In the first episode of this new green living podcast, learn all about unpaper towels -- what they look like, feel like, maybe even taste like. Tiffany and Kat help you understand whether unpaper towels are worth your money and time, or whether you might already have something in your home that will do the trick.
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What We Bought:
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Hello, hello, cat. Low Tiffany, how are you today? Not too shabby. How are you? I'm also less shabby. Less than shabby, less than shabby. I think that's a really good word for this episode. So welcome to greening up my act we are talking about unpaper towels today. Yes. Which I am really excited for you to teach me about because you have mastered the subject matter. And the art and the art from guests art and science and paper towels. It is an art and a science. Yes, yeah, I did some research. I actually like jumped in and bought some. This was actually a long time ago, like probably a year ago when I initially wanted to start this podcast because I was going to do it on my own. And then I found a buddy. And I'm like, yeah, it's way better than talking to yourself. You totally gotten boring. So yeah, so I did all this research after I bought them because I you know, you go on Amazon. And you're like, Amazon. Yeah, we got to talk about them. But yeah, yeah. And I was just like, oh, this sounds really good. This is bamboo. This sounds great. And then turns out, that wasn't the case. They're not that great. But we'll get into that. It was just very surprising to me. So yeah, I have a story for you about one paper towels. Ooh. Before you do that, let me just make sure that people who are joining in know what we're doing and why we're doing it. Yeah, totally. So greening up my act is to marketing writers who are super skeptical, but want to live sustainable, eco friendly lifestyles where they're not killing themselves with chemicals in their own houses, but also want things that work. They are in relatively are well worth the money, at least inexpensive, hopefully. And aren't just green hooey or marketing nonsense. So we're doing the research so you don't have to. Yes. mostly looking at Greenhouse keepings products. At least this stuff? Yeah. lifestyle choices. Yes. This season next season. Who knows? We might go out of the house. I don't know. It's kind of like COVID. Again, we're just stuck indoors. We're on lockdown. Yeah, totally. So yeah. So that's us. And we you know, because we know the marketing side of things. We know how to spin a story. And we know how other people are spinning stories and sort of like through it. Totally. We have the marketing X ray goggles. Oh, yeah, I was gonna say night vision goggles. Were very dark people very dark. subterfuge. Only go outside at night. Yeah. Totally. Yeah, it's just kind of interesting. Although, you know, a year ago I did not I totally did not see through this marketing of these unpaper towels. So tell me the story storytime story time. So yeah, so I heard about these unpaper towels I just heard about the concept. And I was extremely curious. And then I found out oh, these things have actually been around forever. And I live under a rock that's what I found out. Big paper towel has kept you under a pile of paper towels really freaking downy Come on people and I wanted to use less paper and I figured you know if around my house if I make paper towels less convenient than I would use fewer of them so so I was like oh my gosh, what are on paper towels and I had this vision in my mind if something beautiful and lemons all over it blue. And so I was wondering like what are these look like? What are they made up? How do you store them storage was a big one for me because I was like how the heck you know they because paper towels come on a roll. So when you throw them in a yeah, you throw them in the trash can. Exactly the compost bin. Depending but yes, right. Yeah, depending on your household and how advanced you are. But I will chemicals you rubbing them in. But yeah, yeah, well, fair. Yeah. So I went on Amazon, and I found some that looked good. And there were so many options that I was instantly overwhelmed, of course, and some of them were made from bamboo. Like I said, some of them were made from cotton on one side and flannel on the other, which intrigued me to polish your silver or something, I suppose all of that. So stainless stainless steel silver. I see I don't even I don't even know. I don't have silver. So what I'm saying. And then other ones were similar to just really thin dish clods. And I was like, Well, I mean, I have some dish clouds already. Is that good enough? Nope, nope, not good enough. Some of them come with like a wash bag to hold the dirty ones. And I was like, oh, that's handy. But then it's also just extra stuff doing to hang in the closet or the pantry. Yeah, yeah. And then some of them come with a holder, like, basically like a paper towel holder, it looks exactly like that. And then you can roll and reroll the towels up on them, you can wash them, and when you roll them, apparently they're supposed to clean together. And my friend Blair actually says that hers work. Just sounds like another stack of things. You have to fool with your kids socks that don't match. Okay, so they okay, because I wasn't Yeah, it was always wondering how you would attach them? You know? Yes, yeah, there's like, options, and I came up with my own methods. So I'm going to share that. I won't say it's like, perfect for Instagram