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Paper towel alternatives will be your reusable, ecological, new favorite way to save money. If you consider the cost and environmental impact of paper towels, now is the perfect time to give them up.

Reduce Disposable Waste

You’ve probably already stopped using plastic bags. According to the Center for Biological University, Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, requiring 12 million barrels of oil to produce. Reusable bags and straws are now easy to find and use, so why not reduce even more disposable waste by eliminating paper towels too?

Paper Towels By The Numbers

  • 17 trees are cut down and 20,000 gallons of water are needed to make one ton of paper towels.
  • 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used each year in the U.S. alone.
  • 6 million tons of paper towels end up in the landfill every year.
  • 544,000 trees could be saved if every household in the U.S. replaced just one roll of paper towels containing 70 sheets with 100% recycled ones.
ScotTowels Paper Towels 1935 Ad. Photo credit:

Prior to Arthur Scott introducing paper kitchen towels to the American people in 1931, we just washed and reused washcloths or old rags. Once we became used to the convenience of disposable paper towels, and as our population and economy grew, more and more trees have been cut down to supply the demand, landfills have become overwhelmed, and we are spending more on paper goods than we ever have.

Letting Go of Paper Towels is Easier Than Ever

Average American households use two rolls of paper towels per week, spending $200 (or more) per year for an item used once and thrown in the garbage. Additionally, decomposing paper towels produce methane gas, a leading cause of global warming. Conventional paper towels are made with harsh chemicals (bleach, synthetic dyes, etc.) and cannot be recycled. With so many natural products to choose from, letting go of your paper towel and napkin usage is easier than ever.

Some Great Paper Towel Alternatives

Unpaper Towels

Marleys Monsters created a paper towel alternative for “eco-friendly living essentials for a crunchy family.” Even non-crunchy families can appreciate Unpaper Towels (they even have unpaper toilet paper!). They cling together naturally, so you can even roll them on an existing paper towel dispenser. Even better, you can just toss them into the washer and dryer.

“So easy to use and wash! We use multiple every day and save throwing away so many disposable paper towels!” -Meghan

Try starting with their 6-pack ($18). A 6-pack of Bounty paper towels retails at Wal-Mart for $11.37 (recently out of stock!). Purchasing paper towels on an average of twice per month, you’re spending about $22 per month (or $264 per year). Transitioning to paper towel alternatives will save you a few dollars in the first month, and within five years, up to $1,320!

Unpaper Towels have over 27,000 reviews and 5 Star Ratings


Bambooee has been around since 2014 when husband and wife entrepreneurs Noam and Lori Krasniansky teamed up with Lori Greiner on Shark Tank. It is estimated that using three fewer paper towel rolls per year, just in American households, saves 120,000 tons of waste in our landfills.

Bambooee plants one tree with every purchase.

Made from sustainable organic bamboo, they can save you hundreds of dollars on disposable paper towels while helping the environment at the same time. One roll contains 30 sheets and can be washed up to 100 times. Retailing for $29.99 (for two rolls), each roll replaces up to 429 paper towels.

These make me happy!
Have not had to use paper towels for over a year now. my original batch of bambooee still works too! -Laurel H.


Wowables are reusable paper towels made from 100% biodegradable wood pulp and unbleached, non-gmo cotton. The 30 sheet roll can be reused up to two years, saving you up to $500 compared to average household usage of regular paper towels.

Harmful-chemical-free, they come in bright colors of yellow, coral, teal, and violet using only natural inks. One roll of 30 sheets is the equivalent of 260 regular paper towel rolls (up to 13,260 single paper towel sheets!) and are $19.99 for a 30 count roll on Amazon. Visit Wowables website directly for deals, currently they’re offering two for $36.88 with free shipping. One sheet can be used up to a month, and if they’re used in place of Swiffer sweeper cloths, savings can easily double.

These are awesome. Love how absorbent and durable these are. So much so that I ordered a second color. A must have. -R. Jones

Let Go of the Paper Towel Habit

Letting go of paper towels may take a little getting used to, but the financial and environmental benefits greatly outweigh the minor inconvenience of having to wash and reuse alternatives. Why stop there? Eco-friendly cloth napkins can save over $100 per year! Wool dryer balls are a great alternative to using toxic fragrance dryer sheets and can save you significantly as well. Visit your local thrift shop too, it can be a great resource for used, recycled wash rags and towels.