Day 9 - The Paper Towel Conundrum
I'm grateful to my mother for never using paper towels (kitchen roll, if you're my British husband) in the house when I was growing up. I think the only thing she used them for was cleaning the bathroom mirrors (I do this with a towel as well). We always had grubby tea towels in the laundry room cabinet that we used for bathroom cleaning on Saturdays.
I've purchased a hand full of paper towel rolls in adulthood, but I never formed the habit of buying them regularly, partially because, living in New York City, the expense wasn't worth it, but also because I always used rags for cleaning my apartment.
As I've been assessing all areas of my life and how to make little changes to reduce the trash I create, my office has been one of the biggest obstacles. Well, my industry in general. Apparel manufacturing is incredibly wasteful, but I won't go into that here (though it's something I will address and come to terms with when the time is right). But any office is rife with opportunities for creating waste, or, looked at another way, for saving waste.
My starting point: the bathroom sink. When I wash my hands, I always use two (okay, three) paper towels to dry them afterwards. There is a small electric hand dryer on the bathroom wall, but when it's working, the air stream is so pitiful that air drying is almost as good. So for the sake of convenience, I always go for paper towels.
How do I break my three paper towel per bathroom visit habit? If I visit the loo four times in a work day (usually more because I drink so much water and coffee all day), that's 12 paper towels. 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, that's over 3000 paper towels that are going to a landfill, all so I can avoid the discomfort of some damp hands for a minute or two.
Are paper towels biodegradable? Yes. Are they compostable? Aye. But the amount of water used in the production of paper towels is wasteful, the chemicals used are often harmful, and they come at the cost of oxygen-producing trees that I need to keep me from suffocating in the polluted India air (coughs).
The answer: do a little planning and bring my own damn towel to dry my hands with. Or, in this case, a bandana, because it's what I had, and it folds up nice and tidy into a square that fits in my jeans pocket. So I don't even have to look like a weirdo carrying my personal towel to the washroom. And I know my hands are the only ones that have touched it, so I don't have to worry about rogue bacteria, as long as I wash it regularly.
Well, that was easy.
Awareness is the first step in protecting yourself and staying healthy.
If I can't get B12 from plants, does that mean I'm designed to eat animal products? Maybe.
Did you know that the average American spends 444 minutes looking at screens every single day?
Protein is probably one of the least difficult nutrients to get enough of on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
You can reap a lot of savings by making some of your own cosmetics and toiletries, with the added benefit of knowing exactly what's going into them (no mystery un-pronounce-able ingredients, thank you very much!).
Modern medicine has provided us with a bevy of choices when it comes to preventing unwanted pregnancy, each with its own pros and cons. But what is the most socially and environmentally responsible choice?
CRONO-O-Meter lets you enter all the foods you eat in a given day and gives you a breakdown of their nutrient contents and the percentage of their RDA you've eaten based on your height, weight, and gender.
When we reduce our meat intake, Pollan argues, it leaves more room on our plates for foods that are packed with nutrients that are essential to our health.
Since Mat and I are giving veganism a try, we've had to get a little creative about what we cook at home. I want to make sure we're getting a nice variety of foods, so that we don't get bored with a vegan diet, and so that we get a good balance of nutrients.
Some of the data referenced in this film was new to me, and at first I was skeptical, but the longer I watched, the more convinced I became that a plant-based (vegan) diet is healthier for humans.