The Biggest Hurdles in Switching from Paper to Paperless Towels
It would seem that switching from a paper towels to reusable ones should be simple. Just use the reusable towels the same way you use regular paper towels and it's done. But as I found myself, it might not be that simple! The biggest hurdle is the mental one, or the stories that we tell ourselves why it will be impossible to switch. Here are some I struggled with.
- Expense - 6-roll pack of even the more premium paper towels costs under $10. If you're an average American family, you use 2 paper towel rolls per week. This means close to $200 per year in paper towel costs. Reusable towels aren't cheap, but most cost about $30 per set and will last you at least couple of years before you need to replace.
- Convenience - I will be first one to admit that paper towels are VERY convenient. You rip off a piece whenever the need arises to clean your hands, your counter, or a spill and when you're done you toss it in the trash. I get it. We have enough to do! But once you invest in a roll or 2 of reusable towels that you can roll up and put on your paper towel holder, and use the exact same way as you use regular paper towels, you will see it's not as inconvenient as you imagined. Once you get the hang of it, it isn't that much of a chore to throw your reusable towels in the wash and roll them up. If they weren't used for some real bad messes, I frequently will throw them in with the kids clothes and lay them flat and then roll them up. It takes a couple of minutes. But the knowledge and peace of mind that I'm not using a chemical-laden product is immesurable!
- They will get dirty! - YES, they WILL get dirty! And sometimes even stained. But that's the point! These aren't meant to be decoration! They are meant to do the job of regular towels, so they will get wet, dirty and stained. This was one of the biggest hurdles for me when I first started using reusable towels. I frequently stopped in my tracks after grabbing a towel because I was worried that they were going to get stained from the spilled blueberry smoothie, or bacon grease. But if you're going to wash them, why not use them the same way you would use paper towels? Who cares that the stain won't completely come out? I now look at the towels that have a stain on them as a badge of honor that I'm doing something good for my family and the planet. Even if that means a not so perfect (looking) kitchen.