As I recently found out, if you’re using bulk disposable paper napkins you won’t save much money by switching to cloth napkins. This turn of events may make you think, “Well, why would I switch to cloth then!” Money isn’t the biggest factor at play here though. There are many excellent reasons to use cloth napkins.
Why use cloth napkins?
- Cloth napkins work better and feel better.
- They also look nicer, especially for a dinner party or holiday meal.
- Cloth napkins are an easy non-disposable lifestyle trait to introduce to your kiddos. It’s much better to raise kids early on without disposables.
- It takes 324 L. of water to produce 1 KG of paper according to Environment Canada.
- The paper industry is one of the largest water polluters in the world.
- Recycled paper reduces water pollution by 35%, reduces air pollution by 74%, and eliminates many toxic pollutants – NO paper of course eliminates all of that.
- According to Conservatree, North Americans use 50 lbs. per person (22.4 kg) of tissue papers per year, up from 37 lbs. per person (17 kg) twenty years ago. That’s combined toilet paper, paper towels, paper napkins and such, but well, you get the picture.
- The US paper industry is heavily reliant on chlorine-intensive bleaching. Both chlorine and chlorine derivatives are harmful for the environment. Dioxins, which are considered one of the most potent chemical toxins, are a major issue. Studies show that dioxins are highly carcinogenic, lead to fertility problems, genetic damage, and are persistent and accumulate in the environment. For 20 years our government hasn’t been able to figure out how to regulate Dioxin either.
- According to the American Forest and Paper Association, paper manufacturing is the 3rd largest user of non-renewable fossil fuels worldwide.
- Napkin packaging, usually plastic, made from non-renewable oil, is even more relevant when you consider that 30-40% of trash is discarded packaging according to Cornell Waste Management Institute.
- Half the world’s forests have already been cleared or burned, to make in large part paper products, and 80% of what’s left has been seriously degraded.
- Each human in the USA uses approximately one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree in paper and wood products per year (EPA, 2008). You can cut that amount a lot by using cloth not paper napkins.
[adorable cloth napkins image via here]