This month is the International Day of Forests. Sadly millions of trees are cut down each year to make paper products we flush down the toilet or throw in the trash. Think of how many trees we could save if we replace our luxury quilted TP and single use paper towels with more sustainable alternatives.
Instead of toilet paper and paper towels made from virgin tree pulp try bamboo toilet paper/paper towels that are FSC certified. Bamboo is a fast growing grass which doesn’t require a lot of water to grow and it can flourish in depleted soil. Bamboo can even help restore soil. Because bamboo is a grass, replanting is not required after each harvest. Though responsibly grown bamboo may be a more environmentally-friendly way to create paper than cutting down trees, using what we already have is an even better option. Choosing single use products made from recycled paper can save on energy consumption, water and, of course, reduce deforestation. So choose recycled paper products when you can.
For paper towels we can take it one step further and choose paperLESS towels as an alternative to the single use paper towels we’ve become so accustomed to. We started using paperless towels at home and it was one of the easiest sustainable transitions we’ve made. I got organized by having some old rags in a designated place, kitchen towels and counter top paperless towels. By simply removing the single use paper towels from the counter top our whole family was forced to stop and think what they really needed. Were they grabbing it to dry their clean hands off or to use as a napkin? Was it being used as a surface to make a sandwich or for wiping down the counter? In each of these examples we had to think, “Is there a reusable alternative?”
What our family found is that 99% of the time there is a simple, easy, sustainable option. Use a clean kitchen towel to dry your hands, a reusable napkin instead of one you throw away, use a cutting board or plate to prepare your sandwich, and a paperless counter top towel to clean kitchen surfaces. Do we still have single use paper towels? Yes we do, but we reserve them for really nasty messes and keep them tucked away so we are mindful about what we use them for.
So this month, in honor of Earth’s magnificent forests, can you try a more sustainable option for your paper needs?
“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt