The Dirty Details and Facts on Paper Towels and Sponges | CottageCare

Previously on the CottageCare blog, we’ve provided you with the CottageCare Housecleaning tips to keep your home looking and feeling fresh. These tips have included basic tasks like wiping up spills as they happen, taking out the trash when it’s full, putting away laundry instead of letting it pile up, making your bed each day, etc. Here at CottageCare, we’re more than that. We want to provide you with not only the tips to enjoying your CottageCare Housecleaning as long as possible, but also eco-friendly cleaning tools and the WHY behind it. We hope you enjoy this mini-series of posts! It is important, now more than ever, that we take action to protect our environment, and each action we take (no matter how small) is a step in the right direction.

Today, we’re going to talk about sponge and paper towel facts.

Are paper towels bad for the environment?

Yes, paper towels are bad for the environment. Like any single-use disposable product, the production of paper towels takes energy, results in carbon emissions and other pollution, and generates waste (even if it is commercially compostable).

It’s time to let those paper towels and non-biodegradable sponges go! Sure, paper towels make life pretty easy when it comes to wiping up messes in a hurry, but let’s take a moment to think about how many rolls of paper towels someone might go through in a week. A month. A year. A lifetime. Take it a step further and consider if every household on the planet went through the same amount. What if they go through even more?

According to The Paperless Project, the paper industry is the 3rd largest contributor to global warming. Here are a few dirty details* on paper towel facts…

• To make one ton of paper towels 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water are polluted.
• In the U.S. we currently use more than 13 billion pounds of paper towels each year and that number is growing steadily.
• This means that every day more than 3,000 tons of paper towels are wasted in the U.S. alone.
• Globally, discarded paper towels result in 254 million tons of trash every year. In other words, the world creates 695,000 tons of paper towel waste every day!
• As many as 51,000 trees per day are required to replace the number of paper towels that are discarded every day.
• If every household in the U.S. used just one less 70-sheet roll of paper towels, that would save 544,000 trees each year.
• If every household in the U.S. used three fewer rolls of paper towels per year, it would save 120,000 tons of waste and $4.1 million in landfill dumping fees.

Now, how about those sponges? It’s no secret that damp sponges are a place where germs and bacteria thrive. There are many opinions on how often sponges should be replaced, but when that time does come guess what happens to most sponges when they are thrown in the trash? That polyester scrubber? NOTHING. It will sit in the landfill forever. The dyes and glues found in the rest of most cellulose sponges are also harmful to the environment.

The Eco-Friendly Alternative

Twist paper towel logo
Picture of reusable cloth cleaning towel from Twist

Twist makes a variety of all-natural kitchen sponges, paper towel alternatives, and cleaning tools for your home. They use 100% plant-based materials and FSC certified sources for wood pulp to make their cellulose and hand sew the scrubbers onto the certified biodegradable cellulose bases. No toxic glues here!

You can substitute using paper towels for wiping wet messes with a sponge and dry with a dish towel or cleaning cloth. Cloth napkins can also replace the use of paper towels at the dinner table as well!

It can take time to adjust to not using paper towels, and it’s been said that it takes about 3 weeks to make a habit. As we mentioned earlier, it’s time to take action to protect our environment and any step (no matter how small) is a step in the right direction!

What steps are you taking in your home to Going Green in 2017?

What are your favorite eco-friendly cleaning tools?

*facts provided by The Paperless Project.