When our family first began to make concerted efforts to reduce our waste, one of the first things we did was to pitch the paper … napkins, that is. With the exception of occasional parties or gatherings at which we’d have guests, we rarely bought paper napkins to begin with. When we did, the pack would last forever. As we began to green our routines, we realized that we could really do without them all together and switched to cloth napkins. We’ve been using cloth napkins for years, both at home and on the go. We even pack cloth napkins in school lunches and in picnic baskets.
So what can you do to be more eco-active:
1. Make a commitment to stop buying paper napkins immediately and use cloth instead. Stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross and other discount retailers often have an assortment of cloth napkins in a variety of qualities and price points to fit almost any budget. I’ve also seen them at thrift and consigment stores, if you want to be super green about it.
2. Make limited us of paper napkins on the go, at restaurants and elsewhere. Fast-food and take-out restaurants routinely dispense napkins by the handful. Save the extras for your bag or car. In venues where you can grab you own, think twice before you grab a bunch; take only what you need and no more.
3. If you must use paper napkins, for special events or other occasions, go the recycled route. We now have options for buying recycled paper napkins at many retailers that sell napkins; Seventh Generation and Marcal are two brands that come to mind. Sure, many are not as soft or pretty, but when you consider it’s use and short life, soft and pretty are are small things to give up for a healthier planet.
Have you gone paperless? Tell us how you did it and what the impact was.
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