worthy, but it functions. And so I found one. It's from the brand kitchen and home. And it's made of bamboo. And it seemed the most like a regular paper towel. So it was the least intimidating to me. And it says on the package. It's eco friendly. It got 4.3 out of five stars on Amazon. So I was like, that's pretty good. So I spent nine bucks, and I bought them $9 It's a big investment. So what did I get? When it came in the mail? I was like, paper counter here. And it looked exactly like a roll of paper towels. It was kind of weird. Are they white? They are white. Yeah. And they actually have when you first use them, they have a perforation. So you rip them apart like paper towel. So it's like vegan vegan meat. It's like very much trying to be the same thing. Totally. Yes. And it works. I mean, I bought it right. And so it says that they're made of bamboo. But it also says rayon. And I was like, huh, that it just sort of struck me in the back of my mind like, Hmm, interesting rayon. And we'll come back to that. So they felt like a thin felt pad basically. And they were slightly thicker than paper towel. They were gigantic. Each of them was like huge, like maybe twice, not twice as big as a regular paper towel. But almost. Which is you know how like modern paper towels are like us half as much. Here's half a paper towel. Yes, yeah. Yeah, these were like trying to do the opposite. They're like, we're gonna be as big as possible. Yeah, so then like, it says, You can wash them up to 120 times each. And so I've had these for a year. How do you count? I don't count how many times I wash things. I don't I haven't counted. But I would say I probably have washed them more times than that. 128. Well, actually, if you think about because I'm not washing them. That's like half a year, right? A little bit less. I mean, if you're doing two loads of them a week, I probably washed them once a week. So that's 52 and I've had them for a year. Okay. I don't know if I buy it. Yeah. So it says one roll replaces 60 regular paper towel rolls. Wow. So that's a lot number, right? Yeah. The cost difference I found was like a regular paper towel roll was like a single roll was $1 at target when I was looking now with inflation. They're probably like $18. But yeah, back then. The before times, yeah, yeah. So $60 for 60 rolls, and I spent nine bucks. That's pretty good. So do you $1 savings if it really is 60 you are replacing 60 of them but Right. Yeah, so I tried them. And they worked so friggin well. Oh, really? Yeah. They're like the quicker picker picker upper. Yeah, but way better. Yeah. Like it was they worked so well. They were easy to rinse out. You can reuse them right away. I still needed to use regular paper towels for like grease or gross things. dog poo. Yeah, exactly. I'm not gonna like pick up my dog poo and then put that I'm just not in the dishwasher. I'm just not going to do that. Maybe some people would but so yeah, and then I washed them so I just washed them in the washing machine and then dried them in the dryer. And they were fine. They like most even the stains most of the stains came out. I hope you use like really bright red Gatorade or cooler Eat or something like they do in the commercial right show how much it picks up. I should stay over Instagram. And then yeah, so they got like a little bit stretched out, but otherwise they were totally good. Do you think that's from the rayon? I think so. Cut the neck tried some storage solutions, and the only thing I could cut. So what I've landed on after a year of doing this is I still have like a big wide mouth, ball jar. And I shove them in that and that's how I store the clean ones. Yeah, that actually works pretty well. Like I said it it's not pretty, but it takes up minimal space on the counter. Yeah, they're safe from like, randomly soaking up spills that you you know, yes. Yeah, from all my red Gatorade floating around. Although they would do a great job. But yeah, and I also don't have to fold them, which is huge. I just shoved them in that is I'm not folding those things. It's so dumb to fold rags. Yeah. And then for the dirty ones, I got this, like, probably terrible plastic target. It's like a little basket. But it's plastic and white. And it's like five bucks. And I throw them in there that's in my pantry. And it works perfect. Pretty well, actually. Yeah. And then I just throw them in with my regular towels. So it's really not a big deal. Yeah, so functionally, they worked super well. But then I started researching. And yeah. So in general, the water. So I wanted to know like, is the water usage? A big deal? You know that you are using more water usage with more laundry? Well, more laundry and to produce them with that too. Yeah. So what I found was, according to Mr. Green in Sierra magazine, washing rags and making paper towels uses about the same amount of water. Oh, interesting. Yeah. And that's especially true if you have like an Energy Star rated washing machine, but it seems like you could kind of that that got a wash. lipped really? Well, that's so interesting, because then it's like, well, I'm already washing my towels anyway. Yeah, exactly. So maybe that much more. So. I mean, you probably if you were doing a load by itself without a bunch of towels, then it might make sure on paper towel load. Yeah. I mean, I have a lot. The funny thing is like I have these 20 but then we'll I'll tell you at the end what I ended up doing after this, but Okay, so then I looked into bamboo, and everybody loves bamboo, right? Like oh, yeah, cuz it will like grows like