In the heart of every kitchen, the paper towel roll has long been a staple for quick cleanups and spills. However, a paradigm shift is underway as the world awakens to the pressing need for sustainable living. The spotlight now turns to an eco-conscious alternative: reusable cloth kitchen towels. 

This transition embodies the concept of zero waste, offering a practical and planet-friendly way to minimize our environmental footprint. As we embark on a journey to explore the merits of reusable paper towels, we uncover the potential to transform our daily habits and contribute to a more mindful approach to everyday tasks.

Let’s delve into the world of zero-waste alternatives and discover how these cloth companions can redefine how we navigate our kitchens and care for our planet. 

Exploring Reusable Paper Towels: A Sustainable Shift in Kitchen Essentials

Venturing beyond the conventional realm of disposable options, reusable paper towels stand as a transformative eco-friendly paper towel alternative, often called unpaper towel roll. Unlike their single-use counterparts, these cloth paper towels are designed for repeated use, positioning them at the forefront of eco-conscious choices for the kitchen environment.

As an eco-friendly endeavour, embracing reusable paper towels differs from the conventional standard. Instead of the traditional paper towel made from wood pulp, one can opt for a reusable counterpart crafted from various materials made from cotton or bamboo. 

This shift embodies a commitment to reducing waste and conserving resources, echoing the ethos of a zero-waste lifestyle. Notably, this transition aligns with the principle of circularity, where the same cloth towel can be washed and utilized multiple times, starkly contrasting the disposability of traditional paper towels.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emphasizes that source reduction, also called waste prevention, means stopping waste from happening. It’s the best way for the environment. The environmental benefits of using reusable cloth alternatives over standard paper towels citing reduced waste and resource consumption.

Benefits of Using Reusable Paper Towels

Rolls of paper towels on table near board with lettering

Using reusable paper towels comes with several benefits, including:

1. Eco-Friendly Choice

Reusable paper towels are crafted from organic cotton or bamboo, minimizing the reliance on wood pulp used in traditional paper towels. Using cloth-based alternatives also reduces the demand for resources like water and energy required in paper towel production.

Example: Bamboo-based reusable paper towels, like those offered by brands like Marley’s Monsters, provide a sustainable and biodegradable option.

2. Cost-Effective Long-Term

While the initial investment might be higher, reusable paper towels are cost-effective over time. Since they can be laundered and used repeatedly, you’ll save money on constantly purchasing disposable paper towels.

Example: A pack of reusable paper towels can replace hundreds of single-use rolls, saving you substantial amounts in the long run.

3. Waste Reduction and Sustainable Living

Traditional paper towels contribute to significant waste generation due to their single-use nature. Switching to reusable options significantly reduces the amount of paper waste in landfills.

Example: Brands like Swedish brand Ecoliving offer “Unpaper Towels” made from sustainably sourced cotton, encouraging waste reduction.

Reusable paper towels work similarly to regular paper towels in terms of functionality. They are made from absorbent and durable materials that allow them to wipe up spills and messes effectively. The key difference lies in their reusability, as they can be used multiple times before requiring cleaning.

Top 5 Eco-Friendly Reusable Paper Towels in 2023

As the environmental consciousness gains momentum, various brands are stepping up with innovative solutions, offering reusable paper towels that prioritize sustainability. Here are the top 5 options for eco-friendly reusable paper towels in 2023, each with distinct features that contribute to a greener lifestyle:

  1. Marley’s Monsters Organic Cotton Reusable Paper Towels
Marley's Monsters Organic Cotton Reusable Paper Towels

Image Credit: Marley’s Monsters

Marley’s Monsters offers a standout choice with organic cotton reusable paper towels. These towels are made from GOTS-certified organic cotton and are a sustainable alternative to conventional paper towels. Their organic origin ensures reduced reliance on pesticides and chemical fertilizers, making them gentler on the environment.

These towels are also designed with durability in mind, promoting long-lasting use and reducing the need for frequent replacements. With their absorbent and soft texture, Marley’s Monsters organic cotton reusable paper towels excel in performance and eco-friendliness.

