Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

earth day

Earth Day is just a week away! The 45th holiday will be celebrated on Wednesday, April 22nd. We constantly hear about the push to Go Green and keep Mother Earth looking her best, but how many of us actually make the changes necessary to join the worldwide initiative? I personally am guilty of leaving lights on in my bedroom when I’m not home or letting the water run while brushing my teeth, but I would like to be better about this sort of thing. Small simple changes can make a big difference!

I got to thinking about what I can do around my home. I live in a household made up of 6 grown adults. One can only imagine how many paper napkins and towels we go through in a week’s time. Additionally, all 6 of us bring our own bagged lunches to work daily. My mother is constantly picking up paper products and brown lunch bags on her weekly trip to the super market. These products can be super expensive and super wasteful. I decided to initiate a few small changes in what we do around our home and I’d like to invite all of you to do the same.

cloth napkins

#1. Say goodbye to disposable paper napkins and say hello to cloth napkins instead! Not only are paper napkins expensive, but they are just plain blah. Instead of a boring folded white piece of paper, why not bring the kitchen table to life with some fun prints or colors? With so many different styles, colors, sizes, materials, and prints to choose from the possibilities are limitless. Feeling crafty? Use your leftover fabric scraps from previous sewing projects and make your own! Here you will find an excellent step-by-step guide to sewing your own cloth napkins. This is an easy project for beginning sewers! If you’re willing to splurge a little, check out the high-end collections at the nearest Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel store. Want to be trendy without breaking the bank? Even local retail chains like Target & Walmart have a wide array of affordable cloth napkins and linens.  Cloth napkins aren’t just for fancy restaurants or special occasions anymore. Make them an everyday staple in your home. They can be washed and reused for many years to come. A little investment will save you so much money in the long run. Toss them in the washer and clean using an eco-friendly detergent. Skip the softener to ensure maximum absorbency over time.

dish towel

#2. Replace paper towels with kitchen rags and dish cloths. I know the Brawny guy is super hot in those TV commercials and Bounty claims to be the “quilted quicker picker upper”, but they are not necessary in the kitchen anymore. As I explained with the switch to cloth napkins, these towels are cost-effective and reusable. Kitchen spills and dirty dishes will get the same treatment as before, but the environment will thank you later. From the dollar store to Kmart to Macy’s, you can get yourself a nice bulk set of towels to fit your budget and still match your kitchen décor.

a98535_0701_blueplaid_xl #3.  Pack a snack in style. Lunch bags aren’t just for the kiddies anymore. Just think about how many brown paper lunch bags are tossed in the trash everyday. School cafeterias, employee lounges, public trash cans, etc. We live in a society full of people on-the-go. More often that not, we are forced to bring our meals with us and eat somewhere other than our own home. Sure you can buy a lunch bag, but I think a DIY bag is much cooler and more personable. With just some oil cloth, scissors, and a sewing machine, you can create a lunch bag for every member of the family. I suggest oil cloth because it is durable, water proof, and can withstand many uses. Spills? Not a problem. Just use some warm soapy water and sponge to easily clean those messes that yesterday’s pasta primavera left behind! Oil cloth can be purchased online or at your local craft store in a wide variety of prints and colors. If you don’t have the sewing skills needed, no problem. You can purchase some great custom bags from independent shops on Etsy and eBay at a great price. Pack a light snack or a heavy lunch in a hurry without wasteful paper products. Click on the picture above for more information on how you can create these lovely lunch sacks.

We live on a beautiful planet. Let’s keep it that way. Just by making a few changes, we can make a big difference in the world around us. Don’t use wasteful paper napkins and towels. You will be doing something good for the environment and also keeping your wallet happy. Recycle old fabric scraps and reuse these items for years to come. We should be mindful everyday and uphold the values of Earth Day everyday.

I hope I have inspired you to make a few adjustments in your home as well! Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Joanna

Fabric Textile Products, Inc.

Photograph disclaimer: Please note photos credited to Fabric Textile Products, Inc. belong to myself and our company. All others images belong to the owners/businesses that have been credited and/or directly linked. I do not own those images. They belong to their rightful owners. Thank you.

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