a weed. Huh? Sustainable regrows? Yeah, yeah. So I, I've learned that it is not regulated. Interesting. Yes. So anybody can say like, this is grown from bamboo. Nobody's regulating the bamboo industry and how people grow bamboo. Where are they getting this? Bam. Yes, exactly. I like to think it's renegades. And because of here in Austin, Texas, Pete There's just bamboo because it grows like a weed. It just grows everywhere. Like Renegades cutting down the bamboo and making on paper towels. Yeah, but I'm pretty sure that's not what I love it. Actually, when I was in Vietnam. We went there from our honeymoon. And they made bamboo straws and like really cool things out of bamboo. Yeah, so it can be really used. Yeah, it's a really cool thing. But you know, it's kind of annoying when companies take it and just, yeah, claim to be bamboo. So, so these towels are actually re on as mentioned. So it's rayon made from bamboo. So rayon needs cellulose to write exist. And so they use bamboo to make that cellulose. But by the end of it, it's like not really bamboo anymore. So actually, Patagonia is a company that I do respect, and they refuse to use rayon from bamboo in their products. Okay, because what, let's see, what did they say? It's a known? Oh, yes. Because of the chemicals that they use when they create the rayon, like carbon disulfide. That is a known quote, known human reproductive hazard. Yikes. Yeah. So isn't that interesting? And so it pollutes the environment and pollutes the air. It's not great for factory workers who are making this stuff. And what Patagonia said was that there's only a 50% recovery of the chemical so it's just so there wherever. Yeah, yep. Wow, so Wow, I smell Hui as we say, green Hui, totally. And other ways. It's also called viscose, viscose rayon or viscose. So if you see that anywhere, then That's what this stuff is. Wow, on so much of like our, you know, you go to the fast fashion. And like that's what clothings made. Hopefully those rayon. Yeah. Yeah. And even the like good fashion is made of bamboo. But it's like, but but but but but is it bamboo? Yeah, it's not like straight from the oh, man, we're gonna have to do a whole thing on clothes and like linen and yes. Absolutely. So yeah, that's how I was like, this thing that I bought that I thought was good. It's actually not good. You know? Because like on the package, it says eco friendly. There's right? It's got a little leaves in the air. Yes. Like all the arrows and all the leaves. They're everywhere the fancy words. But then you have to think about like, okay, they do work really well. So I already own them. So I'm not gonna throw them away. They work super well, they have to actually replace paper towels in my house. Like, we don't really use that many paper towels anymore. We'd still use them. But there's less trucking for, you know, less boxes from probably ordering. Paper towels from God knows where in our house. Right? On. You're also not driving to the store to get them. Yeah, less plastic covering? Yeah, so it is. It's kind of a mixed bag. Yeah. What did I rate this? Okay, so what I recommend this product, it's complicated, because of all of the reasons that I said. So it's like sort of feels like picking your poison. So we read things from one to five granolas in the crunchy are better. So I would say this one is probably a two, which is sticky, at best, a three, which is chewy, but I don't even think it's chewy. To be honest. I think it's sticky. I don't know, what do you think it's so high? I mean, i i It's one of those things where it's like, it makes you feel better about so you're reducing your use. And that's a major Yes, the problem is that the product you're using to reduce the use is causing other problems on the other end, right. So I agree with you and that they don't take that into account. It's it's such an American thing, where it's like, oh, I'm doing my part, you know, like, I don't I don't care how it's made, but well, and it's also like, we are all so busy, right? Like who the hell like who had the time to research? Yeah, like even viscose was written so tiny. And rayon was written so tiny on the label. And it's like, even the people who know what viscose means, what ran means they're gonna have a hard time finding that on the label, because none of nobody's really regulating this stuff. So you have to seriously know it. Yeah. So it's frustrating. And I think I think I gotta stick with number two, like rated A too sticky just because I'm so pissed off about the marketing, because it calls itself eco friendly. Yeah, like 100%. But you have some ideas about like, how to find unpaper towels or yes, you know, yes. Okay. So there is a solution totally. So better options. Even though I do still use these bamboo ones. And I do they do really work well. That doesn't mean there aren't a lot of other ways to go about it that are better. So like, cotton, not great as far as being sustainable Lee produced but organic cotton is better. So that's one option if you got like an organic cotton on paper towel. One option, even better is a Swedish dish cloth. That's actually from Sweden, because there's a bunch that are shit. We will link the like legit ones that are produced from sustainable forests and all of these things in the show notes, because I did find one that I really liked. But some of them are we just just class and they're made with like junk. So it's really hard to say, but that's better. But the best of all, it's always reduce, reuse, recycle. So use what you already have. And this was one of the