Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cutting out Paper


Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival

This post is part of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!


I had been intrigued by the idea of "un-paper towels." I worried, though, if they could be used in the microwave. I had been using paper towels when "nuking' sausage. The directions even called for it! I couldn't find anyone willing to state clearly that their unpaper towels could be used in the microwave. Then I found My Picnic Basket.

My Picnic Basket Sample KitMy Picnic Basket (Etsy store)
sent me this sample kit for review.

Get free shipping from this Etsy shop by using coupon code: MOMMAJORJE.

I arranged to do a review, but the shop closed temporarily before I could get it written and posted. I did, however, receive a set of 6 unpaper towels (and a couple other items). I immediately put these cloths into rotation and loved them!

They are very soft and worked FINE for nuking our sausage. In fact, the first time I used one for this, I rinsed the cloth and set it aside to dry. I later used the same towel to clean my counters and stove top. This sucker worked better than any other tool I've used on my stove top. Mind you, my husband cooked bacon that morning, which always leaves greasy splatters all over the entire stove top. When using a washcloth or any type of sponge, I always have to rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat before the stove top stops looking better than just smeared grease.

Then we moved in with roommates and most of our kitchen stuff stayed in boxes in the attic. We went back to (shared) paper towels, but I noticed we weren't using them very often. When we recently moved in to our travel trailer, I simply opted to not purchase any paper towels. I'm finding that moving is a great time to throw in other lifestyle changes, too! No one in my household has asked about paper towels at all! When one is needed, I simply hand over an unpaper towel.

The only issue we're having is bacon grease. I like to use these to soak up the excess grease off of bacon. I had switched to washing everything (laundry) in cold water (more green stuff), but that will not get the bacon grease out. So I'm still working out the kinks, but it feels really good to not be wasting money, trees, and space on earth for paper towels. The chemicals they use to make them (and make them white) are likely very bad for us anyway! These particular cloths are soft enough to use on your face, so I also use them to clean my toddler after her meals.

A couple of years ago, going green seemed impossible for my life. I am so pleased and proud to be getting greener (and crunchier) all the time! What green steps have you taken lately?

Thank you for stopping by the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival! Please check out some of these great posts:
Earth Day Blog Carnival - Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction
  • You are a Child of the Earth - Using the Earth as their classroom, Patti from Canadian Unschool teaches her 4 children their spiritual connection to the Earth and she accepts that loving the Earth can get really, really messy.
  • Cutting Out Paper - Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went from curiosity and concern to actually cutting out the use of paper towels in her household. She is proud to be "greener" as each Earth Day passes.
  • The World is Brown - Debra Ann Elliot of Words are Timeless believes in keeping the Earth green, but because so many people inhabit the Earth it is turning brown because people aren't doing their part by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
  • 7 Child And Eco Friendly Activities To Honor The Earth (Plus Some Environmental Books For Kids) - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her favorite books that help children become more aware of the importance of respecting and caring for Mother Earth. In addition, she hosts a guest post outlining seven child and eco friendly activities to honor the earth.
  • 5 Ways We Teach Our Children To Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle - Valarie at Momma In Progress shares a few tips for encouraging young children to care for the earth.
  • Little Changes - Big Results - Meegs at A New Day talks about how sometimes it’s the little decisions and changes that can lead us to find big results, and how she's baby-stepping her way to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.
  • Inspiring the Next Generation - aNonyMous at at Radical Ramblings hopes to inspire her daughter to live a green and sustainable lifestyle, in the same way she was inspired by her high-school science teacher, and talks about the changes her family are making towards this vision.
  • Eco-Friendly Cleansers: Safe For the Environment, Healthy For Every Body - Rebekah at Liberated Family writes about safe and natural alternatives to toxic, household cleaning products..
  • Lightening My Footprint with Cloth Nappies (Diapers) - Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares the biggest eco-choice she has made so far, and why she is so passionate about it.
  • Clutter Free for a Cause - At Living Peacefully with Children Mandy's penchant for decluttering and simple living cuts down on consumerism, taking less of a tole on the Earth.
  • Eco-Parenting: Homemade Bug Spray - Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares a homemade bug spray recipe that helps her family to enjoy the natural world while taking precautions against bug bites.
  • Let the Scales Fall From My Eyes...Just Not Too Quickly - Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about the discomfort of no longer being able to live in denial over how her choices affect the world around her.
  • Fostering Love of Earth - Justine at The Lone Home Ranger instills a love of nature in her daughters by embarking on their first backyard vegetable garden together.
  • Being in Nature - Carrie at Love Notes Mama knows that just being in nature is more than enough.
  • 5 Ways to Pass Down Environmental Values to Your Children - Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares how easy it can be to instill environmental values in your children.
  • Viva Portlandia - Amy at Anktangle writes about the place she lives and loves in: Portland, Oregon. She describes the ways this green city makes it easy for her family to take care of our earth, and also the steps she's taking to further lessen her family's environmental impact.
  • Conspicuous Conservationism - Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction examines the phenomenon of eco-conscious behavior as a status symbol.
  • Time for Radical Sustainability - Terri at Child of the Nature Isle ponders how she can model a truly sustainable lifestyle for her children and raise them in a way that their environmental consciousness is as natural as breathing!

