Tidying, washing, wiping up: Cleanup made easy, thorough, air-friendlier

Dish and face cloths and hand and bath towels are really versatile and indispensable items to have in the household. Paper towels and napkins: not so much.

It was only recently that I made the conscious decision to stop using place mats on the table when dining. Without any input or cues or clues from others, I decided these crumb-collecting, liquid-absorbing accessories were surplus. I figure the surface of the table where I eat meals could be cleaned with less effort and energy expended by using my hands (picture one hand acting as a broom, the other a dustpan – I believe you get the idea) than what would be required for cleaning dirty place mats.

One thing leading to the next, it suddenly dawned on me that I could cease using and throwing away paper napkins and substitute in their place cloth napkins instead. I use a cloth wipe to clean my reading glasses, so why not?!

Now that I have made that decision and in looking back, for me, it really is a no-brainer. I don’t know why I did not think of this sooner.

Will this make a positive difference? I think so. I think about all of the paper napkins and paper towel sheets that I used and then discarded and didn’t need to. I now think about how much less refuse will now leave my home by way of the trash container and truck and only to be emptied into the piles of other trash already at the waste dump. Less landfill material means less production and less released-into-the-air landfill gas.

Montgomery County, Maryland, Municipal recycling facility

Now I realize that the plastic that paper napkins and paper towels are packaged in and the individually wrapped plastic utensils with accompanying paper napkins I sometimes use, can be recycled.

But, being that what actually gets recycled these days is seemingly becoming less and less, any way to reduce even more the amount of material that would otherwise be recycle-bound heading out my door, I’m all for.

I figured out a long time ago that whenever the occasion presented itself to wash dishes, utensils, cups and more in the automatic dishwasher, in using half the amount of dishwashing detergent, I could make that which comes in the container bought from the store, go twice as far.

And, when I got rid of my gasoline-powered lawn mower and replaced it with an electric model whose battery could be recharged over and over and over again, not only was I saving myself trips to the gas station for gas-container refills to use in refilling the gas mower’s fuel tank, but by not making those trips and by mowing the lawn in an eco-friendly way, not only was I helping to clean the air, but I was also saving money at the same time.

It all made sense to me then and this latest epiphany of mine makes economic and environmental sense to me now.

In other news, today is California Clean Air Day. There is more about this that can be accessed here.

Image above: USEPA

– Alan Kandel

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