hilarious reviews on the paper towels. The unpaper towels that I bought was I just loved it so much I had to share. It said I feel so stupid for falling for this gimmick. We already have washable reusable paper towels. They're called washcloths. Duh, yeah, I I was gonna jump in here and say I have what I use that I keep in a stack under my sink is just the stack of like blue cotton clods that came with my dad bought me a car cover when I had a BMW. And it came with these basically washcloths to wash the car with nice, which you know, I now have the washcloths for a car that I no longer but yeah, it's what we used to clean the kitchen with because we have we have washed class for the big day and those are separate from the wash class to use on your face. And those are certainly the one class you use to wash the kitchen. Yeah, so they all live in their different rooms. spective sink niches but I yeah, I was lucky enough to have those fallen in my lap. Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah, exactly you stuff you already have. So what I ended up doing when I so after a while these bamboo ones kind of ran out of steam basically. And sometimes they just kind of were too gross to keep washing I don't I really don't think I washed them 120 times now that we're doing the math, but that's fine. I have washed clothes for like 1985 My mother gave me some Yeah, like actual wash clothes do last forever. Yeah. So what I ended up doing I had this giant flannel sheet that my dog had been digging in the bed and ripped a huge Oh, yeah, ripped on the middle. And I tried to so it did not work. So I ended up just cutting that up. And I've just kept it because I've had, you know, they're really useful. And so I cut that up. And that's just the rest of our unpaper towels are just literally like flannel sheet cut up and it works just as well so and they hide they hide the Gatorade stain tote soaks up all that red Gatorade that we're spilling thrown around the house. Yeah, so it's like, I think we are told a lot of times that we need to buy stuff in order to be better. But I think that's the opposite of reality. Yeah. So the less you can buy the Yeah. Because again, those washcloths from 1985 are not currently generating any water problem. Yep. You know, there's not a factory worker getting sick. Sick from it. So totally. They're already here. They already exist. Yeah. Even I feel like thrift stores sometimes. So stuff like that. Oh, yeah, towels, or linens are. Yeah, so if you must buy new I mean, quote unquote, new but yeah, again, it's it's not. No one's gonna judge your rag collection. Yeah, I hope Yes. If they do. Scrum, kick them out. Throw red Gatorade, Gatorade, maybe give them a red clean up and then kick them out. To get with you. And keep using it. Yeah. And then if you do buy, I think you any household is going to need some paper towels just for like I said grease or gross like dog poopy, you're not going to want to use a reusable one. Recycled paper towels are a good option. They're a little bit more expensive, but they do use less water. So yeah. And I think they I mean, they've gotten better. I think years ago. It was like those cheap. Yeah, brown unbleached. Paper towels that. Yeah, we're basically like Kleenex. Yeah, they don't talk anything. They're just the decorative. Just to get stuck to your countertop. And to be able to say you have them. Oh, yeah. Look, I'm so. So contract conscientious. Yeah. But yeah, well, this is I've learned a lot. Thank you. Yeah. Thank you for listening. This was really fun to research and I actually really enjoyed. It's just so funny, because it's like unpaper towels. There's so many pretty ones. And you don't get them to be pretty. No, no, they're there to clean up again. I can't say it enough. Red Gatorade. Oh, yes. Like they get stained. Yeah, if you're free to use it on red Gatorade. It's not worth having. Yeah, exactly. And actually, I did find a what do you call it when you're sewing a pattern, I guess for a guide for no so and soloable unpaper towels, and I did it. This was like also a year ago. But I did it and it they're awesome. I love them. So we'll include that link too. It took like 15 minutes. Well, it was supposed to 15 minutes for me. I'm not good at sewing took me about 45 I'm like Please don't make me. No, no, no. But there is a no sew version. So okay, so maybe on our Instagram, we will show you using your unpaper towels and maybe show us the the guide to there we can share it. Yes, absolutely. So speaking of our, our nascent Instagram is greening up my act. Yep. Yep. Yep. Will so you can find us there. Followed by Tiffany Verbeck and Katherine Cox. Yes. There's our two two current followers who happen to be we're gonna be huge. Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you. I've learned a lot and I'm really excited to go wipe down my kitchen with my washcloth. Yeah, totally. It's gonna be such a fun evening. For you. Awesome. Okay. Talk to you next. Oh, what's next week? Oh, yes. Let's see. I will share what next week is because it is my my week to teach you about compostable trash bag. I'm really excited about that one. Because I have a lot of stories about that, too. So this is my favorite is that we're like, we're doing research but we're also using anecdote. Yes. It's storytime. anecdotes. Yeah. fall asleep. This is asleep podcast, actually. So no, it's not. Don't ask Don't fall asleep. Send us an email, not find us on Instagram email, email comes later. We're gonna do that and we're gonna do an email. Yeah. All right. Take sweet. Thank you