Sunday, July 26, 2009

Eco-thoughts


I have always been very careful to limit waste - whether it is closing the water when I am taking a shower and I don't really need it running, or limiting the amount of paper tissues I use, or trying to avoid at once the use of plastic plates/glasses. I think this "eco-consciousnes" comes from my literature teacher during the first year of high school: every time she'd see one of us wasting paper, she'd remind us of the trees that needed to be cut in order to make that paper.
And, at the university, in the Industrial Organic Chem class, I learned how harsh for the environment is the process of extracting cellulose from wood.

A couple of months ago I decided paper napkins are an unnecessary waste and expense, and I bought six cloth napkins in three different colors. This way, bf and I could have always two different colored napkins, re-use them for some days, then throw them in the washing machine. I know that washing uses electricity and soap, andthis not very good for the environment either, but we have a very energy efficient machine, plus cloth napkins don't really add much volume, so it's not like we are doing more washes than before.
When my mom heard I was doing this, she gave me a lot of old napkins she didn't need, some of which are white with a nice trim. So we have been using these too.

The best part of this, is that when we have guests for dinner, the first thing they say when we sit at the table is: "wow, you even pulled out the "real" napkins for us! How chic!" And then I explain the whole eco-thinking behind this choice, and they usually comment they should do something like this too (the more, the better, I say!)
And I find the use of cloth napkins so very old fashioned and chic, even a simple, everyday dinner becomes an affair to be taken seriously. The food needs to be adequate, and I find myself cooking slightly more engaging things because of this. I try to present vegetables in a nice fashion in their bowl, and I put a particular care in setting the table.
I know it sound a bit stupid, but it brings such a happyness to the eyes than I don't mind the little extra effort.

Next in line: I'd like to start using handkerchiefs instead of paper tissue - I find them so elegant and ladylike - and good for the trees, too!

2 comments:

Fabulously Broke said...

We did the same thing -- switching to cloth napkins and now I carry around handkerchiefs!!!

Kelly said...

I tried hankerchiefs for a while, but I just couldn't do it. It's all fine until you actually have a cold...then it's just nasty to carry it around all day.

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