These days, even the major paper companies are releasing eco friendly products. Whether they’re made with recycled materials, from sustainable forests, or just packaged to produce less waste, very non-green corporations are trying to enter the green market. Their motives might not be in the best place, but their new impact on the earth remains positive. If you’re choosing between white, bleached paper towels and a brown roll that’s made of recycled paper, the latter is certainly greener. But even recycled paper towels aren’t truly earth friendly cleaning products: the better option is always something reusable, like a rag.
Recycled paper products have dramatically reduced our dependence on rainforest lumber—and our rate of consuming it. Every time paper is pulped and used again, it saves trees from destruction. That’s green, but the process still requires significant energy, not to mention literal tons of CO2 to transport old paper products to recycling centers. It’s a preferred method for essential paper products; paper towels just shouldn’t be considered essential.
All legitimate earth friendly cleaning products reduce household toxins and waste. Recycled paper towels may not emit toxins, but they’re still more wasteful than is necessary. Rather than use ten plies of recycled paper to clean up a spill, a rag works just as well. It’s reusable, which saves money, and it can be made from anything. Old shirts, cloth diapers, and worn towels function just as well if not better than paper towels. And because they’re made at home, they have no carbon footprint and produce no waste, which makes them perfect complements of purchased and legitimate earth friendly cleaning products.