Paper towels are one of the ultimate convenience items. They are always there for the spilled milk, a quick napkin for the sandwich you just made, or to clean the bathroom mirror. They are also an amazing waste of trees and create a real pollution problem in the processing of the paper they are made from.
Trust me, I was a paper towel addict. I used them for everything. Even folded one up and put it under the foot of a wobbly table. Problem solved. One day I looked in the kitchen waste can and it was filled with paper towels. Many barely even used. This habit was getting out of control and I started to look at ways to cut back. The simplest thing I did was to start using the sponge more. It's right there next to the paper towels anyway. I even throw it in the dishwasher from time to time to keep it clean and going strong. I started using old newspaper to clean windows and mirrors. Easy transition and quite frankly the newspaper did a better job. I started using cloth kitchen towels a lot more. You can get creative and find all kinds of ways to solve the problem if you want to. It's just a habit.
Recently I came across a product that I really like. Not just because it works well, is high quality and reusable. But because I like the story as. I met a woman named Lynn who was very similar to what I described above. She loved her paper towels. She really didn't think about the environment that much at all. She was a busy woman building a career. Then she had a baby girl and everything changed. Not only did she have a real sense of urgency to make sure her daughter stayed as pure and perfect as the day she was born, but she felt she needed to work on making sure the world she lived in was as good as it could possibly be. Lynn started looking into organic foods, then gardening and farmers markets, then even composting. Lynn was fortunate enough to be able to stay home and focus her time raising her daughter. But she still had some other ideas.
Lynn was also able to start a little business called The Reusable Paper Towel Company. She makes these really nice cotton towels from a birds eye weave cotton by hand. They are about the same size as a standard paper towel, all the edges are surged and they can be used and washed over and over again. I simply put a stack of them on the counter and grab one as a napkin, to wipe up some milk that splashed while pouring a bowl of cereal, or whatever. I just give them a quick rinse and toss them in the washer and run them with whatever load goes in next. It's a simple but elegant solution. Plus it's a quality product made in the USA by a mother wanting to give her daughter a better world.