Where has all the paper gone?

This article appears in the Small Earth Stories feature series. View the full series.

In retrospect, it’s hilarious that it took me so long to commit to a paperless kitchen. After all, by the time my husband and I decided paperless was the route for us, we’d been cloth diapering our son for more than a year — meaning we were voluntarily putting poopy diapers into our washing machine every day. 

But a cloth that had been used to clean up spilled kombucha on the kitchen counter? The horror. Yet, the more we thought about it, the more it seemed like a no-brainer. Some changes, like swapping out paper coffee filters for a reusable copper one, were easy. Others, like using cloth instead of paper towels, took more acclimation. 

The main thing we learned is that you have to make cloth as convenient as paper: have lots of reserves and keep them handy. We’re two years in and don’t even miss paper products. 

Dawn Araujo-Hawkins is news editor at The Christian Century and lives in Topeka, Kansas.

A version of this story appeared in the April 3-16, 2020 print issue under the headline: Where has all the paper gone? .

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