Change the World Wednesday, I’ve Got This

As things are slowing down just a bit here it’s nice to have an easier challenge this week for Change the World Wednesday with Reduce Footprints.  This week we return to paper, paper towels to be specific.


I have been trying to recall the last time I had paper towels in my home.  I believe it was some time in 2003.  But wait, there is more to this challenge than just paper towels.

This week, do not use or buy any paper towels or napkins. Instead, use cloth napkins and cleaning rags.


OR … If you never use paper towels or napkins, please review your paper use and determine if there are other ways for you to conserve. Can you use less toilet paper? Could you say “no” to printed receipts? What about printer paper, gift wrap, magazines and catalogs … can you give them up? Choose at least one area where improvements could be made.


OR …If you’ve basically eliminated paper from your life, please share your tips and ideas for doing so.



First up

The rag pile gets lots of use here. I use it for general cleaning, dusting, and even as a replacement for the grandchildren when they need something to wipe their noses.  Want to convince a child to give up paper tissues?  Wait until they have a cold and are suffering from a sensitive nose. Then hand them a scrap of an old t-shirt and tell them this won’t make their nose hurt. Works every time for me.  :-)

Napkins are easy to get children to use as well.  I picked up a large bag of scrap fabric from a local thrift shop and made over 100 cloth napkins, the children enjoy picking the fabric they want to use for that meal, it feels special to them.  My daughter-in-law held a gathering of more than 25 people just a few weeks ago and by having more than 50 of the cloth napkins from my stash was able to avoid purchasing paper ones.  My son was the first to tell me how great it was for the gathering to have the napkins, his wife then followed up by sharing that her guests were impressed to receive cloth napkins.  Maybe one or two of them will replace their paper napkins as a result. I can only hope.


Second part

How to eliminate other paper. I’ve touched on this in the past and am still working on this.  I have no printer, fax or scanner.  Apps on my phone have replaced a paper calendar and needing paper for notes.   Fabric bags and pieces of cloth have made a lovely way to completely eliminate gift wrap.  Canceling all subscriptions and paying my one bill early allows me to have minimal mail.  I’ve called companies who have sent me junk mail and had that stopped as well. My mail now amounts to 2-3 pieces per month.

Toilet paper is one area I have not found a replacement for that will suffice when having visitors, but I lessen the impact by purchasing 100% post consumer recycled paper by the case with no plastic wrappers. Yes, this gets mailed to me but lasts more than a year before I need to reorder.



I am finishing up a project which will reduce the need for one paper product.  The main sources of paper in my home are coloring books for the grandchildren.  I had hoped to show you the finished project today, but unfortunately had to order one item which will arrive at the store this afternoon.  This one thing will not eliminate the need to have coloring books on hand, as one is an artist, but will reduce how often new books need to be purchased.

Stay Tuned tomorrow for the completed project.


How have you done eliminating paper, is there an area you want to work on?

11 thoughts on “Change the World Wednesday, I’ve Got This

  1. Hi Lois
    I have been using cloth napkins since I left university. Cloth rags, of course I would never have even thought of using paper towels. Toilet paper, only for number 2. Rags for number 1. It just made since when you are on a limited budget and I never changed.
    The paper is from when I was teaching and I would gather paper, pens and pencils from end of the year locker clean out..
    As you know people waste so much. As my husband say, when we are done with something, it is done.
    Thanks lois for your inspiration.

    • Deb, I love that “when we are done with something, it is done”. There is so much waste with so many disposable items now at our disposal. I too have switched to a damp rag for number one but can’t see family doing that. :-)

      We are quickly coming up to the end of the semester here where the university students throw so much out, and most of it is in perfect condition so I can imagine what the locker clean outs look like.

  2. Yes toilet paper we still need… I can see the little ones enjoying colouring .. And I am afraid I needed a box of tissues this last week as I came down with another cold.. I caught it off my granddaughter..

    I bought a table cloth when I travelled abroad with napkins to match.. I have started to use these more now, as I have 8 in the set so only being two of us most days its easy to keep washing etc..
    I also have online billing.. and recycle all junk mail, cardboard etc.. I can only imagine your Son’s guests being impressed…. So much nicer too to have fabric napkins..

    Enjoy your Wednesday Lois.. Hugs Sue x

    • Sue, I tried using table cloths at one time, but with children it became more of a hassle,much easier to simply wipe down the table, but for the two of you it must make meals feel more special to have the table cloth and matching napkins.

      I hope you are feeling better, being sick is no fun.

      • Much better, thank you Lois.. just the remnants of a cough now.. but its all but gone thank you.. And Yes the table cloths we would buy when we went abroad, they make the most delightful ones in Majorca at half the price we would pay here. Hope you keeping warm and the little ones enjoying their indoor activities.. I was at work the other afternoon on lates and my Hubby had to pic our granddaughter up from pre-school nursery .. She sat nicely with stickers and made me a card .. A lovely little surprise next morning to come home to.. :-) I rang her up and she said .. Its ok Grandma… I gave you some flowers.. ( the stickers were little flowers..) … Brilliant.. I love those kind of surprises :-) xxx

        • How sweet and what a nice gift to come home to. Children love to give of themselves, don’t they? Your tablecloths sound lovely and what a nice souvenir to bring home, so much better than trinkets or shirts that wear out.

  3. all good ideas, Lois…

    mostly, I have to “confess”, I do little of these good ideas. However, I do a “little”..

    Quite some time back quit getting magazine subscriptions. I buy the odd one now, but that is seldom. Maybe once a year, maybe less. And, that one gets read cover to cover, etc, over and over. One thing that used to tick me off/aggravate me, when I did routinely have subscriptions, I/others might read one article, then the next issue came, etc etc.. Ended up with a stack of magazines. No one (including me) troubled to read the old ones.

    There was a time when I ended up at the hospital emergency a lot with a family member. There were few things to read during the LONG waits. I collected up a huge stack of magazines, went down and asked the receptionist if I could put them around the tables in emergency. Answer: Sure.

    Next time I went to emergency (only a week later), son of a gun. Nothing to read. I went to the desk and queried why, as I mentioned I had donated a BUNCH. The answer:…”oh they were thrown out, as they might not be sanitary if not brand new.” These had been carefully kept in perfect shape.

    Next I went to a seniors home, and asked if I could donate a stack in their sitting room, as there was nothing there for them to read. Sure, I was told. So, did so. Couple weeks later I took another stack down, and noticed no magazines…Where are they I queried? Oh the head nurse threw them out as they were not brand new, many months old. Also, the nurse said they should only accept new subscriptions.

    all seemed a sad waste to me.

    now I only buy the odd one, when I see some article I / family might really like to read, then after a year or two it goes in the recycle.

    • Lynn, how horrible to try and do something nice (and better for the environment) and have your gifts tossed in the trash. I don’t often buy a magazine, I still buy an occasional cross stitch magazine, but I do get my fill of magazines from friends who pass them on to me.

      I donate most of them to the library that has baskets set around the seating areas they fill with donated magazines and catalogs for anyone to borrow.

      • that is really nice that the Library has a place for this, for folks to donate etc. Glad to hear.

        I was sure surprised, and rather sad, as in both cases there was very little for anyone to read..ah well

          • oh, I hardly ever buy a magazine anymore. that was way back when I had a few subscriptions.

            nowdays, when we are all done reading it for the hundredth time, we have all read it cover to cover (which I kinda like that all of it is read instead of one or two articles per issue)..
            and by that time, it is in now shape for anything but the recycle bin.

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