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ECO SWAPS, why bother?

Making use of paper towels in our home has become a common thing for many of us. We use them very well to soak up spilled liquid, wipe the dirt, and clean surfaces. But, it is rarely considered about the other side of these fragile paper products.

Maybe you were not aware that 254 million tons of paper towels are discarded globally every year. These facts and figures help highlight just how dependent we have become on a product that is used only once and then tossed. It is alarming, but what can we do? After all, we are just one person. But this kind of attitude is what makes a bad problem, worse.

It is high time we start asking ourselves these questions such as, Where do they end up? Can you recycle them? Are they bad for the environment?

Although the "Throwaway Culture" has become the norm, it does not have to be.

For instance, research shows households worldwide get through 6.5 million tonnes of kitchen paper annually. Whilst some will be composted or recycled, the majority will end up on landfill.

Image Credits: Conserve Energy Future

Alongside the astonishing amount of waste being produced by the use of kitchen roll, the production of kitchen paper itself involves the chopping down of many trees and the use of a lot of water.

And today, there are so many eco friendly alternatives to paper towels that it is a much easier and a more "affordable swap" than you would think. Which means there is really no reason to be using disposable paper towels anymore.

Now, you may have heard some people drop the argument that reusable towels aren’t that much better than paper towels since you have to continually wash them, which uses water and energy. And that argument doesn’t take into consideration all of the other resources used to produce paper towels. Here are some things to think about that you may not have thought of:

Each roll of paper towels requires:

  • 5 gallons of water

  • trees

  • chemicals to treat and bleach the paper

  • plastic packaging (made from fossil fuels) to package the rolls

  • energy (more fossil fuels) to power the machines that cut, transport and convert the trees into paper.

  • some of those machines, like the trucks that transport the paper, also emit carbon into the atmosphere.

Image Credits: Norwex Movement

And the most important factor is that paper towels can not be recycled, so unless you are putting them in a compost, which most people don't, they are headed straight up to the landfill. Therefore, here are some eco friendly alternatives to paper towels:

Reusable Un Paper Towels- made out of cotton (a natural fiber), infinitely reusable, replaces thousands of paper towels and machine washable.

Image Credits: Fox & Marsh

Swedish Dishcloth- this can absorb as much as 17 paper towels would , great for wiping down counters & surfaces and cleaning up heavy spills. It is made from natural fibers and is biodegradable/compostable.

Image Credits: Trendy Tripper

Organic Cotton Dish Towels- It is machine washable, infinitely reusable and made of 100% organic cotton.

It is also understandable that some situations may call for paper towels or simply maybe there are people always prefer a paper towel and have no interest in switching to anything else. Don’t you worry, there is something for them too,

Reusable Bamboo Paper Towels- These are extremely absorbent and can be used up to 80 times. They are made from 100% organic bamboo which can be easily disposed too.

Image Credits: Eco Nuts

Recycled Paper Towels- These are made of 100% recycled paper and compostable free of toxic chemicals, dyes and fragrances.

Image Credits: I Care Wipex

In a nutshell, it can be understood that sustainably-made and reusable alternatives are always better for the planet when compared to something that is cheaply made and intended to be thrown away just seconds after being used. Of course, there are many factors that go into this idea, such as resources, transportation and carbon emissions. But that is the rule of thumb when it comes to deciding what is more sustainable.


Source: Mama Eco

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