Is it possible to become completely paper free? I read a post on The Non-Consumer Advocates FB page recently where a user claimed their household was entirely paper free. They used re-usable cloths for toilet paper, paper towel and tissues (I think, once upon a time, these were called HANDKERCHIEFS). They used cloth napkins, of course, and then had a big bag of rags for things that were too horrible to be cleaned up with a re-usable rag.
This has made me think a lot about how much paper we use in our household. We always recycle envelopes and blank-backed letters for note taking. Any other paper goes into the recycling bin. We do use tissues (tsk tsk), toilet paper (how do you explain to guests that this is a toilet paper free household?!) and occasionally napkins/serviettes. We can definitely stop using two of these…I can’t see myself becoming toilet paper free.
I’m a bit of an obsessive list maker, so I’m not sure how I’d go transferring that to another medium. Call me old fashioned, but I like to use a pen and paper for my lists. I wonder how BP would go writing songs on something other than paper? Surely that would stifle your creativity? Mind you, I’m very creatively creating this very blog entry straight onto a computer, so maybe I’m wrong. (And a little bit old fashioned.)
A friend and I have an ongoing disagreement about the value of Kindles (and such) for reading. I will eat my hat AND shoes if I one day choose to abandon paper books permanently in favour of the screen. (Bob, you have that in writing – published for all to see.) I’m really very sentimental about books. I was almost swayed when I read about the Worldreader charity, though. Maybe e-readers are the future. I won’t like it if they are, though.
I guess if we make the choice to use paper for things like note taking and reading we need to be really aware of how well they can actually be recycled. And if they can’t, if all those lovely bits of paper that we send off hopefully to the recycling plant actually end up in the trash, we need to be okay with that, or willing to make a change.
The recycling process (and it’s effectiveness) needs more research from me and perhaps a little time to deal with, because it’s likely that I’m not going to be okay with my hopeful bits of paper adding to our landfill or energy consumption. So I need to be willing to make a change.