Many people view paper products as essential household items. In truth, while paper products offer great convenience, their use harms the environment and depletes our pocketbooks.
If you have not thought much about your paper consumption, consider how many paper products you use during the course of a year and the amount of money you could save by cutting back.
Read on for some ways to cut down on paper product usage and boost your savings account.
Paper towels are handy for quick clean-ups, particularly in the kitchen. They are often promoted as an effective way of eliminating the germs that grow in tradition cloth towels. Use a paper towel once, however, and it becomes just another piece of trash.
Try trading in your paper towels for traditional, easily laundered wash rags made from old T-shirts. Save paper towels for jobs that would render your wash rag unsuitable for laundering and reuse.
For glass cleaning, turn to dampened microfiber cloths, which effectively gather bacteria and dirt with their tiny fibers. These cloths possess the added benefit of not requiring the use of expensive, environmentally unsafe cleaners.
Handkerchiefs have fallen from fashion, and many people find the thought of using one distasteful. They are easily laundered, however, and soft cotton handkerchiefs are much kinder to red, raw noses than their paper counterparts.
Unlike tissues, a handkerchief will never leave messy bits of paper in your dryer when you forget to remove it from a pocket before laundering clothing. A good supply of handkerchiefs can be had for little expense, allowing you to replace each used handkerchief with a fresh one as needed.
Use cloth napkins every day instead of saving them for special occasions. Cloth napkins are economical, durable and more absorbent than paper napkins. They take up little space in the washing machine and do not require laundering in hot water.
Barely used napkins can be kept at each family member’s place setting as they are in some European countries, cutting down on the need for washing.
Purchase reusable coffee filters, which are available for many coffee makers in muslin, cotton, hemp and metal versions. Some permanent mesh coffee filters cost only a few dollars and provide the benefit of extra sturdiness, meaning no more unwanted grounds spilling into your coffee.
Paper plates offer convenience at a cost to your wallet and the environment. Take the extra time and effort to wash dishes instead of throwing your money away. For picnics and barbecues, reusable sturdy plastic plates are a better option than paper.
Do not make the mistake of buying flimsy plastic dishes, however. You will probably end up throwing them away, and they will not degrade in the landfill.
Writing or Printing Paper
Make a habit of hanging onto scratch paper consisting of incoming mail and printing mistakes. Keep this paper handy for quick notes and lists. Use both the front and back sides of any writing paper you use.
Before printing, proofread documents carefully, preview for formatting errors and print only the pages you need. Save on stamps, envelopes and mail clutter by signing up for e-statements and paying your bills online.
Instead of spending money on gift wrap that will be viewed once and discarded, put your creativity to work and make use of cloth bags, stray scraps of fabric, planters, baskets, jars and cookie tins for gift-giving.
Old maps make a unique gift wrap that can be matched to the gift inside. You might use a marine chart to wrap a sailing-themed gift. The Sunday comic strips make colorful, fun wrapping paper for children’s gifts, and relatives will enjoy receiving gifts wrapped in kids’ artwork.
For those items most of us just cannot live without, such as toilet paper, buying in bulk makes sense. Surprisingly, bulk warehouses do not always offer the best deals.
Supermarket chains offer big savings on toilet paper, with most running sales twice a month. Discounts range anywhere from 20 to 40 percent. Look for two-for-one deals, and make use of the merchant ad circulars as well as manufacturer coupons from the Sunday newspaper.