Paper towels may be convenient, but washable cloths are better for the environment and for my budget.
Paper towels are a household used a lot in the world because of the convenience. But is made from wood, packed in plastic – so I choose to switch (almost 100%) to an reusable alternative: the washable cloths
For example in bathrooms we use the towel after washing the hands. When I am away I have a handkerchief or other small cloth in my purse to use this to dry your hands when I am out.
In the kitchen to clean / dry, I use dishcloths but an apron is helpful too, to dry the hands. The key is accessibility. A kitchen towel suspended in a visible place is a solution. For dry clean (oil or vomit) I use a dump cloth (old cloths destroyed, ready to trow)
At the table I use the napkins – colored and versatile, even my husband is used now with.
During traveling I carry a cloth napkin or a handkerchief for quick hand wipes or eating. If I need something wet: a water bottle can be used to wet the cloth.
This may seem like a significant shift from your current routine, but once you get started, you’ll see it’s easier than it sounds.
napkins for a zero waste (or almost) dinner
dishcloth alternative in cotton
Saved money? Yes. I made my first kitchen towels more than a year ago. For 2 euro one: paper, I have around 10, washed weekly, and reused. I have around 10 napkins. So you see, the kitchen went zero paper towel for 40 euro, money spend in the past every 3 months. And I didn’t calculate the time spend for going to buy, and the trash costs (in Belgium this is not cheap…).
If pallets aren’t your thing, a wine crate container garden will do enough. I took for free from a local store several French wine boxes. Who likes the wine can use as an excuse to purchase several boxes of wine.
The wine crate is perfect: recyclable, free, no need any holes in the bottom to allow for drainage because are cheap done, but I add a plastic at the bottom because is loosing water too fast and some soil too.
I am using same boxes for several years, after 3-4 years it looks dark and I have another new one 🙂
I reuse the wine crate wood containers for my balcony and plant lovely flowers and salads
We eat bread, 1-2 breads weekly. The price for a good bread in Brussels is around 2 euro each, so more than 100 euro every year (without to calculate time to go and buy).
So, on my way to reduce the garbage and the money spend and to increase the quality of our health, I added the bread homemade. I tried several recipes, and this is
faaar way the simplest (not the tastiest but we want healthy and fast, so common) .
Ingredients for a bread on slow cooker:
1 cup of water
2,5 cups of wheat flour (simple one, not self-raise, I buy from a local farm as all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon of yeast (fresh one is ok, but the dry one is ok too)
1 teaspoon of salt
several spoons of wheat bran (3-4 spoons I use, more are going to have a too dark color and to be refused by my family 😀 )
Everything at the kitchen temperature.
In a recipient I mixed well the water, salt and yeast, with a spoon, until is dissolved (20-30seconds). Add the flour and the wheat bran and mix with the spoon for 2-3 minutes, until everything seems to be well mixed.
If is still a little liquid (the dough should stay well fixed on the recipient and difficult to mix with the spoon) , add 4-5 spoons of flour and mix 1-2 minutes more.
Put in a warm place for minimum 30 minutes but maximum 1 hour, covered.
After an hour set the slowcooker to HIGH temperature for 2hours, and line the slowcooker with cooking (parchment) paper inside (mandatory, over wise I cannot got out the bread outside :D, the paper should cover the walls too ) and add inside the dough and bring the paper from the walls closer to the bread.
Put the lead and wait for 2 hours- the bread is cooking slowly, grow as the yeast activate, expand and cover all the back of the slowcooker, brown on the back but not on the top.
-I replaced 2 spoons of water with 2 spoons of oil
-add dry herbs
-is not crisped up the crust, and the color is pale.
-is not high
-is not easy to cut
but is so tasty and easy to do (no knead, no hands dirty, no table to wash, no flour everywhere, just put water in the recipient until next day) and best fresh bread sugar free can find with 5 minutes effort. Think I just need more minutes to dress up to go to buy a bread 😀 😀 😀
I am happy to end the forth year of composting on the balcony. No worms added by me (but the nature brought 2 types), so only the summer Belgium warm and humidity are enough to transform my waste in soil and food.
If is possible ot the homeopathic level as I do, it is possible to do it on the high size. So they do it: in Costa Rica, 17 years ago, 12,000 tons of orange peels where thrown away where was a forest cut. The result is breathtaking: orange is the new green. Thanks to the compost generated, without the help of any human, there is a new forest there. Princeton university wrote a wonderful article on it and of course I cannot miss it.
And me that I avoid to put the orange peels in my compost scared by the change of the acidity… I will add now, not in big quantities as we are consuming, and I will cut first in small pieces.
My clothes are limited now. I was not like this all my life, you know, but since I start to lose too much time in the morning to answer to the question “What To Dress Today”, I changed my habits. I have one jeans and a second will come only when the first is too broken, I have 5 t shirts and next will come only one is leaving because is too used etc. Now I can dress in 3 minutes in the morning because I wash everything in the weekend and I have it clean and dry and ready.
There is another reason to ask you to think about this: all the extra clothes are worked by very poor paid people. Just answer to the next questions:
Do I need a cheap cloth just for stay there?
Do I need some polluting because I bought it compulsive?
I try to make as many reusable products as I can. I was just impressed to find the idea to replace the daily consumption of cotton round pads with reusable alternative in fabric.
I know the cotton rounds have many uses (makeup removal, applying or alcohol to the skin, nail polish removal, applying cream, cleaning little noses or ears, etc) but I use now only for face.
And are simple to make and are a nice beginner’s project when learning to sew. I used two pieces of scrap fabric for each round. I tried with: flannel cotton, flannel 100% polyester, velour cotton 100%, velour cotton 80%, polar fabric, some from cotton as from towel (100% cotton). All are ok, some perfect for makeup, some for liquid products, some perfect for scrubbing etc. I drew a round with a glass (or a square with a line) , cut, and sew at the sewing machine with an overcast sew step (for the square, I did 2 sews: first interior, turn on, and extra sew).
Dimensions: rounds = 8-10 cm diameters. Square at 11 cm. You decide!
The wash is washing even the waterproof products (ok, sometimes they are leaving at second wash). Just to not forget to add to the washing machine…
Just don’t forget if you use for removing nail polish, they are definitely going to get stained. But I don’t care, they’re easy to make so I can have 2 just for these and I use the ugly ones for nail polish removal.