2. Bambooee Bamboo Towels

Bambooee Bamboo Towels

Image Credit: Bambooee

Bambooee takes the concept of reusable paper towels further with their bamboo-based towels. Bamboo, a rapidly renewable resource, forms the foundation of these towels, making them a more sustainable choice than wood pulp ones. 

Bambooee’s towels are biodegradable and can be machine washed up to 100 times, prolonging their lifespan and minimizing waste. The naturally anti-bacterial properties of bamboo add an extra layer of hygiene to these towels, making them a versatile and eco-conscious option for various household tasks.

3. Papaya Sustainable Cellulose-Based Paper Towels

paper towel in hand

Image Credit: Papaya

Papaya presents a noteworthy option with their cellulose-based sustainable paper towels. Made from renewable plant-based materials, these towels break down easily in composting environments, reducing their environmental impact.

Their production process focuses on minimizing water usage and energy consumption, aligning with sustainability principles. With their innovative blend of sustainability and functionality, Papaya’s cellulose-based paper towels offer a forward-looking approach to household cleanup.

4. Swedish Dishcloth Set (Wettex Classic)

Swedish Dishcloth Set

Image Credit: Wettex

The Wettex Swedish Dishcloth Set presents a unique option for reusable paper towels. These dishcloths, made from a mix of cellulose and cotton, offer high absorbency and quick-drying properties after rinse. The cellulose component comes from renewable wood pulp, adding an eco-friendly angle to their design. 

Swedish dishcloths are washable, and when they reach the end of their lifespan, they can be composted, making them a practical choice for minimizing waste in the kitchen.

5. ECOS Treeless Paper Towels

ECOS paper towel

Image credit: ECOS

ECOS presents an innovative take on paper towels with their treeless version. Unlike traditional paper towels that rely on wood pulp, ECOS® uses bamboo and sugarcane fibers to create their treeless paper towels. These materials are earth-friendly: Bamboo grows quickly on registered farms, and sugarcane leaves are reused from the sugar industry. 

Each roll of these paper towels contains 115 absorbent 2-ply sheets. This unique combination of rapidly renewable resources reduces the strain on forests and promotes sustainable material sourcing.

6. If You Care Reusable Paper Towels

if you care reusable paper towel

Image Credit: If You Care

If You Care introduces a standout entry with reusable paper towels crafted from certified organic cotton. These towels embody a commitment to minimizing waste and environmental impact. Certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), If You Care’s reusable paper towels uphold high sustainability standards. 

If You Care Reusable Paper Towels are crafted using a patented technique that combines cellulose, non-GMO unbleached cotton, and mirabilite – a natural mineral salt – in a special three-dimensional process. After removing the mirabilite, the remaining blend (70% cellulose & 30% cotton) becomes exceptionally porous, resulting in highly absorbent towels.

Types of reusable paper towels

The market offers a diverse range of reusable paper towels, each catering to different eco-conscious preferences. Here are some notable choices:

  1. Organic Cotton Reusable Paper Towels: These towels are crafted from organic cotton, a natural and biodegradable material. They are typically free from pesticides and chemicals, making them a safer and more environmentally friendly option. Brands like Marley’s Monsters offer organic cotton reusable paper towels that are soft, absorbent, and perfect for various household tasks.
  2. Bamboo Towels: Bamboo towels have become an eco-friendly alternative due to bamboo’s rapid growth and renewability. Bamboo is a highly sustainable resource as it requires minimal water and doesn’t need harmful pesticides or fertilizers. Bambooee offers bamboo towels that are strong, durable, and reusable, making them a practical choice for those seeking sustainability in their cleaning routine.
  3. Sustainable Cellulose-Based Paper Towels: These towels are made from cellulose, a natural fiber derived from plants. Brands like Papaya offer cellulose-based paper towels that are biodegradable and compostable, ensuring minimal environmental impact. They are also highly absorbent and versatile, making them suitable for various cleaning tasks around the home.

How to Choose the Best Reusable Paper Towels?

