Cook'n is the best selling recipe organizer

Volume III
January 27, 2012

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Paper Towels - a Convenience; Cloth Napkins - a Nicety!

By Alice Osborne

It's all about personal preference and perhaps your commitment to the Green Movement. Either way, we know how convenient paper towels are, so they're here to stay, don't you think? But still, when setting the table, consider adding a few little niceties to life now and then as well.

On this topic, one of my favorite websites,, offered some great suggestions on both items so that whichever you choose to use, the carbon footprint will be as minimal as possible. Consider these smart ideas:

Paper Towel and Napkin Green Tips

•  Purchase paper towels made of 100 percent recycled materials.
•  Look for paper products that contain a minimum of 90 percent post-consumer waste.
•  Choose unbleached paper towels. If those are unavailable, opt for process chlorine free (PCF) next, or elemental chlorine free (ECF) as a last choice.
•  Choose paper towels and napkins that have no added pigments, inks or dyes (say goodbye to that floral printed border).
•  Select packaging with minimal environmental impact, such as that made of recycled and recyclable materials; imprinted with safe inks; and containing no toxic metals, dyes or inks.
•  Seek items having the largest amount of product to minimize packaging, for example, high-capacity hard-wound roll towels have 800 feet or more. Some brands are puffier and allow for fewer paper towels per roll or napkins per package.
•  Avoid folded paper towels, it is too easy to use too many of them.
•  Look for paper towels that are wound on a 100 percent recycled core.

Cloth Napkin and Dishtowel Green Tips

•  Only wash when soiled. Most adults don't really dirty a napkin after every meal.
•  Designate a place to store "in-use" napkins and use the same one until it is dirty.
•  If you have a large family, designate a napkin ring for each member to identify their napkin between meals.
•  Toss dirty napkins and dish towels in with other laundry.
•  Use eco-friendly laundry detergent.
•  Wash with cold water and line dry. We installed a wooden lath frame inside the window of our laundry room so that during inclement weather, I can still hang flat things up easily (napkins, dish towels, place mats, dish cloths, etc.) And of course, when weather permits, hang things outside.

We found a great retractable clothesline (from that we string from one wall to another on our deck. Oh, there's nothing like line-dried bed linens, don't you agree?

blog comments powered by Disqus

Contribute to the Cook'n Club!

DVO would love to publish your article, prose, photography and art as well as your cooking, kitchen and nutrition tips, tricks and secrets. Visit the Newsletter Submission / Win Win for All section in our Forum for more information and details.