Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday Thrifty Tip: Reducing Paper Product Use

In a world of convenience and "toss-away", it is easy to get caught up in using paper products...napkins, plastic cutlery, paper towels, paper plates, etc. Not only do these items have an extreme environmental cost for our planet, but also hit our monthly household budget.

Last year in an effort to reduce our carbon foot prints our family made a decision not to purchase any more paper products and we haven't looked back. This paper decision has also meant a savings in our monthly budget. (And no, we still use toilet paper and disposable diapers if you are wondering!)

One of these steps in saving on paper was using cloth napkins at our meals. (Tea parties too!) Most of our cloth napkins were purchased at garage sales or our local Goodwill store for minimal cost. Because they are more durable then paper, we often use napkins for several days before they show signs of needed laundry care. Partially used napkins are then hung on the back of a chair as exhibited in the second picture, awaiting the next meal.

Now when we entertain we simply plan ahead and make sure all the dishes are washed and the dishwasher is empty. Instead of running to the store for those last minute paper products items to serve my guests, I carefully lay out my "real" dishes, cups, silverware, and cloth napkins. My party-goers are fine with the change and often follow suit by scrapping their own plate and putting them into the dishwasher. (Now I call that EASY entertaining.)

Another area I addressed was the use of disposable sanitary products. (Sorry to any male readers, but this is really valuable information to my lady readers!) I personally took this challenge one step further and stop purchasing disposable products, instead I purchased a Diva Cup. Honestly, this has been a great switch costing me around $29 and can be used for approximately 10+ years. I really could go on and on about this product, but I'll save face and stop here. (Smile.) If you'd like to learn more, check out their website by clicking HERE.

All in all, I really challenge you all to eliminate at least one paper product in your household this year. You can't change everything overnight, but even eliminating one paper product (napkins, paper plates, sanitary products)from your household will reduce your household expenses and reduce your carbon foot prints.

From inside the little blue bungalow,
Katie Jean

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Erica Graf said...

I have been considering the move to cloth napkins for some time now--thanks for the encouragement. I read that before the availability and wide-spread use of paper napkins, many families used personalized napkin holders and each family member would simply slide their still-useable napkin back into their own personalized holder for the next meal. It sounds like a great project for the kids and might even be another way to recycle!

See you soon!

Jeff9 said...

This covers all the bases = saves you money, helps the environment, helps your health, makes you feel better, it's so easy to do and it costs less than $50.00; Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time! Add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off” Available at with these you won't even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without felling guilty. It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt far exceed the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways. Blog; THE BUTT OF TOO MANY JOKES;