The Mindful Merchant

Shop – Eat – Live – Mindfully

The Jig is up December 6, 2009

Filed under: eco-friendly,environmentally friendly,green — MindfulMerchant @ 11:54 pm
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pcw_paper_towels_thumb[1] Forgive me Al Gore, David Suzuki and Alicia Silverstone for I have sinned. The Mindful Merchant is on a green path of eco-friendly living…but it is a bumpy journey with slippery spots.

It took a weekend with good friends to shine light on some landfill lunacy going on in my life. This was Jen and Jerome’s first visit with their children since we moved to Ottawa. We were all counting down the sleeps until they arrived.

Jen is a green pal and big supporter of my writing, this blog and making healthier, environmentally friendly changes. She always cheers my green efforts…until Friday. We were in the kitchen chatting and preparing dinner when I spilled something on the counter. I automatically whipped out my giant roll of paper towel to mop the mess. “What are you doing?” she looked at me with big shocked eyes. “You are supposed to be The Mindful Merchant Laura!” she said with disgust. I stopped mid-wipe and looked at my hand.

What was I doing? I was a fraud. Did it matter I was using non-toxic, all natural cleaner to clean organic chicken juices when I had clear-cut trees and bleached/chemically processed landfill balled up in my hand? The jig was up.  Jen even whipped out her cell phone to try to capture this crime on film.

I provided silly excuses and explained that I am trying to be green. I even mumbled something about never claiming I was perfect.  We laughed, they teased me about it, and the weekend was utterly fun and relaxing.

Now they are gone and I realize how ridiculous this is. Here I am implementing many earth friendly changes in our home, and yet cannot give up my use of paper towels and napkins. Oh, did I forget to mention I also purchased “fancy” printed paper napkins for our dinner?  Yup…did that too.

< I can feel your disgust.>

I hope my guilt eases now that I confessed my cleaning crimes. Starting today, I will no longer use paper towels and paper napkins.   It is o-v-e-r.  Thank you to Jen for pointing out the error of my ways, and for not posting my photo on Facebook.  I am going out tomorrow to buy reusable cloths for spills and cleaning.  I am committed.

The Mindful Merchant is back on a greener path.



11 Responses to “The Jig is up”

  1. Oh Laura, your writing sure cracks me up. We’ve all been there! I am a hypocrite myself as I use cloths for the kids but my first instinct is to use paper towel for myself. The germaphobe in me has a hard time using a tea towel to dry my hands during flu season. But you are right, it has to end!

  2. Chris Says:

    Ok help me out here. What’s worse for the environment? Paper towels or the water and energy usage from doing so much laundry?

    And how do you combat the germs in these re-usable cloths? Extra hot water from the water tank, kept hot by natural gas or electricity?

    Being green is confusing. Thought provoking – but confusing.

  3. Paper towels are the worst, hands down. 😦 Forests are cut down, the pulp used once for the product. There are environmental issues with the manufacturing process, dioxin in the bleaching process, and the fuel used for trucks and equipment. Waste from the plastic, not to mention (often) every roll is wrapped in plastic. This happens over and over to feed our paper towel habits and at the very end, the used towels are thrown in the landfill. A full load of laundry done in hot water has waaaaay less environmental impact. Plus, I’ll save money at the grocery. You are right Chris, being green is confusing…and challenging. This one is going to be a tough thing for me to give up.

  4. junipersona Says:

    If you’re at a larger organic food store, try their home cleaning area. I bet you they have silver microfibre there- a GREAT choice for eco cleaning!

    1) silver kills the germs so you
    a) wash them less than regular cloths (just rinse with water and let dry)
    b) they never get that weird musty smell normal cloths do which makes you throw them away
    c) a lot of stuff can be cleaned with JUST the cloth if you’re not looking to SANITIZE, because the cloth itself does a great job of picking up and killing stuff.
    2) microfiber is REALLY good for cleaning up chicken juices or anything weird, because it has more surface area than regular cloths
    3) they last for ages.

  5. Silver microfibre you say? I will have a look for them. Is there a particular brand I should try? They sound good. Thanks for the tip.

    • junipersona Says:

      Um… I bought a bunch from a weird ‘avon-like’ party at my sister in laws- it’s a brand called Norwex. But I dont think they’re any better than the ones I saw at Planet Organic in Edmonton- I don’t really know what the difference is between brands. I just know they’re my solution…

  6. I used two plastic straws on Saturday. We all slip. 🙂 I had a glass one in my purse but the first one came from my aunt, she made me a drink and said I had to use this straw even though it wasn’t glass (it was cute). I hadn’t made any waste all day so decided it was okay. Then went out to eat and forgot to say no straw, remember to say no lemon in my water but it came with a straw. *sigh* That one wasn’t worth it at all!

  7. Hey Laura, I just read this great blog posting about going paperless in the kitchen:

    Some more inspiration!

  8. Thanks for the link – I’ll check it out.

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