Are Paper Towels Bad For the Environment


Environmental impact is one of the hot topics these days because we all know what is happening to our planet because of industrial and plastic waste. People have already started to move from harmful products to sustainable ones. Consumers are already leaving products made or packaged in plastic. They switch to paper stuff as they are easy to decompose and never leave harmful effects on the environment.

Paper towels are also getting popular because of their performance and affordability, but the question is, “are paper towels bad for the environment?” We all struggle to find healthy alternatives to plastic and other waste; if you were also searching for the same, we have the answers. We have prepared this guide for you where you can have all the information about paper towels before using them at your place. This information will help you making a decision and you can finally decide, what works best for kitchen cleaning.

Are Paper Towels Bad for The Environment

The question is still controversial because some of us believe that paper towels are safe to use and never pollute the environment if disposed of properly. In contrast, the rest believes that they are also the cause of increasing pollution. Let’s find out why this one question “are paper towels bad for the environment” is causing havoc in everyone’s minds. People think paper towels are not harmful due to their decomposition process and sustainable behavior. If you are throwing a paper towel in the ocean, you don’t have to worry about injuring any sea animal as the paper gets decomposed quickly.

Also, paper towels are made from recyclable material, and the source is a plant fiber, so recycling them without wasting resources is possible. They are long-lasting as they are more absorbent, and each sheet can last up to a week. If you are not comfortable with washing clothes as sometimes they might smell bad, you may find paper clothes easy to use. They won’t smell and are suitable to clean with mild detergent.

If we discuss why people think that paper towels are bad for the environment is because they are also responsible for deforestation. The manufacturing of paper towels requires trees, and when we cut them off, we help increase CO2 in our environment, which is not safe for other living beings. Also, people debate the cleaning method of paper towels. Paper towels consume more water than cloth towels as they are highly absorbent and not easy to clean.

If we compare the water consumption of paper towels and cloth towels, both consume almost the same amount. Also, the resources used in preparing paper towels threaten the forest. Although paper towels are recyclable, they are not harmful even when you dump them somewhere. In a nutshell, paper towels are not utterly detrimental to the environment as they are sustainable and not the source of piling up waste on the earth.

Sustainable Alternatives to Paper Towels

Are Paper Towels Bad For the Environment

For the regular cleaning of your kitchen or home, you need to keep multiple towels, which must be highly absorbent to help you clean the surface. If you are tired of using paper towels because of high consumption, it’s time to switch to more sustainable alternatives, which are also budget-friendly. Let’s find out what our options are.

  • Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

If you want environmentally-friendly cleaning options at home, you should opt for a microfiber cleaning cloth. They are soft, easy to use, and long-lasting. Even if your counter surface is sensitive to other towel material, you can heavily count on it to resist scratches. They are not only suitable for cleaning kitchen surfaces but for washing sinks and wiping off utensils. Also, they never consume additional water; you can put them in a washing machine to clean. Microfibers cleaning clothes are known for their gentle nature and sustainable environmental impact.

  • Newspaper

The newspaper is one of the most affordable and sustainable options to clean your home. We commonly have this in our home, and there is no need to spend an additional amount on purchasing it. Newspapers are the perfect cleaning when you want to wipe off grease and oil stains from any surface. Keep the stash of newspapers in your home for cleaning as they are not harmful to the environment. Also, you are using them for multiple purposes. The newspaper provides impressive shine on any surface compared to the other cleaning material. Newspapers are reusable if you are not cleaning a heavily greased area from them.

  • Old Shirts

There is nothing better in your home to clean than an old t-shirt. Why should you waste it when it can be long-lasting and sustainable cleaning clothes? Regardless of the surface, cleaning cloth works everywhere and never leaves scratches behind until they are full of accessories. The soft structure of t-shirt makes them long-lasting and give you a shiny surface. From wiping off the furniture to cleaning counters, old t-shirts remove stains and grease from the surface and are easy to clean. They are suitable to reuse as many times as you want. Clean them with mild detergent to save your surface from bacteria.

  • Eco-Friendly Sponges

There was a time when people used to clean their utensils and counter surfaces with sponges. Still, later we came to know how it can help growing contamination in your home. People later switch to eco-friendly sponges, which are easy to use, safe, and never leave germs on the surface. Those same eco-friendly sponges are suitable for cleaning your kitchen counters and keeping any surface clean. They are affordable, and when you dump them anywhere, they are not harmful to other living beings. Depending on your usage, you can have several sponges in your home and replace them after a month or so.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do paper towels harm the environment?

White towels are easy and convenient to use but are harmful to the environment. Paper towels are made from wood and for that trees are required. Paper towels are responsible for deforestation and reducing oxygen if we talk about the environmental impact. As a result, this thing will lead us to global warming and harm living beings on the planet. It’s also the cause of wildlife endangerment and habitat loss. Paper towels never leave a harmful impact on any living being, but at the same time, they are responsible for using resources that boost life.

  1. Is it eco-friendly to use paper towels?

Paper towels are not entirely sustainable and eco-friendly as they are made from trees. Our forests and planet are already polluted, and living beings are threatened. Paper towels are responsible for deforestation, and some are only suitable for single-use, increasing consumption. If you want to reduce environmental waste, switch to more sustainable options. If your paper towel consumption is not high, you can keep using it. Due to deforestation, this product is not entirely eco-friendly, and it’s advisable to use bulk supplies of it.

  1. Do paper towels break down in landfills?

While talking about the breakdown process of paper towels, this may come as a surprise for you, but paper towels are quick to biodegrade, and during the process, they release methane. It’s a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Paper towels quickly break down in landfills but are not entirely recyclable. The fibers of paper towels are short, and it’s impossible to use them to prepare anything else.

  1. Is it better to use paper towels or cloth?

Paper towels and cloth towels both are suitable to use, and it also depends on what material you are comfortable with. Paper towels are ideal for quick cleanup and are highly absorbent, so you don’t have to use multiple sheets to clean a single place. On the other hand, cloth towels are easy to use, quick to clean and last a long time.

  1. What can I use in place of paper towels?

If you are one of those people finding ways to reduce waste from the planet by adopting sustainable options in your cleaning routine, you should use alternatives. Instead of paper towels, you can use newspapers, old clothes, microfiber cleaning clothes, cloth towels, and much other stuff in your home. If you have a high consumption of cleaning clothes, you can use these alternatives to save yourself from contributing to pollution.

Final Thoughts

Paper towel is indeed an environmental-friendly alternative that you can use in your kitchen or anywhere to reduce waste. Still, it’s manufacturing also leaves a carbon footprint on the environment. We never think twice before tossing them around after using them, but they also increase waste on the planet. We use them generally for different tasks, but it’s time to give them a more profound thought.

It’s time to think of other sustainable options that keep our forest safe from the danger of wiping out. Save your trees, or it will be hard for animals to survive anymore. Also, paper towels are unsafe for the environment if not disposed of properly. Use and throw paper towels when necessary to use them and play your role in saving trees.