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Going Paperless in Your Kitchen

Going Paperless in Your Kitchen

We live in Portland and if you've ever seen an episode of Portlandia, well, it's pretty much like that. It's a land of delicious grub, amazingly weird people, and an abundance of nature that locals passionately protect. We're in this little mecca of sustainability - if you don't recycle, you might as well start packing your bags to head on out. 

Personally, I do the normal things: bring my own bags to the store, recycle everything I can, and compost yard/food waste. However, I was at my good friend, Taylor's house and she opened my world to a whole new level of being eco-conscious. 

You see, Taylor went paperless in her kitchen. And before you say "that's easy for her to do", Taylor also has two small children. I have two little girls and if you're a mom, you know that kids create messes (big understatement)! But I realized I was just using my kids as an excuse for not being as sustainable as I could. 

So, I asked Taylor to give me all of her tips on going paperless in the kitchen to share with all of you! 

paperless kitchen

How to Go Paperless And Actually Enjoy It

Written by Taylor P. 

Hi, I’m Taylor and I have gone paperless in my kitchen.

I’m writing this story on the train to work. I’m a working (in/out of the home) mom. I meal plan, event plan, and negotiate bath time with two spirited little girls (ages 1 and 3). Any excuse related to your time MUST be taken off the table.

November 20, 2018 is the day I decided to commit to a paperless kitchen. Lovely timing since I was about to host several out of town guests to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Did I mention I was also exclusively breastfeeding my youngest at the time? I wish I could say having an amazing nursing bra from AVYN made this all possible, but it did help. 🤣 Anyway, if you are ready to commit to a paperless kitchen, read on.

Why go paperless?

The facts: 13 billion paper towels are used in the US each year and paper makes up the largest share of municipal waste. In fact, tissue paper and towels (not including bathroom tissue) amounted to 3.8 million tons in 2017. That’s a lot of preventable waste. If you have the option, you can compost paper towels but the EPA did not identify any significant recovery of tissue products for recycling.

Here are my steps for going paperless:

1. Prepare
  • Purchase baskets/bins/buckets for visual storage of towels and napkins. This makes it easy to grab a new napkin or toss a dirty towel. 
  • Make labels for clean and dirty items so it's clear for everyone (who can read) :)
  • Pull out all of the napkins (you know you have not used them since getting them as a wedding gift), towels, and wash cloths from your linen closet and take inventory. Everything does NOT need to match. 
2. Announce It 
Make an announcement to let all family members know from this day forward, cloth napkins and towels are to be used for cleaning up messes and wiping hands. 
    3. Make It Accessible
    Place labeled bins, buckets, or baskets in a central location so it's easy to grab a clean towel and ditch a dirty one. 
      4. Incorporate It In Your Routine
      Get in the habit of grabbing the used towels when doing a load of laundry. I usually wash at least once a month with towels, bed sheets and pillows. 
        5. Commit
        Stash all paper towels and napkins out of sight and reach. If the temptation is there, well, let's just avoid that. 

         paperless kitchen

        Make it sustainable by leading by example. This mean when your kid spills an entire glass of milk, you grab a towel (maybe two) and clean up the mess together. Don't look for the paper towels. Speaking from experience, grandparents are the hardest to train! :)

        It's really not as daunting or as challenging as you might think! Plus, you're saving our planet one paper towel at a time, so it's definitely worth the extra effort. Good luck!

        paperless kitchen 

        Taylor (she/her) lives in Portland, OR with her husband, dog, and two spirited little girls. She enjoys spending time with her family and being involved with her community through her public health and volunteer work. You can learn more about her volunteer work for Boost Oregon and follow along with her on Twitter!

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