Monday, October 11, 2010

Switching to Cloth Napkins

Slowly over the last few months, we've been changing how we live. I've been gently pushing us to create less trash, use all natural things, eat at home. A lot of it is about saving money, but it's also about reducing our impact on the environment and taking better care of ourselves.

Our mini revolution began with napkins.

At Target one day, I picked up a 10-pack of white all-cotton cloth napkins as an experiment. We had been going through paper napkins at an alarming rate, and I wanted to put a stop to it.

The first thing I noticed was that the cloth napkins worked a lot better than paper. R would wipe his face after dinner, and the cloth napkins actually cleaned off the goo. Even he noticed the difference.

Then (oh happy day!), R started putting his napkin on his lap during meals. Cloth napkins stay put in your lap. They don't blow away in the breeze. It's easier for R to keep them in place.

Cloth napkins dress up an otherwise ordinary table. We're not fancy people. I'm not big on tablecloths, and our dishes are casual and hefty. We drink out of small canning jars. So having cloth napkins on the table feels a little more special.

I was worried when I bought the cloth napkins that the extra laundry I'd have to do would cancel out any tree-saving and trash reduction we accomplished. But I've found that I don't really have any more laundry to do than usual. When it's just the three of us, we re-use the cloth napkins quite a bit. Unless they're really soiled, I just refold them with a new clean side out, and we can go a couple of days using the same ones. (Don't worry - if we have company, I put out new napkins.) And, because they're relatively small, they don't take up a lot of space in the laundry, so I really haven't had to add any extra loads to cover them.

I'm really proud and excited of how easy this change was for my family. Now, I stick a cloth napkin in our lunchboxes or any time we're packing along food for the road. If I think we're going to need wipes, I wet a napkin or washcloth and put it in a ziploc to bring along. It's become second nature to me.

But the best part? We haven't bought any paper napkins since my experiment began!


sandwhichisthere said...

you are a marvel of compassion and common sense. The next step will be to install a solar clothes dryer.
All of my love to you and your family always,

City Girl said...

Great environmentally-friendly idea and I love that cloth napkins have the added benefit of being a better fit for R! xoxo

Kristen said...

I love my cheering section! :-)

My adventures with other green efforts haven't gone as smoothly - more to come on that soon.

LEstes65 said...

That rocks. I think I may try this. I can't believe how many napkins or paper towels we go through.