A big thank you to all of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival participants!


  1. Thanks for writing about this, Jorje! I've not been able to find any information about using un-paper towels with greasy foods, and that's been my big hang-up about switching completely. Since our paper towels are compostable, I don't feel too bad about using them for the occasional greasy task, but I'll be checking these towels out to see if they'll work for us (or if I could make some similar).

    1. Compostable would definitely make a difference, although there is still the cost of them. We've cut way down on TP, too, since I started using Family Cloth on at least two of us.

  2. two thoughts: one, invest in a spatter screen:

    two: "strip" your towels with dawn the same way you strip diapers. It TOTALLY cut the grease out. You could even do a soak in your sink periodically, where you dump boiling water over them, squirt in the dawn, and swish them around, rinse in the sink and launder as normal. It's what's I've done -- Husband uses our unpaper for cleaning the cast iron.

    (kicking myself for missing this carnival, btw.)

    1. Thanks! Stripping them is a great idea! I had wondered if I could boil them... this makes more sense.

      I used to have a splatter screen, but I never used it. So it got cut on a minimalist kick. I think I manage to make less mess when I cook bacon than he did.

  3. This is funny... I wrote how I needed to work harder on cutting out paper towels, but what I didn't mention was that one BIG reason I'm having trouble is because of microwaving sausage! Lol. I'll definitely check out this shop!

    1. hahahaha - I'm glad I mentioned it! When I was first shopping for these, my LO was eating sausage for breakfast daily so it was a big issue for us. Now I use them to sop up the bacon grease daily instead.

      Another comment suggests stripping my Unpaper Towels just like you would diapers. I'm definitely going to try that!

  4. I've never heard of such a thing. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thanks for reading! As of a couple of years ago, I'd never heard of Unpaper towels OR Family Cloth. I've come a long way!

  5. I'm really not familiar with microwaving sausage. Is it an American thing? LOL!

    But we are making the switch away from paper towels, too. I actually use old and raggedy diapers in place of paper towels for wiping up spills and for cleaning. No, I don't use old diapers for napkins at the table! That would be funny.

    The product you mentioned sounds great and I will have to either buy some or find some appropriate fabric to make my own.

    1. I use flat diapers for burp rags, dust rags, snot rags, and as napkins. :-)

  6. I was brought up in a house where paper towels are an absolute luxury, and they were never bought. Subsequently, I have never felt the need to buy them myself. I use rags and cloths for everything, and I think because I have never experienced the alternative, they work just fine :) I second the tip on soaking them in boiling water with dish liquid, it'll cut the grease and then you can launder them as usual with cold water. I am slowly transitioning to family cloth too :)

  7. My main question about the microwave too! I'm so pleased to learn these can go there. I like to wrap my sweet potato in a wet paper towel before microwaving to keep the outer skin moist, but I hardly ever use them otherwise (except for absorbing grease as you mentioned). One idea for the grease stains that I do: When I put a kettle on for tea, I get out a pot and dump in some super washing soda, then my shirt and a little cold water. When the kettle water is hot, I pour some into the pot and let that sit a while. Works like magic!

  8. These un-paper towels sound awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I love this idea of using Earth Day as a way to mark our small steps toward being "greener" each year. I will definitely think about this date as an annual marker for my growing sustainable homemaking efforts!

  10. Just today we ran out of paper towels to drain off our hash browns (I buy recycled and use sparingly!) and remembering this post I grabbed a clean burp cloth and used this instead. It was perfect although I am yet to see how it will wash...I'm reluctant to add another dimension of washing (stripping grease clothes sounds like another chore) in our house but I love the idea of cutting out the paper so I'm excited to see if I can make this complete switch. Thanks for the inspiration and thanks for being part of the Earth Day Blog Carnival.

    1. Yay! What a great, quick solution! I plan to strip my unpaper towels sometime soon, but I don't think I'll have to do it very often.

  11. We're doing unpaper towels next! I cut up an old shirt to see how that works, but I'm very tempted by the fancy ones you've found.


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