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Best Reusable Paper Towel Alternatives and More Sustainable Paper Towels

Best Reusable Paper Towel Alternatives and More Sustainable Paper Towels

It’s time to upgrade to environmentally responsible reusable paper towel alternatives. Why? Most people buy their paper towels in one of three ways—price, brand name or quantity—without considering the impact of that roll of paper. 

And all that irresponsible manufacturing is just too big to ignore anymore.

OUT WITH THE OLD

Every year, consumers in the US purchase millions of dollars’ worth of paper towels, which contributes to millions of tons of waste while decimating hundreds of thousands trees

But that’s not the only bad part. 

  1. Common paper towel brands are destroying Canada’s Boreal Forest, which is a key to Indigenous Peoples’ culture and survival and critical habitat for iconic species. Plus, the forest is a giant carbon sink that helps mitigate climate change for everyone from here to Tuvalu. 
  2. Some companies use an additive that bonds with natural polymers to give strength to wet paper towels, rendering some non-recyclable.
  3. The natural fibers of paper towels aren’t consistent from one roll to the next, which means the absorbency varies even with the same brand. 
  4. And ever wonder why they’re so white? That’s chlorine bleach.

…AND IN WITH THE NEW!!

We’ll show you a few small dynamite companies that are turning humanitarian and environmental tragedies into opportunities that challenge the status quo. By buying these products instead of the old has-beens, you’ll: 

  • Support relief efforts for children and indigenous peoples globally.
  • Save money over time.
  • Give back to your community and others.
  • Support environmental considerations and human welfare.

Best Reusable Paper Towel Alternatives: EcoKarma’s Picks

Here’s a quick rundown of the brands and products we have researched and selected for you. We’ve put them in 5 categories for you to browse, including some accessories to accompany your new reusable paper towel alternatives. Contact us if we missed out on your favorite!

Best Paperless Paper Towels

Best Swedish Dishcloths and Sponge Alternatives

Best Washable Paper Towels

  • Top Pick. Mioeco: Simple Sustainable Living
  • Runner-up. 112JamesStreet. Sustainably Sourced + Eco-friendly and Biodegradable. 

Best Bamboo Towels or “No-paper” Towels

Best Paper Towel Holders

PAPER TOWEL ALTERNATIVES: A Closer Look

For a more in-depth look at our choices, check out our reviews of the best paper towel alternatives.

Best Paperless Paper Towels

1. Marley’s Monsters: UNPaper Towels®

Making Lasting Changes for the Community Pick

Marley’s Monsters: The UNpaper® Towel | Size/Qty: #12 | Sustainably Sourced: Yes! | Community Contributions: Yes! | Organic Options? Yes! | Price: 

Marley’s Monsters Unpaper® Towels use sustainable, plastic-free shipping with recyclable and compostable materials. Plus, fabric waste is avoided by repurposing scraps. They also donate to St. Vincent DePaul Society of Lane County and ENVIA Fashion as a community-minded business.

Their organic collection offers just two colors (white or natural), but more are available in non-organic 100% cotton.

Washing instructions: Machine wash warm with like colors, tumble dry. 

Pro-tip: if you can’t clean mirrors with paperless paper towels, use old newspaper or a squeegee.

People Like:

  • Washed a dozen times, and they still look the same.
  • Great for a zero-waste home

People Dislike:

  • Can’t clean mirrors with them
  • Become linty in the dryer

2. generationMe

The Lifestyle Change Pick

generationMe: A Lighter Footprint | Size/Qty: Two-ply #12 | Sustainably Sourced: Not Listed | Community Contributions: Not yet | Organic? No. | Price:

generationMe began when the owner/operator lost her sister to cancer and decided to clean the chemicals out of her home and life to become sustainable and healthy. generationMe also produces napkins, baby wipes, and washable menstrual pads for light or overnight flow.

Washing Instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry. Fabric softener not recommended.

People Like:

  • Soft and Absorbent
  • Saves Money

People Dislike:

  • Nothing yet!

Best Swedish Dishcloths and Sponge Alternatives

3. Three Blue Birds

The Love-My-Planet Pick

Three Blue Birds: Clean Life. Green Planet. | Size/Qty: #1 | Sustainably Sourced: Yes! | Community Contributions: Yes! | Organic? Yes! | Price:

Three Blue Birds products are made from 70% sustainably forested wood cellulose and 30% organic cotton. Plus, they’re certified by international regulatory organizations. Contributions include 1% For the Planet—Water Stewardship and Restoration projects:

  • Lower San Pedro River Habitat Restoration
  • Sacramento River Wetland Flow Restoration

Their products are also 100% biodegradable and Fair Trade certified.

Washing instructions: Dishwasher or washing machine. Dry flat.

People Like:

  • Works on glass
  • Great product

People Dislike:

  • Nothing yet!

