Thursday, April 19, 2012

Perils of Paper Towel Use

Paper towels - those handy ubiquitous “quicker picker-uppers” that you take for granted - have absorbed some pretty dark, dirty secrets over the years. While we tear and clean, wipe and throw, our environment takes a beating. And these disposable conveniences also take a toll on our wallets - costing at least $1 per roll, they go straight into the trash after being used only once.


THE TRUTH IS STAGGERING
You think we’re just being dramatic? Take a look at the facts:

  • 40% of U.S. landfill trash is paper products.
  • The paper industry is the third largest contributor to global warming.
  • The average American discards of 700 pounds or more of paper each year.
  • If every household in the U.S. used just one less 70-sheet roll of virgin fiber paper towels, that would save 544,000 trees each year. Change that to using three less rolls per U.S. household per year, and that would save 120,000 tons of waste and $4.1 million in landfill dumping fees.
  • Your typical paper towel is manufactured using chlorine, which releases carcinogenic dioxins and furans.
(source: 1800recycling.com)

  • Forests store 50% of the world's terrestrial carbon. (In other words, they are awfully important "carbon sinks" that hold onto pollution that would otherwise lead to global warming.)
  • Half the world's forests have already been cleared or burned, and 80% of what's left has been seriously degraded.
  • 42% of the industrial wood harvest is used to make paper.
  • The paper industry is the 4th largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions among United States manufacturing industries, and contributes 9% of the manufacturing sector's carbon emissions.
  • Paper accounts for 25% of landfill waste (and one third of municipal landfill waste).
  • Municipal landfills account for one third of human-related methane emissions (and methane is 23-times more potent a greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide).

(Source: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/7447#ixzz1sRHsabWt)

According to livestrong.com, it is estimated that “if each Washington resident used just one paper towel per day, the state would generate 134,312 tons of waste per year.”


RECYCLED PRODUCTS AND BPA
But, what about recycled paper towels? Aren’t they a good alternative? In fact, no. I hate to burst the recycling bubble, but this is one case where recycling may not be a great option. Regular paper towels contain bisphenol-A (otherwise known as BPA), an endocrine disrupter associated with breast and prostate cancers, metabolic disorders including type 2 diabetes and obesity, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Shockingly, though, studies demonstrate that recycled paper products contain levels of BPA even higher than those made from virgin material.
 (Source- "The Body Toxic" by Nena Baker)


THE TRULY GREEN ALTERNATIVE
So, what’s the answer? Glad you asked! More and more people are learning about the benefits (both financial and environmental) of reusable paper towels. They can be used, washed, and reused (20+ times!), plus they can be made in a pattern that actually matches your kitchen design theme - big-name paper towel manufacturers can’t say that...I mean, how many times have you looked at your disposable paper towels’ teacup pattern and thought, “what idiot came up with that??!” They are super absorbent and snap together so you can wrap them around your paper towel holder and have them on display! When you’ve finished using them, just throw them in the laundry for a spin and voila! Clean and ready-to-use!


GIVEAWAY!
Check out the set of unpaper towels made by our very own Greenola Girl Erin! Just for our fans, she’s created this super cute bunch of green-themed towels and we will send them to one lucky reader! The giveaway ends Tuesday April 24 at 12:01 a.m...good luck!!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

40 comments:

  1. I have a few unpaper towels and I just love them! They are so handy and save so much money. Great giveaway!

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  2. super, super cute!! I've been wanting to do unpaper towels!

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  3. I've always wanted to trY unpacker towels!

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  4. LOVE them! great giveaway!!!

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  5. I found this blog thanks to Pinterest. I had never even heard of unpaper towels, what a great idea!

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  6. Ladies, this is a great idea! I've been using cloth to wipe up spills and such for a few years, but it always just ends up in an unholy heap. This is much better.

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  7. Love these! I rarely use paper towels, but hadn't thought of having some this size all ready to use. Great idea.

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  8. I just heard about unpaper towels in an Etsy search and thought about making some of my own, but never got around to it. I love the recycling theme!

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  9. We kind of use unpaper towels already (we just use teat towels for everything, until they turn to rags) but we don't have anything like these! Neato!

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  10. I hadn't realised! Time to think about making some of my own!

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  11. First time seeing theses! Love the idea.

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  12. Great idea! I would like to use these more but didn't know where to get them.

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  13. I don't know why I'm so shocked to learn the truth about paper towels. Makes sense. Thanks so much for the information.

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  14. Disturbing! Thanks for the reminder to get "greener".

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  15. I would love to win these..First that pattern is too cute.. I have been scouring Pinterest for the past week on how to make paper towels, napkins and other things..so winning would be great then I'd have some to start me on the move.. I can't believe paper towels even have the need for BPA..but it's just like how milk and food coloring are in things that one would never think they were.. yellow dye in pie crust, this still makes me scratch my head..LOL

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    1. If you are interested, I am sure we could put together a tutorial. There a couple of different ways to make them depending on what you have.

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  16. I don't use paper towels at all! But I have always just used dish rags or dish towels. These are so much cuter! I would love to win a set :) Thanks so much for the reminder!

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  17. What a great idea! This would be a great project to make with my girl scouts! Can you share how large they are and what type of fabric they are made of?

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  18. These look like such a great idea...I would love to win these!!! :)

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  19. Yikes. Had no idea-- and I have a serious paper towel addiction. Looks like I need to get over it.

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  20. I would like to try these. I know I use too many paper towels, the are just so handy!

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  21. These are amazing! If I could sew I would make them.. but I can't for the life of me, so I would love to win them! :)

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  22. I can't sew but I would love to win them.

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  23. We often use towels to clean up spills and keep a bunch handy in the kitchen cabinet.

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  24. I would love to try unpaper towels instead of paper towels!

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  25. What a wonderful Idea we go though so many paper towels with our 5 kids :)

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  26. What a great idea! We don't use many paper towels anyway, but I'd love to eliminate the paper ones!

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  27. I would love these! I'm trying to get my husband on board with the less paper thing. He does not want to budge! Grrrr!

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  28. I would love to try these! I hate using so many paper towels with my toddler.

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  29. These are so cool...how did you make them?

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    1. There are a couple ways you can sew them up. We would be more than happy to do a tutorial if readers are interested

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    2. A tutorial would be awesome!!! I'm really hoping to win them so I can hold them in my hands to see how well they work. :) But if not I love tutorials :)

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