I’ve never really been a big fan of new year’s resolutions. They always seem so daunting and overwhelming that I know I’m setting myself up for failure. But, after a month and a half into 2013, I have found the perfect resolution, one that I can hold myself to…
Use less paper.
I know, it’s very simple, and it might even seem obvious, right? But think about it, really think about how much paper you use in a day or week. Napkins, paper towels, printer paper, coffee sleeves, sticky notes… that stuff adds up!! But, this year (and years coming) will be different. That’s a promise I’m making to you and myself.
So, how can we make sure we are using less paper this year?
1. Invest in fabric napkins
I’m that person when it comes to using napkins. You know, the one that has a bajillion crumpled napkins on her plate by the end of a meal. I want to stop that. I don’t need all those napkins. I need one napkin. So, I’m busting out my “nice” napkins all day, every day. I’ll even look fancy while saving paper.
2. Stop buying paper towels
Paper towels seem like something everyone has a lot of these days. I’ve even seen whole cabinets and shelves designated to just paper towels. And you know what? I get it. When a pack of paper towels go on sale at Target, it’s hard to resist. But starting today, I will no longer buy paper towels in bulk. Instead, I will put my plethora of dish towels to good use. Like napkins, dish towels are easy to reuse and an easy way to save paper. And if I really, really need some paper towels, I’ll invest in a pack of two rather than twenty.
3. Learn how to dry your hands properly
I recently watched this video, and it changed my life. Turns out, I was drying my hands the wrong way for 21 years. Instead of grabbing/crumpling a boat load of paper towels in public restrooms, shake your hands so most of the excess water is gone. Then, (this is the amazing part) fold the paper towel so it wraps around your hands while you dry. Genius, pure genius!
4. Think before you print
This is something I’m pretty good at but I could be better. It amazes me that I have all these forms of virtual paper via my laptop, Kindle, iPhone, and google docs, yet, I still print things. From this day forward, I vow to always think before I print. Do I really need this receipt, or will it sit in my wallet for months going unread? Do I need this magazine, or can I read it online? Granted, some things do need to be in print, but that doesn’t mean that paper can’t be reused. Start a scrap pile or check out Hipcycle – they have some pretty awesome upcycling ideas
The thing about saving paper is that the solutions are obvious. We just need to take an extra second from our busy lives and really think about how much paper we use and need.