Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Paperless Kitchen Challenge!

A couple of weeks back, one of our members, Jo, emailed Emma with a link to a great post about the paperless kitchen idea. Now, both Emma and myself will admit that we are not great when it comes to this particular area - we both love our paper towels! So I was very interested to read the post, and we agreed that it was indeed something we ought to blog about here (and hopefully kick our butts into doing something about it!). Then, last week I read this post by Jessica of Turkey Cookies, about the very same thing. This time, it actually inspired me to do something about it straight away, so I dug out some fabric and quickly sewed up a few little napkins for the kids to use. They were so quick and easy to sew up, I don't know why I haven't made any before, so I will definitely by making some more grown up sized ones too.

I also remembered that I still had a stack of muslin squares, from when the kids were babies, and thought that they would be perfect to use as "quick clean up" cloths, instead of always reaching for a paper towel. The squares were quite big but by cutting them into quarters they are now pretty much the same size as a sheet of kitchen roll.

Of course, if you don't have any old muslin squares lying around, I'm sure old t-shirts or other fabric scraps would work just as well. Now I just have to get myself into the habit of using them! I'm also going to try and remember to use a sheet of used newspaper for more solid messes - spilled food or vegetable peelings, which can then be thrown straight into the compost bin.

Please do take the time to read the two posts mentioned above if you can, as they have loads more great ideas for reducing paper use in your kitchen. I shall be keeping you updated with how I'm doing, and we wondered if you might like to join us on this little challenge? Please do let us know how you get along or, if you already have a paperless kitchen, do you have any other tips you could pass on?

Rachel x


marigold jam said...

I think the use of paper in the kitchen is a generation thing as I hardly ever use paper towels - perhaps because when I was growing up after the way they just weren't available. I rarely use paper serviettes either unless we are having a party and have a collection of cotton or linen ones which I use and wash as necessary. I use a cloth for wiping up spills as well as for washing dishes and dry up with a teacloth.

I have noticed there are a number of "green" issue books about now and guess it is the recession which has brought the subject up again now. It is all old hat to some of us though!! Mind you we probably need reminding about it as we may have slipped into bad habbits along the way!

Good luck with your challenge!

marigold jam said...

Oops that should read war not way! And to think I once taught typing!!


clarabelle said...

Good post - I too use far more paper towels that I should, and coincidentally have thought about it a few times recently when reaching for one!

Floss said...

Yippie! I have a NEARLY paperless kitchen - we use up a roll of kitchen paper once every two months, perhaps. Other than that I have lovely mis-matched colour sets of second hand napkins at the table, pretty microfibre cloths en masse in a plastic bag dispenser in the kitchen, and a laundry bin for them there too, and loads of cut up T-shirts and towelling socks in the utility room for floors and dusting. The kitchen roll comes out occasionally for draining food or doing something so disgusting (sick etc) that I couldn't reuse the cloth afterwards. Off to read your links now...

jojoebi said...

great post ;o)
I think it is one of those things that becomes habit, we have a drawer next to the dining table with cloth napkins in it, mixie matchy and there are loads of them, even if I don't do any washing for a week, I probably wouldn't run out! So having plenty on hand is an important step. Also, making some out of fun prints will encourage little ones to use them, my son just gets them out every time we lay the breakfast table, it is his 'job'.
The same goes with rags, have plenty on hand and move the paper towels to somewhere difficult to get to so that getting a rag is easier ;o)
We use maybe 2 rolls of kitchen paper a year and then just for cooking.
Now, if anyone has a bright idea about cutting down on face/nose tissues, I am all ears...my son has nose bleeds so we have a box in every room!

ClaireP said...

great post! I've been thinking of making some mis-matched napkins from my stash. I think I'll have to add them to the giant 'to-do' list!

also like the idea of old t-shirst for dusters/rags. I have a pile of hubbies cast offs that have just been sat around waiting for me to do something with - no idea why that didn't cross my mind!

keep up the good work girls!

Pearly Queen said...

I use less paper towels than I used to, but still use them for cleaning the glass doors of my wood-burning stove, as this is done nearly every day and I can't face the thought of washing the cloths used for this- but I should, I know.
I knitted dishcloths for spills and suchlike, and just sling them in the washing machine after use. They were made with oddments of knitting cotton from making face cloths and are very colourful!
I make dusters from old duvet covers and curtain linings and use them for all sorts of things. I use my overlocker to go round the edges so they don't fray in the wash.
Just got to stop using the paper towels to microwave baked potatoes now!

Pomona said...

I don't buy kitchen rolls or tissues at all - ordinary knitted dishcloths or tea towels are perfectly adequate for ordinary spills - they all go in a hot wash when I run out. I cut up old T-shirts, cosy pyjama bottoms, and save old holey tea towels and hand towels - these can be used for floors and really grubby stuff, and I have so many that I just compost or put them on the fire if they are too filthy to wash. Old nappies and towels are very absorbent and also good for polishing off glass. Crumpled newspaper is one of the best glass cleaners.
We all use cotton hankies - the answer is to have plenty, and if anyone has a cold make sure they go in a hot wash. They can also be sterilized by ironing or steaming. You can make them by cutting out squares (20 in for men, less for child and women's size) from the good parts of old cotton shirts or other clothing. Just turn a double narrow hem and machine round. You also find lots of unopened gift boxes of hankies in charity shops. Woven cotton hankies are also preferable for those with allergies/rhinitis as the fibres from paper tissues can irritate the nose in sneezy types.

Well done for all the green stuff - right after my own heart!

Pomona x