Tag Archives: diy paper towels

Paperless Paper Towels?!


Yes, I know the title is an oxymoron, but it’s also true!

Not all paper towels are created equal, and luckily for the zero waste crowd, some of them aren’t even made out of paper!

Like toilet paper, I think it’s dumb (and unnecessary) to cut down a tree just to use it’s mangled remains once then throw it away. And sure, paper is biodegradable, but that still doesn’t make it okay!

Again, cutting down a 40-year old (or older) tree just to wipe my face? Uh, no thank-you. There are better alternatives out there, and that’s exactly what this article is about!

When it comes to paperless paper towels, there are a few different options you can choose from. I’ll be listing out some of the benefits to each alternative, but as always, I leave the decision up to you.


  1. Bamboo Towels

This option is probably the closest to the “real” thing as you’re gonna get. As the name implies, instead of being made out of paper, these products are made out of bamboo.

The bamboo makes them more sustainable than paper (bamboo is a grass and grows back much faster than a tree) and some people have reported that bamboo towels have more structural integrity (read: don’t disintegrate as easily when used with water), and because of this, they can use less towel per activity/meal.

However they are still a single-use product, and they may be harder to find – and more expensive – than “regular” paper towels.


2. Napkins

You’ve probably (hopefully) heard of napkins before, but just in case: these squares are made out of fabric, and were the original go-to for wiping your mouth during a meal.

That’s right, napkins are the OG paper towels!

Somewhere along the way, the industry standard changed to single-use/convenience products over substance, and napkins are now usually only thought of as being “fancy” and used in similar settings. (Think: weddings, 5-Star restaurants, etc.)

What makes napkins better than your standard paper towel is the fact that they’re reusable! You use as normal, then toss the soiled napkin into your laundry (or a wet bag, then laundry once you have enough to make a load out of) and bam they’re good to go for the next use.

The down sides of using cloth napkins are that you have to wash them, so you’ll be doing an extra load of laundry, which means you’ll be using more water. Another downside is that they may stain, and though you do wash them, that can make them appear not as clean as they are to guests.

You do also run the risk of running out if you don’t launder them frequently enough.


3. DIY Reusable Paperless Towels

These ones are sort of a mix between the other two alternatives. You can make them yourself out of basically any material you want (like reusable pads, most people tend to use fleece, or terry cloth) and attach snaps to one side of them so you can roll them up and house them on a paper towel holder for convenience.

The great thing about these DIY paperless towels is the fact you can make them with scrap fabric from around your house, which means you don’t have to ‘waste’ money on buying fancy cloth napkins. (Not to mention, the wait for them to get shipped to your house)

Another good thing about them is that, just like cloth napkins, they can be washed and reused!

One downside to these DIY paperless towels is that you may not like the idea of a wet bag holding your dirty/used napkins in your kitchen. Or, if you’re sewing skills aren’t that great, you may need to repair them should they begin to unravel.

Like I said above though, that’s a decision you’ll need to make for yourself. I don’t know your lifestyle, so I can’t tell you which of these three alternatives will work best for you.

Do some research into the paperless towel scene and take a chance on one to try. Or hell, try all three!

There’s literally no harm in testing out all three zero waste options before deciding to stick to one. Or, you may even find you use different alternatives for different days/occasions, which is also totally fine!

Whatever you decide, just remember any of these alternatives are better than using paper.

Paperless paper towels: have you tried them? Which alternative is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

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