Paper Towels

Geez Debra…even paper towels? They're not plastic, they're made from natural resources and are compostable. Aren't you going a little too far?

Sorry, but even the modest, ordinary, unpretentious paper towel has got to go if we want to cut down on our waste and toxic exposure.


  1. Paper towels are compostable: true if you have access to home compost or city compost, and if you don’t use them with chemicals like toxic cleaning products.

  2. If composting is not an option, they end up in landfills because THEY CAN’T BE RECYCLED.

  3. Paper towels come wrapped in plastic. You know it and I know it. I mean, you can source them without plastic packaging, but that's a really expensive price to pay to wipe and toss.

  4. Paper towels are not just wood pulp. In order to make paper towels sturdy enough to effectively absorb water and to give them that nice bright white look, heavy chemicals – including bleaches and dyes - are added.

  5. People use A LOT of paper towels: 13 billion pounds each year in the US → 40 pounds, the equivalent of 80 rolls, per person, per year

What about recycled paper towels?

One study found that manufacturing recycled paper towels – while it saves trees – has roughly the same environmental impact as that of virgin paper towels.

Not to mention that at the end of the day, both end up in landfills where they release deadly methane.


  1. Good old rags, soiled towels, stained t-shirts. They cost you nothing and you will always have more than you need.

  2. Swedish dishcloths…highly absorbent and last 6-9 months.

  3. If you like to have a roll on the counter that is easy to pull off, invest in a roll of reusable paper towels. The prints are pretty and they are made from highly absorbent cotton flannel. You can toss them right in the washer and dryer with your towels. Then roll right back up on the tube…ready for another day.

You will never have to buy paper towels again!

You're welcome.