In the U.S., the average person uses 2,200 napkins per year (that’s about six each day), and most of them end up in the trash.
The fiber in napkins and paper towels is often too short to be recycled, and used napkins can’t be recycled because the food waste they contain can ruin a paper recycling batch during the pulping process.
Choosing a cloth napkin keeps disposables out of the waste stream. Keep a few handy at home, tucked in your purse and stashed in a drawer at the office—you can even eliminate paper towels by designating a few for wiping off the counters while you cook. Then, just toss the dirty ones in with your next load of laundry.
If you forget your cloth napkin (it happens), remember to take only the napkins you need. It’s easy to grab a stack of napkins on your way out of a fast-food joint when you could have just used one or two.
- We’re fans of these nautical napkins from Etsy store Heaps Handworks.
- Interested in making your own cloth napkins? This simple DIY tutorial from Nicole's Classes will teach you how.
- If you’re feeling really fancy, try your hand at this DIY shibori tie-dye cloth napkin tutorial.
- Need more convincing? Check out Ocean Conservancy’s “Five Reasons to Use Cloth Napkins.”