Did you know that Shepherd’s Dream has a points program? It’s a great way to maximize your purchases with us, whether you’re outfitting every bedroom in your home all at once or upgrading your bedroom one piece at a time.
Counting Sheep Blog
Reusable Paper Towels for the Zero Waste Mission
Continuing the launch of our Zero Waste Ewe-initiative®, we’re highlighting a product of ours that helps scratch multiple eco itches—Paper[less] Towels.
Let’s chat paper towels.
They’re indisputably convenient, wiping up messes with wonderful absorbent powers and magically disappearing. Except…they don’t actually go away.
While technically biodegradable, regular paper towels start out with deforestation and then go through the environmentally-damaging process of turning wood pulp into bleached white squares on a roll. They are used once, then they go to the landfill where they take up space, don’t break down very quickly, and the bleach used during processing continues to release chemicals. Current estimations put the United States’ annual paper towel usage at 13 billion pounds—and growing.
That’s a lot of trees and chemicals. Not to mention all that plastic packaging and the cardboard tubes. Paper towels made from recycled paper are somewhat helpful, but they are still single use disposables. The unbleached ones are at least compostable, but we think we can do better.
Wow! Now What?!
We’re glad you asked…
Reusable cloth towels are a totally viable option—we call ours Paper[less] Towels!
We noticed that we had some organic cotton flannel scraps left over from our production process, and decided to put them to good use. They’re super soft and absorbent, and they wash up like a dream. In addition, they’re stronger than thin, fragile paper towels, and because they can be reused again and again, they’re going to save you money over time. You’ll want to keep them at the ready in the kitchen, bathroom, and anywhere else spills happen. Luckily, when you buy our Paper[less] Towels in bulk bundles, you save a bit of money too!
By ensuring that we’re using as much of the fabric as possible from our production cycles, it’s one way to reduce the impacts from textiles to our planet. The textile industry is huge and whether we’re talking about natural or synthetic materials, there are lots of resources, chemicals, and labor involved. One of the best ways to help is to use what we’ve got until it’s been fully utilized to the greatest extent.
Any Pro Tips?
As we know, living the zero waste lifestyle often requires a bit of maintenance, but once we’re committed, it all becomes part of the flow.
- Don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets. Be sure to launder your Paper[less] Towels with clean, biodegradable laundry soap. Other laundry detergents can build up over time or deposit a film that will prevent your towels from absorbing as much liquid as they should. If softening and wrinkle prevention are desired, check out our Wool Dryer Balls.
- Try good ol’ vinegar and baking soda. (Not together, unless you want to recreate your middle school science project in your washing machine.) If your towels aren’t as thirsty as you’d like, wash them for one full cycle in hot water with a cup of household vinegar, then another separate full cycle with ½ cup of baking soda. They’ll be ready for action!
- Wash them in a laundry bag. Our Cotton Mesh Laundry Bags are plastic free and will keep them all together for a more efficient laundry day.
- Compost them! When they’ve soaked up their last spill and are ready for retirement, the organic cotton fabric can be composted in your garden pile. How cool is that?!
Our Paper[less] Towels help us achieve our zero waste goals by putting every square inch of fabric to good use, AND they replace single-use, disposable paper towels. We hope you love them as much as we do! (Psst…if you do, you might also enjoy our Reusable Face Wipes—made with the same great fabric!)