Friday, April 22, 2011

Less is More

In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to pass along a post entitled, "Less is so much More" from my new favorite blogger and mentor. I was introduced to the Zero Waste Family 3 months ago while I was in Santa Cruz visiting my sister-in-law. She shared an article with me from Sunset magazine about this family in Northern California who produces nearly zero waste in their household. Just a small handful of garbage in 4 months. Furthermore, this family lives a beautiful, simple, and clutter-free lifestyle and because of this, they have time to enjoy the things that really matter... spending quality time with family and friends, enjoying nature, eating healthy food, and being respectful to our planet.

I was immediately inspired and along with my sister-in-law, started thinking about the many ways we could start reducing waste. We, like many others, had already stopped using plastic bags at the grocery store but wanted to find ways to do more. We decided the next step was to stop using paper towels and napkins completely and instead start using cloth wipes as well as cloth napkins at dinner. That weekend, Laura and I scoured the antique shops in Santa Cruz for vintage linen cocktail napkins and dish towels (besides being really cool, buying vintage or second-hand is a great way to recycle and reduce unnecessary resources on new products). My favorite cloths for wiping up spills are "Trader Joe's Super Amazing Kitchen Cloth". You get 2 in a pack and they hold up great in the wash and absorb lots of liquid (although they do shrink a bit after washing).

When I got home from my trip, I pitched the paper towel idea to my husband who was confused as to how this would work out. This was the person who probably used an entire roll of paper towels per day, just by himself. But...he was willing to give it a try and that's all I ask. We went cold turkey- we had maybe half a roll left and after that was gone, it was gone for good. For the past 3 months, my paper towel holder has been empty. I should just remove it from the wall but sometimes I like to look at it as a reminder of our zero-waste goal. Was it difficult? Absolutely not. Ask my husband. Every time I went to reach for a paper towel to dry my hands and it wasn't there, I just grabbed the kitchen towel that hangs right above my sink. Every time I went to grab a paper towel to clean up a spill, I opened up my kitchen drawer and used a cloth instead. Out of sight, out of mind. Seriously. I've since moved on to other zero-waste methods but I'll go into that in future posts. For now, I ask that you just consider trying something different.

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