Recycled paper towels get the job done! For cleaning and soaking, they’re just as good as a virgin wood-pulp disposable paper towel. The only difference is that recycled paper towels are made of used-paper that went through a recycling process (By an end consumer or by the industry). Recycled kitchen rolls a great sustainable alternative to paper towels.
A great example of an earth-friendly paper towels brand is Marcal Paper Towels. They are 100% recycled (Green Seal certified) and they are plastic-free! Which makes them one of my favorite recycled paper towels.
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Top 5 100% Recycled Paper Towels
100% recycled (Green Seal certified) and plastic-free
No added fragrances or dyes
Made with a minimum of 80% post-consumer recycled fiber
100% Recycledת Made in the USA
Machine washable material, Plastic-free packaging
Paper Towels Alternatives
Paper towels are useful products, and you find them in most houses for a reason. But we can’t ignore the fact they are very wasteful. They can’t be used more than once and once they’re wet they also can’t be recycled.
For those reasons, when someone asks me what is the greenest way to use paper towels – I tell them that there are a few eco-friendly paper towels alternatives to consider.
First, consider using reusable towels like nano towels or other similar kitchen rugs. They’re reusable, durable and can help you cut down on toxic cleaning appliances. If that doesn’t cover it use bamboo paper towels. These towels are not fully reusable but you can wash them and then reuse each towel a few good times. Moreover, the bamboo paper is way more eco-friendly than wood-pulp paper.
If for some reason, in addition to these two options, you need one-time disposable paper towels in your kitchen, recycled paper towels are the most eco-friendly choice.
11 Recycled Paper Towels
Personally I recommend getting recycled paper towels as complementary products to other paper towels alternatives such as reusable paper towels and bamboo paper towels. Below I listed the best-recycled paper towels options I found online. If you know of other products that should be on this list, please let me know below in the comment section.
Marcal paper towels alternative is the right choice for those with busy lives. Made with 2-ply strength, you can rely on the 60 sheets per roll to clean everything you need. The absorbent paper will wipe anything from spills to your child’s dirty hands. It’s from 100% recycled material certified by Green Seal. The material is hypoallergenic and you can use it on sensitive skin.
What’s great about Marcal is that it has met and exceeded the EPA Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines.
Customers say: If you want to live a plastic-free lifestyle, this isn’t the right choice for you. The reason for this is because each roll is plastic wrapped. If you don’t have any napkins around, try these lint-free paper towels.
Seventh Generation paper towels are 100% recycled and 50% post-consumer recycled (PCR). This is a 2-ply paper towel so you can use it to clean any dirt left by children or pets without it tearing apart. If every household in America would use these paper towels, we could save a lot of trees.
Seventh Generation paper towels sheets have a plush texture and a good average size so you can use them for any almost any task. No harsh chemicals, dyes, or fragrances ARE used to dye these paper towels.
Customers say: It can absorb liquids quickly, and you will forget that it’s made from recycled content. Some reviewers claimed the paper towels aren’t weren’t useful for large spills.
If you’re one of those people who couldn’t care less what color their paper towels are, you should consider Seventh Generation unbleached paper towels. These unbleached towels will remove spills and waste from hands and furniture. Made from 100% recycled content, no fragrances, and no bleach, these recycled paper towels are as eco friendly as it gets.
What I especially like about Seventh Generation unbleached rolls is that they are made of 80% Post-consumer recycled content, which is really high! The other 20% are also recycled content that came from industry leftovers. The 2-ply sheets and jumbo-size rolls can replace up to 52 regular kitchen rolls.
Customers say: If you’re looking for a sustainable solution, these are a great choice. The sheets are long-lasting and highly convenient.
These recycled paper towels by 365 Everyday Value are earth-friendly. They’re made of durable 2-ply strength that will ensure a smooth clean touch regardless of the mess. Each pack has three jumbo rolls that will allow you to clean each time without worrying about wasted money.
365 Everyday Value paper towels are flushable just like toilet paper. You will be in awe of how flexible and robust they are.
