Paper towels come in handy for a variety of tasks, but they’re addictive. You don’t have to automatically reach for a paper towel when you spill something on the kitchen counter. Use the dishrag that hangs over your kitchen faucet.
You don’t have a dish rag hanging over your kitchen faucet? Well, try it!
Spilled something on the floor? Use the floor rag underneath the kitchen sink for spills on the floor. When it gets too grungy for the floor, throw it in the laundry. You’ll save energy unless you use a whole lot of rags, which you’re fanatical about washing in hot water every time you use one once.
Use a rag or newspaper for washing windows.
If you’re wondering about hand towels in bathrooms as opposed to electric hand dryers, wonder no more! The electric hand dryers use about 1/20th of the energy of paper towels . Plus, we have to count the environmental impacts of disposing the paper and the methane as they molder in a landfill.
Do I even need to say anything about paper plates?
Actually, I might. I personally dislike eating on a paper plate, but I understand that they are very useful at times. If you’re serving food to a whole lot of people it may not be feasible to furnish and then wash real plates for everyone. Just the washing involves using energy.
But if you’re looking at the use of only a few at a time, it’s likely that washing a few real plates–either in a dishwasher or in a sinkful of other dishes–won’t account for an appreciable amount of energy. In that case using disposable paper plates is a waste. Threshold amounts have a lot to do with real-world energy costs.
Scrap paper is an under-utilized resource.
Unless you’re printing out your resume, paper with only one blank side suffices for many a job. We keep scrap paper posted to the refrigerator for use as a grocery list. Scrap paper by the telephone is useful for phone messages. Lists, signs, notes! When I was a kid Mom brought home big stacks of scrap paper for us to draw on.
And look how good I turned out!