  • Consider the material: Consider options crafted from organic cotton, bamboo, or sustainable cellulose-based materials when choosing reusable paper towels.
  • Check absorbency and durability: Prioritize reusable paper towels that exhibit both absorbency and durability, ensuring they can effectively handle various cleaning tasks without losing quality.
  • Look for machine-washable options: Opt for reusable paper towels that can be easily cleaned in a washing machine. This convenience streamlines the cleaning process and enhances usability.

Tips for Using Reusable Paper Towels

  • Wash with care: To extend the lifespan of your reusable paper towels, following proper care and washing instructions is essential. Most options can be washed either by hand or in a washing machine, ensuring they remain in good condition.
  • Versatility in tasks: Reusable paper towels are incredibly versatile and can be employed for a range of tasks, including wiping spills, cleaning surfaces, and drying dishes. Their adaptability makes them a valuable addition to your everyday cleaning routine.
  • Incorporate into routine: For optimal use, consider designating a specific spot in your kitchen for storing your reusable paper towels. This promotes easy access and encourages their consistent use, ensuring they’re readily available for various tasks.

How to Make Your Reusable Paper Towels?

  • Repurpose with flannels: If you enjoy a hands-on approach, repurpose old cotton flannels to craft your own reusable paper towels. Cut them to the desired sizes and sew the edges to prevent fraying.
  • Combining cellulose and fabric: Another creative option is creating reusable paper towels by combining cellulose and fabric. This blend offers exceptional absorbency and durability for your cleaning needs.
  • Personalize with creativity: Adding a personal touch can be an enjoyable process. Customize your reusable paper towels with patterns, colors, or embroidered designs to match your unique style.
  • Contribute to sustainability: By embracing reusable paper towels, you actively contribute to waste reduction and sustainable living. Choose the options that align with your preferences and join the movement toward a more environmentally friendly future!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are reusable paper towels?

Reusable paper towels are a sustainable alternative to traditional single-use paper towels. They are designed to be used multiple times and can be easily washed and reused.

What are the benefits of using reusable paper towels?

Using reusable paper towels helps reduce waste and the need for single-use disposables. They are eco-friendly, sustainable, and can save you money in the long run.

How are reusable paper towels different from traditional paper towels?

Reusable paper towels are made from cellulose and bamboo fibers, which are more durable and absorbent than traditional paper towels. They can be washed and reused, while conventional paper towels are typically discarded after use.

How many times can reusable paper towels be used?

Reusable paper towels can typically be used up to 20 times before they need to be washed. However, this may vary depending on the brand and material.

How do I clean reusable paper towels?

Reusable paper towels can be washed by hand or in a washing machine. It is recommended to wash them in cold water and air dry or tumble dry on low heat. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, as they can break down the fibers.

Are reusable paper towels compostable?

Some reusable paper towels are compostable, especially those made from natural materials like bamboo and cotton. However, checking the packaging or product description to confirm compostability is essential.

Can reusable paper towels replace traditional paper towels completely?

While reusable paper towels can be a great alternative to traditional paper towels, they may not completely replace them in all situations. Traditional paper towels may still be needed for specific tasks or when convenience is a priority.

Are there towel holders for reusable paper towels?

Yes, there are towel holders designed explicitly for reusable paper towels. These holders provide a convenient way to store and dispense the towels, similar to a traditional paper towel holder.

How do I dispose of worn-out reusable paper towels?

Worn-out reusable paper towels can be composted if they are made from biodegradable materials. If they are not compostable, they should be disposed of in the regular trash.

Can I use reusable paper towels in the dishwasher?

Reusable paper towels should not be placed in the dishwasher, as the high heat and agitation can cause them to break down or lose their absorbency. It is best to hand wash or machine wash them separately.


As we embark on the journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle, choosing reusable paper towels transforms into a powerful testament to our commitment to the planet. By making the conscious shift away from single-use disposables, we ignite a ripple effect that resonates with positive change, rippling through our daily habits and the environment we share. 

With each cloth we use, we weave a thread of awareness and responsibility, threading together a fabric of conscious living. Let’s wrap our actions in embracing eco-friendliness, and together, we’ll navigate a greener path—one towel at a time. 

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