Customers say: Not many are happy with the thickness of the sheets. You need to use a few of them for large spills. But if you’re looking for soft paper towels on the budget, these are a great choice.
Ecosophy paper towels are not made of recycled paper, they’re made of Bamboo. I discuss this topic extensively in the guide I wrote about eco-friendly toilet paper. But you should know that disposable bamboo products are more eco-friendly than disposable products made of tree-pulp, even when it’s recycled tree-pulp.
Bamboo eco-friendliness has a lot to do with how fast it grows and regenerates and its material qualities that are more suitable for paper products than wood. Therefore they need to go through less process to become paper.
If you’re whiling to try something new, Ecosophy bamboo paper towels are a great choice. These towels are reusable you can use them up to 2000 times and re-wash them up to 150 times. These eco-friendly bamboo towels will save you money and space in your waste bin.
Customers say: Many appreciate the fact that these are compostable bamboo paper towels. And that a roll can last up to 1 year. Furthermore, the material dries quickly, so you don’t need to put it in the dryer.
Pacific Blue basic recycled paper towels are made of 100% recycled paper and 40% of it is post-consumer recycled paper. These kitchen rolls are a great alternative for your every day cleaning tasks. Whether you want to use them in your home or office, you will be impressed with how flexible and versatile they are. The high absorbency will allow you to clean with ease with minimal effort on your behalf.
Customers say: Many customers appreciate that the design of Pacific Blue kitchen rolls will fit the majority of paper towel dispensers. So, you can tear off the sheets fast and easy. Also, each roll is in a single wrap so you can store it away without worrying about damages. The material is absorbent enough so you can use it for a variety of spills. However, you shouldn’t expect a sponge-like absorbency. These are also an excellent choice for cleaning glass.
These towels are not made of recycled paper, but if you’re on the market for eco-friendly paper towels alternatives, SUPERSCANDI Swedish Washcloths are definitely an important option to consider.
The clothes are made of 30% cotton and 70% cellulose (from trees). Therefore, the material has a sponge-like absorbency. They are 100% biodegradable and you can reuse them and wash them over and over again.
The company says that you can use each towel for at least 200 times, and it will maintain its quality for up to 8 weeks. Also, these rugs are multipurpose, you can use it for wiping, mopping, and cleaning. Whether you want to mop the floor or wash the dishes, SUPERSCANDI can get it done.
Customers say: The majority of reviewers seemed to appreciate that the product comes with a money-back guarantee. So, if you’re not happy, you will be offered a full refund.
If you’re willing to consider another brand that is not recycled but made of bamboo, Whogivesacrap offers not only sustainable paper towels but also helps communities in need. Every year, the company will give up to 50% of their profits to help build toilets in deprived areas. Moreover, there are no tree fibers used in the creation of the paper towels (tree-free).
Similarly, with all of the products in this review, these environmentally friendly paper towels are suitable to use on sensitive skin. The soft material will allow you to maintain a squeaky-clean home.
Customers say: The material is durable enough, so you don’t have to worry about punctures or rips. Nonetheless, many think that more sheets should be available per roll.
Bambaw bamboo paper towels are reusable, so you can get the more for your budget. A single sheet will replace more than 50 conventional paper towels. Furthermore, the material is thick, so it can absorb large spills with ease. You can use these paper towels on a range of surfaces such as ceramic, steel, wood, and glass.
The softness, antibacterial, and hypoallergenic features of Bambaw will convince you bamboo paper towels are better than recycled wood pulp paper towels.
Customers say: Whether you want to use them for cleaning or maintenance, they are a great choice. On the other hand, watch out as some customers say that the lint can get caught in nails or imperfections on surfaces.
Due to the high-absorbency strength of If You Care natural cloths, they can replace numerous paper towels sheets. It will absorb more than 20 times its weight.
Although it has a funky color, the material is unbleached cotton. Also, the packaging is compostable (It’s made from corn starch). This product is suitable for those that want to remove plastic from their lifestyle as these are reusable plastic-free towels. If you take into consideration the care instructions, one cloth will last for up to 300 washes.
