Family time at the dinner table can fall by the wayside if you’re always on the go. On a typical night, a dash through the drive-thru or dinner on the run might be the norm for you, rather than the exception. But, when you do have time to sit as a family and eat, take the time to really make it special.
Why not take dinner from mundane to memorable—and save the Earth at the same time? Shelve the paper napkins and paper towels. Instead, pull out your cloth napkins. Put decorative rings around them. Fold them into fun animal shapes. If you care enough about your family to cook five-star dinners, then shouldn’t your efforts be treated with five-star respect? And don’t stop with your cloth napkins—use real silverware. Use your china, or break out the crystal. Make your table the one place where you don’t rush, skimp, or cheat yourself or your family out of a great experience. Make your dinners an occasion.
If you just can’t bear the thought of parting with your paper towels or napkins, try to buy recycled products. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council website, if every American household replaced one roll of regular paper towels with 100 percent recycled paper towels, 544,000 trees could be saved. And if every American household replaced one package of paper napkins with 100 percent recycled ones, 1 million trees could be saved. Think of how many trees you could save if no paper is ever purchased for wiping your mouth.
When you are finished, throw them in the wash with your already dirty bath towels, then use them again and again.
Even if you only use cloth napkins once a week, you are making a difference in the amount of waste you produce. There’s little effort involved in switching to cloth napkins, and your family will appreciate the change. Who doesn’t want to feel special at mealtime? We all deserve it, even if it is just a small change.
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