. It works just as well.
6. Make your paper towels a little more difficult to get to by putting it somewhere really unhandy, like on top of the fridge or in a high cupboard. This greatly helps prevent mindless usage.