Customers say: The material will absorb large spills without detreating gradually. Additionally, they are easy to clean.
Whether you want to polish or to wipe, Tork perforated kitchen roll towels are great recycled paper towels. The 2-ply paper will ensure high absorbency and durability. Therefore, you can use fewer sheets to reduce waste.
Each roll is individually-wrapped so that it lasts longer. You can use Tork recycled paper towels to scrub and to wipe due to the strength of the material. Best of all, this product received numerous certifications for its responsible manufacturing.
Customers say: If you’re looking for soft, sustainable paper towels, take a look at this product. Even though they may not be the best at absorbing, you can use them to clean the dirt with ease.
Reusable paper towels Vs. recycled paper towels
If you read one of my guides before, you must already know how I choose eco-friendly products to recommend. I tend to prefer reusable products over recycled products. And this applies also to paper towels.
With the US being the biggest consumer of paper towels worldwide (by far) I believe there’s a big opportunity for change. Moving from virgin wood pulp paper towels to recycled paper towels is a good start. But using a reusable paper towel is way more sustainable.
Reusable paper towels made of bamboo, cellulose, or cotton save so much garbage and manufacturing energy and water that it’s just amazing. Some bamboo paper towels can be reused up to 200 times! On the other hand, when you’re using a recycled paper towel you only use it once, and it has to go to the trash bin or flushed down the toilet. It can’t even be recycled.
You don’t have to give up on paper towels altogether. In fact, you can have both types in your home (recycled+reusable), and whenever you can try to use the reusable one. Minimize your use of disposable paper towels to the minimum.
Benefits of recycled paper towels
According to research done by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2017 on the generation and disposition of municipal solid waste, it turns out 67 million tons of paper waste was generated in the U.S alone. Paper products are around ~25% of all household trash. U.S is the biggest consumer of paper towels in the entire world. Is there a place for a change? Yes.
Recycled environmentally friendly paper towels – If we recycle paper waste, instead of cutting down more trees, we earn twice. Once because our landfills will be thinner and our environment cleaner. Secondly, we cut down fewer trees and forests that we crucially need.
What eco-friendly paper towel to choose?
Plastic-free: If it’s important for you to reduce waste and you’re trying to be as zero-waste as possible, I suggest you go with Marcal plastic free paper towels. These paper towels are made of 100% recycled materials, they are wrapped with paper sheets, and their package is entirely recyclable.
Bamboo: If you’re willing to give a chance to paper towels that are not disposable but you can use them over and over, you should try Ecosophy paper towels. These towels are made of bamboo and you can reuse them and rewash them more than 100 times. Additionally, they come in plastic-free packaging.
Big families: If your family members are more than 3 people, or you have kids or pets that tend to do a big mess, I would suggest getting Tork perforated kitchen roll towels. These 100% recycled paper towels come in a case of 12 Rolls (210 towels per roll) and the rolls are jumbo size. With this amount you won’t run out of paper towels so fast. Moreover, this is a 2-ply paper towel so whenever a sticky liquid finds it’s way to the countertop, these kitchen rolls are what you want in handy.
Reusable: If you don’t have a reusable towel at home, I suggest you keep one near your paper towels. If You Care natural cloths for example are not at all on the expensive side. And if you use them for at least some of the tasks you usually use paper for – you will actually save money and waste.
These towels are made of trees cellulose and cotton, they are durable and reusable and you can rewash them. Additionally, they are packed in a sustainable way with a wrap made from corn starch.
Unbleached: If you don’t mind the color of your paper towels and also wish to reduce chemicals in your home, consider getting Seventh Generation unbleached paper towels. These towels are 100% recycled and 80% post-consumer recycled which is great. Other towels on the list also don’t use chlorine for bleach but they use other chemicals. These paper towels don’t do through bleaching at all.
No doubt that kitchen rolls of some kind are essential to living in a clean household. What type of paper towels and in what way to use them is up to you. And always remember that even a small effort towards a more sustainable lifestyle is blessed.
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