Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Baby Step Toward Green

Today as I walked through Costco and repeatedly convinced myself I shouldn’t buy large quantities of yet another thing I really didn’t need, my eye caught the display of colorful Waffle Weave Kitchen Towels. It suddenly occurred to me that I could put the 20 rolls of paper towels back if I bought these cloth towels and possibly move just a little closer to green.

I have become increasingly aware of environmental issues as we as a society continue to trash the planet. MediaConcepts recently wrote a convincing post about the explosive use of plastic water bottles in this country and his efforts to go in a different direction. My daughter who lives in San Francisco and was visiting last week took this a step further and suggested we each buy a metal water bottle because bad stuff can leach out of plastic bottles that are reused.

So I bought the microfiber towels and came home to give my sales pitch to the king of paper towel users, not that I don’t use any. I proposed that we each have a towel hung on different sides of the kitchen and that we use that towel as we would a paper towel for drying our hands. Every few days as a load of wash goes in, we can throw in the two towels (literally). After all there are 10 in total. He reluctantly agreed to the new towel deal and chose his side of the kitchen. Meanwhile I sewed a little bias tape loop to each towel so it can easily be hung in the kitchen.

The brand “Eurow” makes it sound like these are some Swedish product. But alas, they are made in China (probably by underage children), as are most textile products today.

I think it’s interesting that there is no mention of the ecological benefits to using these towels on the colorful wrapper they came in. Instead it says

– Makes life easier
– The ultimate towel for commercial drying
– Super-absorbent waffle weave towel
– A lint and streak-free shine every time
– Perfect towel for polishing silver, crystal, and more

I hope our use of these towels will save paper as well! We’ll see how this green venture actually plays out.


Blogger Richard said...

Good for you.

I wish I could convince Sofia to give up paper towels – I've complaine dabout it since we were married. For someone raised in a Third World country, she is far more profligate and consumptive than I am. I can't imagine what life would be like married to someone raised in a first world nation.

The bottled water is another issue. It generates unnecessary waste, but more than that it is extremely expensive and legitimizes the co modification of a resource that is that should be the right of every individual.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Richard -- It remains to be seen if this really works for us.

On a positive green note, my husband took reusable bags to the grocery store today and therefore came home with NO MORE PLASTIC bags. I have to get in this habit as well.

So much of this is about changing old habits into new green ones!

7:10 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Every little bit helps, right? That's what I keep telling myself.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- It would be interesting to know some statistics on what percentage of people are aware of green issues and what percentage of those are actually acting on what they know. My guess is both numbers are quite small.

9:07 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

I am humbled to think that my stupid series of blog posts about going greener would have a positive effect on even one other person. I'll continue to post about the progress I'm making. Did I mention pulling plugs from outlets when appliances like toasters and coffee makers are not being used? That's another very easy step that saves real money on your electric bill.

12:20 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MC -- Such an inspiration you are! Do tell more about pulling the plugs.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

welcome to the world of kitchen towels! I have some waffle ones that I love as well as some from IKEA that are the same texture as the ones I was raised with. I still use paper towels to pick up cat yack and other things that come out of a cat's body and have to be thrown away. When we moved parttime to the LS, I bought a kitchen garbage that essentially fit the plastic bags given at the grocery store, so I don't feel bad about taking them, because I USE them. My mother uses them as packing material in boxes that she sends.

I tend to think that that piece about reused plastic bottles is urban fiction to make people buy new plastic bottles. I reuse plastic with impunity, but eat leafy greens to offset any toxicity. I have two plastic water bottles that I refill so that I can have water in my cave of an office. I refill them from the water cooler in the teacher lounge. (They have bottled water b/c the tap water is questionable, plus it tastes horrible, but that's well water for you.

I think the best way to make a convert (such as your husband) is to make both available and reinforce the one that you want, gradually making it harder and harder to use the other one (but I am a sneaky behaviorist).

Every little bit helps! I can remember when we didn't recycle household garbage or, even for that matter, recycle aluminum cans.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kelly -- I think it's working. He loves the soft towels and the paper towel roll looks about as full as it was yesterday!

1:52 PM  
Blogger kimy said...

for years we have been proponents and users of cloth rags, towels and napkins .... paper towels are still used sparingly for certain tasks but for most things we use things that can be reused. using rags (which generally are clothes or towels that have been worn to holey-ness or maybe it would be holiness) is a practice handed down by generations of frugal women in my family of origin!

my biggest contribution to becoming greener is almost 2 years ago my much loved vw jetta finally died - a tad shy of 200,000 miles. instead of replacing the car, I decided to try and be carfree. I use public transport or walk. I love it, I meet wonderful people (and crazy interesting people), read a lot more books than pre public transit days, am probably in better shape, save money (cars are expensive even if they are paid for!).... if I really, really need a car, I'm fortunate my daughter lives nearby and I can borrow hers (a nice fuel efficient honda) and about once a month I will borrow hers or we do an errand run together - stocking up on all those bulky or heavy items that are a pain to schlep home on foot.

every little bit does help!!

I've read about this pulling plug thing....but have yet to wrap my mind around actually doing it! we have replaced most of the bulbs in our house with compact fluorescent light bulbs.

good luck - becoming greener! contrary to what kermie sings, at times it is easy being green!

2:34 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kimy -- You are several giant steps ahead of me. We have replaced most of our bulbs with the long-lasting efficient ones. But we have a long way to go. I won't even talk about cars that we need to get rid of.

I hear you are coming to this area soon. I would love to share a cup of coffee with you if time permits.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Living Green is certainly at thr forefront these days and there is a lot of pressure, especially for educated people like us, to choose the right way. We have the cloth grocery bags but I have a heck of a time remembering to bring them to the store.
Composting is difficult in winter too. I don't re-use plastic bottles but I need to train myself to use the plexiglass ones I own!

9:23 AM  

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