Self-Sufficiency Sundays: Hankies and Hand Towels!

Here’s a rockin’ awesome way to save paper: carry your mucus around in your pocket! Ha ha ha! No, seriously.

Using a handkerchief instead of tissue is a really easy way to reduce your waste. At first glance, it may seem gross to put that snot-rag back in your purse instead of throwing it away, but a) human mucus is mostly water, and b) if you’re anything like me, you carry the Kleenex around for a million years anyway. To wash it, simply rinse it with water and hang it up to dry. (If you have a wicked head cold or a nosebleed, no one will fault you for switching back to disposables. Although I do wonder if you could toss pathogen-laden tissues in your composting toilet.)

Plus, using a hankie gives you an excuse to learn embroidery! Ooooh:


(Image description: a multicolored sparrow silhouette within an embroidery hoop. “12-18” is embroidered in the top left corner.)

(Via Our Descent Into Madness.)

Once you’re hankie-savvy, why stop there? When I was in Japan, I noticed that none of the public restrooms had paper towel dispensers. This baffled the hell out of me until someone explained that everyone just carries little towels around with them. Next time you’re in a public restroom, take a peek into the trashcan and imagine how much waste could be avoided if we all stopped using paper towels. Especially since we throw them away after wetting them with clean water.

Since I’m no longer in Japan, I’m not sure where to buy the little restroom towels, but a washcloth or tea towel would work, I guess. One note, though: get the towel out before washing up. I’ve ruined more than one important paper rummaging through my purse with dripping hands.

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3 Responses

  1. We switched to hankies and are huge fans. They don’t irritate your nose like paper tissues, and you don’t get little paper bits all over your laundry when you forget to take them out of your pockets. We just throw the dirty ones in with our other clothing.

    Though I’m pretty sure you could put used tissues in your composting toilet. If your poo compost is happy, the heat should denature all the cold pathogens right alongside the E. coli. (My dream is to have one of these.)

  2. That compost system is AWESOME. I want a composting toilet someday, but before now I figured I’d have to make do with an outhouse.

  3. Nope, all you need for a composting toilet is a basement! But I bet you could still put a little crescent moon on the door if you really wanted.

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