Monday, July 7, 2014

Mindful Monday: Paper Towels

Paper towels.  We all use them.  Some of us more than others.  But the convenience they offer is invaluable when you consider the nasties they are used to clean up.  I mentioned them briefly in my ABCs of Composting, but today I'll go a little bit more into detail.

I used to put used paper towels into the recycling bin, thinking, "They're mad of paper, so they should be recyclable."  Well, I was wrong.  Paper towels are made from fibers that are too small and fragile to be reused.  Also, while food containers can be recycled to a certain extent, fibers that have absorbed spills--other than water--cannot have the food particles, dyes, and oils extracted.  

So, a better option is to toss those used paper towels into the compost.  They break down rather quickly.  In fact, they break down much faster than the "compostable" bags I had for my inside pail.  (Those buggers broke down too fast to use in the pail, causing leaks, but once in the bin they barely broke down any further.)

I try not to use paper towels that have dyed patterns on them, figuring that the chlorine used to make my paper towels white is more than enough chemical to put into my bin.  You can, of course, use recycled brown paper towels instead of the white ones.  I haven't found that they are readily available in my area, and expect that they may be pricey when I do find them, so I'm still using white at this point.  

I also use the "select-a-size" so that waste is reduced that much more.  And, you can reuse paper towels that aren't overly dirty or gross.  I keep a paper towel on the counter by the coffee pot to wipe up those small spills that are inevitable around the machine.  I use that paper towel until it's just too yucky to use anymore.

Now, following in the footsteps of Mike Rowe, I ask for your help:
I'm running out of ideas for Mindful Monday posts.  I do have a few left on the list, but if there is something you think would be a good topic, or something that you'd like to know more about, please let me know by leaving a comment below.

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