Going green is not as difficult as it sounds. Really, it's as simple as turning electronics off when not in use, taking shorter showers and sorting your recycling. But one way to go green is something that a lot of people skip because they think it will be too difficult: having a paperless kitchen.
Switching to a paperless kitchen might sound like a hassle, but it's actually a lot easier than you might expect.
In fact, going paperless is a trend that is on the rise in many businesses and homes. Your kitchen should not be any different. By following these tips going paperless in the kitchen will be an easy transition.
Stop Buying Paper Products
The first step is to think about all the ways you use paper in your kitchen. The most common are disposable towels, plates, and napkins While these items can be recycled, although many people typically trash them instead. Going paperless is still the best option, to save money and our trees.
Because paper towels are relatively inexpensive, easy to grab and toss, and multi-functional, they have become a staple in most kitchens. A lot of people use paper towels throughout the day to clean up spills, wash their mirrors and windows, wipe down surfaces, and dry clean dishes. Although paper towels are convenient, they really do add up and contribute a large amount to landfills.
Although most people only use disposable plates for picnics, camping, birthday parties, and holidays, there are some families who keep them in the kitchen for daily use. Using paper plates can help save the time you spend doing the dishes, but just like paper towels, they certainly add up in waste.
Napkins are great. They keep us from embarrassing spaghetti-sauce faces and sticky barbecue-rib hands. Though, it is pretty rare to only need one napkin per meal, as they tend to be small and thin. If you have kids, you know how true this really is, as many seem to use way more than they need. Realistically, they are pretty unnecessary and only contribute to the growing waste problem in this country.
Invest in Cloths and Towels Instead
Once you've decided to stop using paper products, you'll realize that you have to invest in other alternatives to replace them.
Instead of offering dinner guests a handful of paper napkins to wipe their hands and mouth with, set the table with cloth napkins or put together an attractive basket of napkins and set it in the center of the table for people to grab at their leisure. Washable cloth napkins are a lot fancier looking, and your guests will definitely appreciate the luxury feel compared with rough paper napkins or paper towels. You can even buy themed napkins for different holidays and occasions.
Rags or Cloths
Paper towels aren't typically used to wash dishes (obviously because they'll fall apart), but a lot of people do use them to wipe down counters and tabletops, as well as clean up spills.
This is where having a selection of rags will come in handy when you're going paperless. You can use old cloths or buy new dish cloths.
To start, make sure you have a few absorbent cloths to use for cleaning up spills and messes. Then, make sure to have a couple of rags to use for wiping down the counters and tables. This way, you won't be tempted to go back to paper towels because you’ll have plenty of re-usable options.
Another way that you can replace paper towels is to use dish towels. Some people believe drying their dishes with paper towels is much more sanitary than using a dish cloth. However, if you use a clean dish cloth, it's just as sanitary.
If it's really a concern, you can also let your dishes air dry.
Some people even prefer to use paper towels for drying their hands after washing them.
So, in order to go paperless, make sure to have an attractive collection of hand towels in your kitchen as well as your bathroom. Put one close to the sink in applicable rooms so that when people wash their hands, they know that those towels are meant for drying.
Finally, a lot of people believe that the only way to get streak-free mirrors and windows is to use paper towels. It's not.
Although most cloths won't do a good job at cleaning glass surfaces without leaving streaks, microfiber cloths do an amazing job! And you don't even need to use expensive cleaners with them like you do with paper towels. You can use a simple homemade cleaner or even just plain water when using microfiber cloths on mirrors and windows.
Other Things to Think About
There are other ways that people overuse disposable paper products in the kitchen. It is important to take note of alternative methods to further reduce your waste.
Mops and Dusters
There are a ton of different products on the market today that use throwaway cloths and towels for collecting unwanted dust and debris in the home. These cleaning supplies are expensive, bad for the environment, and completely unnecessary.
Instead of using products that are only good for one-time use, try to buy mop heads that can be used time and time again. My personal favorite is the kind that can be thrown in the washing machine.
As for dusting, a damp cloth works much better than a throwaway towel. In fact, microfiber clothes are particularly great for this job.
Pads of Paper
Instead of keeping a paper notepad for writing down phone messages or grocery lists, give your kitchen a little DIY update with a white board or chalk board. Plus, in this technological age, your phone is the perfect place for keeping notes and lists. In fact, you can often download apps that will even work with your local grocery store to give you a more accurate and detailed grocery list.