Wipe out waste

Linen Napkins

Linen napkins can be fancy and make you feel dignified, like these from Etsy crafter VilendaLinen.

Just before Christmas I was shopping in my local Goodwill store, scouting, as always, for good quality linen napkins and kitchen towels. As luck would have it I found a lovely set of six white cotton napkins with a rainbow of stripes that has a sort of beachy feel to it. This was a perfect addition to my collection since I didn’t have a “summery” set. At 50 cents, they were a must have.

For the same price I picked up some periwinkle blue cotton kitchen towels with a shell weave at the border. These were also irresistible for the price. Since we gave up paper towels at our house this year I look to resupply our cotton collection regularly.

(As an aside, I found a gloriously beautiful blue cashmere turtleneck for my daughter for $3.50. It looked so brand new I wrapped it up and gave it to her for Christmas.)

Cleaning up my act

But back to the napkins.

Reusable cloth napkins

Cloth napkins can also be whimsical, casual, or everyday like these handmade napkins from Etsy crafter HelensCorner.

At this point in human history, those of us who are paying enough attention to recognize that the draw down of our natural resources is happening at an alarming rate need to step up our game. And yes, little things count.

To that end, I’ve put two linen napkins into my purse, to make sure that when my husband and I go out to eat, we don’t have to use paper products. My girls, who live at boarding school during the week, got one each, too, so that in their dorm rooms they always have a re-usuable napkin.

If you train young children early to always use reusable napkins and handkerchiefs, it will be only natural to them. Give or make them a few of their own to make it personal.

More on Lindsay’s List

If you haven’t yet checked out Lindsay’s List, these are the kind of tips I routinely offer to help women in particular take the lead on energy conservation in our daily lives. Here’s a column I wrote about using handkerchiefs, one on reusable to-go containers, and one on personal mess kits.*

I hope you’ll check it out and that you’ll make 2012 the year you step up your game on personal conservation through substituting an array of disposable products for reusable ones instead.

–Lindsay Curren, Transition Voice


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  1. says

    Excellent suggestions, Lindsey. We use our Tiffen carrier from Thailand (what you call a Mess Kit) for restaurant leftovers. How lovely — linen napkins. I sewed ours from colorful quilt quarters.

    Paper towels go under the sink — for the rare emergency in which a rag won’t do the job. We used one roll of paper towels in a decade. Glass or plastic food jars are for refrigerator leftovers or dry foods storage.

    For the hardcore: wash and re-use aluminum foil, plastic bags for produce, and plastic food wrap. Took us two decades to utilize one small box of foil.

    Keep it up, gal!
    Franny Frugal

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