I have previously mentioned a few times around here that we have transitioned over into a paper free kitchen at this point, so I thought I would update on how that is going. We took all of our paper napkins and replaced them with cloth. I bought a bunch more washcloths (as seen below from Target for $3.50) and we have been using those for wiping the table down, cleaning up messes, and even for hot dishes, actually.
So far, it has been going really, really well. I have very rarely felt like I needed to have paper towels or paper napkins since we started this. I am still on the lookout for a more absorbent cloth napkin, as I think that most I found in the stores and even the napkins I ended up purchasing are more fancy, and don't absorb liquid or wipe up little man's messes as well as I would like them to, but if that is the case, sometimes I just end up using one of the washcloths above.
I also initially thought I wouldn't like using the washcloths over and over because it would harbor germs. Well, I solved that problem by getting two or three packs of the washcloths above, still only costing me a little over $10. That way, I can use a washcloth just once for really big messes, and immediately throw it into the washer and still have plenty more fresh to use. With the amount of laundry we do per week with all of our clothes and the cloth diapers, a few extra washcloths doesn't seem to increase the load.
I will say, DH does keep one roll of paper towels around, but I've been buying either 7th generation recycled or our store's knockoff recycled paper, and we take a looooong time to go through a roll. I use the actual paper towels very infrequently, but for things that I don't want to use my washcloths for, like if there is a creepy crawly in my kitchen that needs to be dealt with. (Ahem, I know it is not ecofriendly to kill bugs. I'm only human!)
But as I said, it has been a pretty simple and easy transition for us.
What are some simple things you can do at your home to create less waste?