4. Ten and Co.

The Designer Pick

Ten and Co.:A Premium, Eco-conscious home goods company. | Size/Qty: #1 | Sustainably Sourced: Yes! | Community Contributions: Not yet | Organic? Yes! | Price:

Ten and Co products are compostable and sustainable, with manufacturing, packaging, and shipping considerations. Their products are made from 100% wood cellulose and cotton, making them compostable right on your countertop. And, because they are quick-drying, they’re also inherently anti-bacterial.

No plastic will be used in the shipping of your product!

Washing instructions: Dishwasher or washing machine. Air dry flat.

Best Washable Paper Towels / Napkins

5. Mioeco Bamboo Towels

The Carbon Neutral Pick

Mioeco: Simple Sustainable Living | Size/Qty: #10 | Sustainably Sourced: Yes! | Community Contributions: Not yet! | Organic? 95% | Price: 

Mioeco is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified, which means they don’t use chemicals to produce their washable paper towels. No chemicals = happy, healthy employees! Mioeco is also a carbon-neutral manufacturer (a net-zero carbon production footprint) because they use solar panels to run the electricity in their plant.

Washing instructions: Machine Washable. Dry on low or air dry flat.

6. 112 James Street

The Hemp Pick

112 James Street: Sustainably Sourced + Eco-friendly and Biodegradable. | Size/Qty: #4 @ 12 x 12 | Sustainably Sourced: Yes! | Community Contributions: Not yet! | Organic? Yes! | Price: 

Tara Adair Griesbach is the owner, operator and genius behind all of the eco-friendly products you’ll find at 112 James Street. People love the simple but elegant design as well as the combination of hemp and organic cotton.

No plastic will be used in the shipping of your product!

Washing instructions: Machine wash cold and tumble dry.

People Like:

  • Sturdy and beautifully made
  • LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

People Dislike:

  • No comments listed

Best Bamboo Towels or “Non-paper” Towels

7. The Cheeky Panda

The Look at My Sustainability Report Pick

The Cheeky Panda: Earth, Ocean & People | Size/Qty: #2 | Sustainably Sourced: Yes! | Community Contributions: Yes! | Organic? Yes! | Price: 

Aside from having a sustainability report that just screams “transparency” in business practices, 

The Cheeky Panda has some other fantastic attributes I want to sing about, too!! Take a look:

People Like:

  • Great single-use towel
  • Ethical product, good quality

People Dislike:

  • Can’t be washed or reused

8. Who Gives a Crap?

The Author’s Pick

Who Gives a Crap: We love toilet paper. | Size/Qty: #6 | Sustainably Sourced: Yes! | Community Contributions: WOW, Yes! | Organic Options? Yes! | Price:

Who Gives a Crap is a B-Corp toilet paper company with a mission to help children. So far, they’ve donated over $4.5 million to support global partnerships, including:

  • WaterAid (Australia and America)
  • Sanergy
  • Lwala Community Alliance
  • SHOFCO – Shining Hope for Communities
  • WaterSHED
  • iDE – International Development Enterprises

Oh, and they manufacture sustainable paper towels, too

People Like:

  • Ease of regular deliveries
  • Great quality

People Dislike:

  • Rolls are too short

Best Paper Towel Holders

9. Earth Hero

The B-corp Pick

Earth Hero: Choices Make Changes. | Size/Qty: #1 | Sustainably Sourced: Yes! | Community Contributions: Not yet! | Sustainable Options? Yes! | Price:

As a B-Corp, Earth Hero embodies social and environmental accountability in sourcing, manufacturing, distributing through the product’s end-of-life. That also means they care about the people who work at each stage of this cradle-to-grave process. To include these delightful attributes:

  • Sustainably harvested wood
  • Energy efficiency, Carbon offsets
  • Recycled, recyclable, compostable packaging
  • BPA-free
  • Made in the USA

Plus, the paper towel holder has a minimal design that will fit into just about any décor.

10. Marley’s Monsters: UNPaper Towels® Holder

The Hometown Pick

Marley’s Monsters: The UNpaper® Towel | Size/Qty: #1 | Sustainably Sourced: Yes! | Community Contributions: Yes! | Organic Options? Yes! | Price: 

Marley’s Monsters Unpaper® Towel holders are made from Birch plywood. The base is covered in felted wool to protect your countertop. Plus, it’s finished with tung oil (similar to linseed oil). With regular donations to St. Vincent DePaul Society of Lane County and ENVIA Fashion, it’s obvious they support the local community.

People Like:

  • High Quality Product

People Dislike:

  • No comments listed

Sources:

Comstock, S. (2009, February 19). Finding eco-friendlier Household paper products. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earthtalks-paper-products/

NRDC. (2019). Issue with Tissue: NRDC Press Briefing, February 20, 2019. Soundcloud. https://soundcloud.com/user-196628756/issue-with-tissue-nrdc-press-briefing-february-20-2019

Meet Your Author

amy w.

Amy Wolkenhauer has been a full-time freelance writer since 2014. Her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainability complement each other.

Combined, these degrees provide her with the communication tools necessary to create tangible links between scientists, stakeholders, marketplace & policy actors with communities everywhere.

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