Recently, I was inspired by this MSN article, "No One Wants Your Old Clothes", to remind myself to follow our old Utila rule of maximum 1 roll of paper towel/week. I wish I could say this was inspired by solely environmental convictions, but the reality was this: We took the boat to town once a week to buy provisions. And when I say we took the boat, I mean we took a small outboard motor boat, through the mangroves to the dock at Doña Maria, where we got on either a golf cart, quad, moped or tuk-tuk (three wheeled taxi) to take the remaining two mile journey to Utila Town. We would visit friends and the Funkytown Library, hit Bush's Supermercado for the basics, Ronnie's produce stand, with a stop to pre-pay our electricity, and a jaunt up the hill to Johnny's Island Water to pick up our three 5 gallon tambols of drinking water for the week. Every other week, we'd travel further up the hill to BICA, the Bay Islands Conservation Association, if we had any recycling to drop off.
Doing a weekly shop this way meant there wasn't an SUV to toss a 12 pack of Brawny in the way-back, and our sherpas (read: kids) could only carry so much. Food, water and books were bigger priorities than paper goods.
Back on the South Shore, we went through 1 roll of paper towel, at the most, per week. Instead, we used rags, that hand washed and hung out one the line with our clothes.
What does this have to do with the MSN article on unwanted textiles?
A reminder to me to use less paper, even when it is more convenient, and give old clothes a second life as rags.