Best way to use a paper towel, and other garbage-cutting tips

I’m excited to interview Edward Humes on Friday about his new book “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash.” (Pun alert: Kerri will be away, so we’re trashing the show)

You’ll never think of garbage the same way again!

How do you cut your trash? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

To whet your appetite, here’s a tip Humes himself tweeted this week – a link to a Ted talk about using fewer paper towels:

  • AAD

    I picked up some white “t-shirt fabric” sheets on the free table at a garage sale a couple of years ago. I re-washed them, cut them up into 8″x8″ squares, stacked them up, and flopped them over the paper towel holder in my kitchen.

    I still keep a roll of paper towels under the stack of rags, but unless I’m wiping up red wine or something really greasy, a reusable cloth rag usually does the trick, and hiding the paper towels under the rags makes the green choice the easy choice.

  • JBL

    I no longer cave to the guilt and take brochures from people handing them out on the street or at events. If I actually want the information or have a Minnesota moment where I can’t say no, I take a picture of it with my phone, then put it into an application that has the ability to search text in a photo. Cuts down on the paper and I’m more likely to actually use the info.

  • Alan Weberman

    Garbology is a word I coined to describe the journalistic technique of learning about someone through their trash. This man ripped me off for it.

  • Kyle Samejima

    Reduce is the first word in Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle. There are so many little ways to reduce trash in the first place – don’t buy small serving packaging like juice boxes, put it in a thermos; don’t buy paper towels, use rags or old washcloths. The list could go on and on, but it’s just being slightly thoughtful about not making trash in the first place.

  • Horace Thompson

    I would imagine that our disposal of appliances, cars and even home items exceeds our disposal of disposable containers etcetera. What is the measure of these items relative to eachother?

  • Mary Fahnlander

    I’ve heard that unsorted recycling bins allow the contents to be shipped off and not actually recycled. Mpls is looking at moving away from sorting to improve levels of recycling participation, but I’m concerned this won’t really improve recycling, just dumping. Any validity?

  • JLA

    I buy better quaility goods initially, whenever possible. for example I am looking at a vacuum cleaner. I will be purchasing one I expect to last 15 years, at least, versus one from Target that may last only 1-2 years.

  • Lily

    For women looking to cut down on their waste a bit: use a menstrual cup instead of tampons/pads. It can last pretty much indefinitely, and you have to change it much less often. It’s far more convenient than disposable women’s “sanitary” products, and produces no waste. Also, there’s no risk of TSS as there is with tampons. I made the switch over a year ago and I’m never going back.

  • Jerry Stiff

    My remark is similar to Horace Thompson’s comment. Are we including “home improvements” in this measure of trash per year? We took out some old ceramic tile, changed some sheetrock, put in new tile, and repainted. I assume that the old stuff and the trimmings are included in the tons of trash. There must be some allowance for proper maintenance.