Friday, May 22, 2009

Napkins ... (a recycled article)

For years I used paper napkins … they were convenient and inexpensive. But one day I noticed that, even though we barely dirtied them, they got tossed into the trash can after every meal. What a waste.

We decided to make the switch to cloth napkins. I didn’t want to get brand new ones … they are expensive and I just felt that there must be a better, earth friendly way to stock my linen drawer. Great news … there is.

First, look around the house. Old t-shirts, table clothes and even towels make great napkins. Just cut them to size and … there you go.

Next, check out the thrift stores in your area. I’ve found countless sets of brand new napkins for amazingly low prices (like 8-12 napkins for a dollar).

Whether you make them yourself or buy them, you’ll want to get a bunch so that you have plenty on hand between washings. I have between 20-30 napkins in various colors and fabrics. Look them over before tossing them in the laundry basket … we’ve found that they don’t get dirty after just one … or even two uses. We use them for a few days before tossing them in the washer.

Dazzle your family at your next meal with beautiful, colorful napkins. What’s the old saying? “Treat your family like honored guests”.

As always, I would love to hear your ideas for reducing, reusing and recycling. Just click on the comments link, located at the bottom of each post, and let me know what you think and how you conserve.


  1. Thank you for writing about green living. You make an interesting point re napkins. When i was first married I always used cloth napkins. I'm not even sure when or why we moved to paper (except at the dinner table).
    I will do as you suggest: treat the guests every time.
    Glad to follow.

  2. I have stopped using paper when possible. We do get 400 little napkins at Sam's, it is not cloth but they last forever. I hope I am contributing.

  3. Good idea! we have lots of cloth napkins and only use them when we have company!

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  5. I have to admit, we still use papertowels as napkins most of the time. But, in our defense, we use the super tiny narrow papertoels and half the time cut them in half... but we really SHOULD switch!

  6. We just decided today to make this change ourselves. Now we just need to figure out how often to wash the cloth napkins.

    Andy Greene
    Green Living for Rednecks

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  8. Like Kathryn we too have lots of cloth napkins, but tend only to use them for company.

    Why should we treat other better than we treat ourselves?

  9. I like the old t-shirts. I would love to plop my old t-shirts down on the table in front of my wife and say, "Here have a napkin."
    I can see the horror now.
    I think this whole going green thing is way overrated but I loved your post. I got a great laugh. Very funny keep at it.

  10. I switched to cloth napkins and I love it. I made a few and bought alot from the local thrift store. I love my thrift store.

  11. I plan on going home and making some cloth napkins from my old clothes tonight as well. I was perusing "how to's" and found your article. I will also be making some napkin rings out of old denim jeans and embellishing them with embroidery and cool iron ons. Thanks again! I'll post pictures when I'm finished on