Monday, February 15, 2010
5 Reasons to use cloth napkins
Paper Napkins vs Cloth Napkins?
Which is the most economical?
Which is the most ecological?
Back in the early-nineties, I was looking to save money on everything. We were living on a small piece of acreage in western Washington, growing all our own vegetables, raising our own chickens for eggs, raising the boys, and living off a single income of less than $25,000 gross. After taxes, insurance and savings our disposable income was around $1,200 per month. Our house payment was $500, our utilities were another $250, gas & vehicle maintenance was about $100, clothing & miscellaneous was another $100. That left about $250 for food, canning supplies, garden supplies and seed, paper products and sundries.
We knew that we had to cut our expenses to a bare minimum. A quick way to do that was to cut out a lot of the paper products that we were using. Paper towels and napkins had to go. TP stayed, of course. With some careful management our grocery bill, all inclusive was $187 per month. We actually were able to save $50 a month for birthdays, Christmas, and school clothes.
We started using cloth towels to clean with and cloth napkins at meals and never went back. Let's go over some of the reasons why switching to cloth napkins is a good idea.
1. It's cheap. You can get started using cloth napkins for about the same price as a roll of paper towels. I buy napkins on the clearance rack. Usually for about $.99 cents per napkin. A roll of Bounty costs $1.91 at Costco. More often than not with a coupon I'll get cloth napkins for about .50 cents. A package (or about a months worth) of 500 count 7th Generation Recycled luncheon napkins will set you back $7.60. 10 Cloth napkins will cost about the same amount but you'll only be buying them once, not every month.
2. It's more sophisticated. (cuz, you know I'm all about sophistication, hahahaha!) Using cloth napkins just feels a little fancier. I have built up an impressive collection of cloth napkins so I never buy them any more. I can come up with enough for a very large dinner party of mix and match ones.
3. Cloth napkins are reusable. The U.S. population generates millions of tons a paper waste per year. By using our napkins over and over again we feel like we are doing our part to reduce this amount.
4. Save the environment. Millions of trees could be saved if American households would switch to cloth napkins. Not to mention cleaning the air of all of the chlorine that is used to make those paper ones white and pretty. Factor in transportation costs on the environment and the energy it takes to generate the paper ones makes cloth a no brainer.
5. Throw them in with your regular wash. Some people don't wash their cloth napkins after every meal though I tend to. Why? Because I'm a pretty messy eater. I can't seem to walk away from the dinner table without wearing part of my dinner. At the end of dinner we just toss our napkins on top of the washer. When we go to put a load of clothes in we just throw the napkins in with. Easy peasy.
We switched to cloth almost 20 years ago and have never looked back. We have so many that only a third of them sit out in the basket waiting for use.
Do you use cloth napkins? Have you thought about using them?