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The One Small Change I made last month is still rolling along, and I’m actually trying to expand my milk cap phobia to include other carton drinks such as orange juice. It was a good change, so I really needed something innovative for this month. The problem: We already do a lot for the environment. We recycle. I carry around cloth bags. We keep the house pretty cold in the winter. We only buy natural cleaners. We shut off lights. I drive a hybrid. I try and stick with organic food. What could I come up with that would really make a difference for the environment? And then it hit me this weekend as I walked into the kitchen. After all the idea was staring me right in the face: Cut down on my paper products usage.

Before you say it, I’ll say it first: No, there’s no way I am going toilet paper-less like No Impact Man. And I’m not going to get my husband to give up his Bounty paper towels, either. (I actually have to buy two sets of towels because my husband refuses to use my Seventh Generation or Marcal Small Steps paper towels.) But there’s plenty I can do here in the house to reduce the amount of paper products that go into the garbage. For example, I have a stainless steel kitchen. Cleaning it requires special cleansers — I use Method’s Steel for Real spray — and, in the past, lots of paper towels. But starting this month, however, I have made the switch over to a washable microfiber cloth. It sits under the counter on top of the spray. It isn’t the Method Stainless Steel microfiber cloth, which I didn’t know existed until I had to provide the last link, but it works pretty well. I also have a microfiber cloth for my wood as well as another for general cleaning. Seems to be doing the job.

Another change: Making sure there are plenty of hand towels lying around the kitchen. Wash cloths, too. The baby is constantly dirty, and it’s nice to be able to use a wash cloth on her face rather than grabbing a paper towel. Likewise, I’m teaching my big girl to reach for the hand towel instead of the paper towel when her hands are dirty or need drying.

The bathroom is a little tougher. Aside from buying recycled toilet paper, there’s not much I can do. Sure, I can try and use fewer squares, which I am doing but short of installing a bidet, how can I cut down on toilet tissue use? Yes, I am asking. Feel free to post any suggestions. I considered using a squirt bottle and air drying, but who has time for that? (And I’m sorry for giving you that visual.) This is definitely a tough one, but I’m hoping doing little things like avoiding using toilet paper for picking up hair out of the shower drain or using cloth instead of paper to wipe toothpaste off the counter will add up.

The final paper-related (well, it’s actually wood pulp fluff) product reduction…this is a huge one: We’ve got Little Girl day potty trained! Undies all day. Diapers for naps — which she often keeps dry so I reuse —  and at night. Talk about saving the environment! And for those who wonder how I did it: I just took the diapers away and stuck with it. You have to expect accidents. You have to tote your potty with you everywhere you go. But once the kid gets the idea, you’re home free.

So all in all my February changes are pretty good, I think. Wait until you see my March changes. I hope I have the guts to go through with them and post about them. I seem to have no shame and no Internet filter, so I’m thinking I will.

What changes have you made lately to green your house and life? I love reading about what other people do. Inspires me and the other folks who read this blog!

7 Responses to “One Small Change: Less Paper February”

  1. Shari G says:

    My mother uses very few paper towels. She cleans the kids faces with wash cloths at mealtimes and wipes the counter top with a rag. It is funny because I don’t think the environment even runs through her mind. I often wonder what the impact of the additional use of the washing machine is on the environment.

  2. Julie says:

    You can reduce your postal mail by opting out of catalogs you receive in the mail:

  3. MarthaandMe says:

    Good for you! I’ve switched to online billing for many things so I don’t get paper statements in the mail and I pay online also so I’m not using stamps and checks.

  4. Awesome! I love to hear what positive changes people are making for the environment. Baby steps for everybody will make a HUGE difference. I started that way and am now totally chemical free in my home (wellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll…maybe I have an “emergency” bottle of bleech around-still haven’t found an emergency that requires it though). My hubby is the same way with enviro toilet paper, but I don’t care. I figure girls use WAY more toilet paper than boys so they can suck it up! Another good tip is saying NO to flyers. I cringe everytime I go to my front door and their is a stack of flyers an inch deep waiting for me to pick them up and toss them directly into the recycle. We don’t need flyers. Michael’s–quit being so cheap and just give everybody the 50% off coupon so people stop saving your flyer and bringing it in. The internet allows us to see which stores are having which sales that week, we don’t need hundreds of pounds of paper delivered to our homes each week! Put a sign on your door–NO FLYERS PLEASE!
    Together, we can make a difference!

  5. KiwiLog says:

    Hi! We loved your post over at KiwiLog and decided to feature it as part of our weekly mom blog round-up. Thanks!

  6. Lindsay says:

    So glad to hear that you use Marcal Small Steps paper products! We would love to send coupons! Have you tried our napkins?

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