Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Goodbye Paper Towels!

Hey everybody, time to say goodbye to one more product in your home...paper towels! Yes, I know what you're thinking, "I'm not using old rags and I'm not letting my house get dirty!" Just trust me here, I've got an idea for you! Let me tell you how I came to saying goodbye to paper towels. A few months back, when making the move to become more green, I looked at the way my hubby and I were using paper towels, and we (I) tried cutting back. Still, I felt some eco-guilt every time I bought more paper towels at the grocery store, even if they were the "green" Seventh Generation kind. On top of this, I was coming across information about how single-use paper product companies are clear cutting ancient trees and untouched forests...all for some paper towels and Kleenexes- really? What are we going to tell our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, "Oh sorry, there's no more trees left, we needed some paper towels."

Enough of my paper towel rant, time to move on to the solution! So after trying out a number of rags, towels, etc. I've finally found something that works! No, I didn't get it at Target, Wal-Mart, or CVS...I got it on Etsy! Not sure how many of you know about or use Etsy, but it's pretty awesome! You can buy or sell a number of handmade items that can't be found in stores, plus you get to talk to the person selling the product, which is great! The super cool and green product I found on there are "Un Paper Towels" by the seller, "Made in the Red Barn". 

Here's some facts about their un paper towels according to their Etsy site:
-made from a single layer of birdseye cotton fabric (Birdseye's unique weave makes it soft and very absorbent. Its' woven qualities also make it fast drying, durable and long lasting.)
-similar in size (Dimensions: 11-1/2" x 11-1/2"), shape and weight to paper towels
-made to wash and reuse.
-unpaper towels are kind to the budget AND eco-friendly

The cost of 24 Un Paper Towels is $23, which is the ones I purchased first. You can get as much as 48, or as little as 12. They even have some fun new colors you can choose from. It's up to you! Plus, there are tons of uses for these un paper towels! I use them: as Kleenex, for cleaning and dusting (see the pic at the top of the post), as napkins with meals, and I've even stuck a few in my car in case of smoothie spills!

So now that you've got your un paper towels, you're all set right? Not quite! The challenge is now where to put them? For a few weeks I tried balancing mine on the paper towel holder that was mounted under our kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately every time I wanted an un paper towel, I pulled and ended up with 20 more. Time for "Made in the Red Barn" to come in and save the day again with their "Towel Houses"!

These things are genius! It comes with two pieces: the tall base and a removable top. In the base there is a hole for you to pull the un paper towels through when you need one...and it's great because you only get one! These Towel Houses are very simple: all you have to do is take off the lid, drop clean un paper towels in, and pull them out of the hole when you need them! Here's some more info about them from their Etsy site:

-they are made from upcycled wood that has been stained and created to make a base and a lid
-you can just pluck just one towel at a time to avoid contamination of the others
-easily restock the un paper towels by placing the washed, UNFOLDED towels through the top of the dispenser and replacing the lid
-holds 18 un paper towels at a time
-Dimensions: 11-1/2" tall (excluding knob), 5-1/2" square at base
-comes in 25+ colors and styles, there are even a few smaller-sized towel houses (I chose the lime green because our kitchen colors are black, brown, and lime green... and we hardly had anything lime green!)
-cost: $33-39 per towel house

One of my favorite features of the towel house is how easy it makes the transition away from paper towels, because it gives you a system that works! Here's my towel house routine: place clean un paper towels into the Towel House, as I use them, I place them in a bucket right under my sink. When the bucket is full, I wash them with my laundry. After doing laundry, I drop the un paper towels right back in the towel house and use them again! So easy! So long paper towels, you're not coming back into this house!

I hope this gives you all some ideas as to how you can begin saying goodbye to paper towels and hello to un paper towels and towel houses! You won't be disappointed! ( :


  1. Good stuff Ashley. I'll pass it on to my wife too. Pam (Scott) says she knows you through the school district and you have taken her classes before. Anyway, Pam was just telling me about "Etsy" a week or so ago. I had never heard of it before. Maybe we will see you at the farmers market one of these days... Rex

  2. Yeah, Pam is great! I took several of her Children's Books classes and they were my favorite grad classes...her and Beth stuffed us full with great books and great food! I have fond memories of those classes! Yes, I love Etsy, there are a number of cool green products on there, like these paper towels and the reuseable sandwhich bags I mentioned a few posts back. Maybe I'll see you guys at the LS farmers market sometime, I love that place!

  3. How very cool! I love the towel house too. Now, convincing the significant other to use them will be the challenge.

  4. J,
    Glad you liked the un paper towels and towel house! Yeah until I got the towel house, I was like the "paper towel police" to my husband, but now that we've got this system in place, he does a pretty good job! Good luck with your guy! BTW, I just read some of your blog and it seems pretty cool! I'll have to follow it! ( :

  5. I love this! It's very cute. We use mostly rags and cloth napkins, but I haven't rid of paper towels completely. It's really hard with 3 kids and 2 dogs. We have a lot of clean up. I need to just buy more cloth stuff because we always run out before I do laundry.

  6. Jenny,
    I'm sure it's hard with 3 kids! I've had a hard time actually using them because I don't want to mess them up- they look so cute and I don't want to have them get dirty. But, all it took was one day where my trash can was leaking and I was done with the being careful with them...I went all in! ( :


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