I would love to say that my husband and I ditched paper towels out of some devotion to the preservation of the earth, but we didn't. If I'm honest, most of the positive changes we've made in reducing our "footprint" have been primarily motivated by saving money. And I thought being green was going to cost me more!
Joe and I were never big paper towel users to begin with, and eight or so months ago when we ran out of our Costco jumbo pack, I just never replaced them. It took six months before I was willing to admit that the paper towels were gone for good, a moment symbolically marked by the removal of our decorative holder from its permanent spot on the counter next to the sink. Now we have more room to store the dishes that I never wash immediately after a meal. We all need vices.
What surprised me most about giving up paper towels, is how easy they were to replace. It had really never entered my mind that almost every job I once used a disposal towel for could just as easily be accomplished with a regular cleaning cloth. Microfiber works especially well for cleaning counters and mirrors, and I particularly like waffle-weave dishcloths for cleaning up kitchen messes.
I recently read this article in Sunset magazine and was excited to hear that someone else had a similar experience. Of course, this family gave up all other trash-producing convenience products too. I'm just not sure I'm ready for a compostable toothbrush quite yet. Give me time.