My third "Sustainable Tip" for Growcology's March newsletter:
With paper towels, "disposable" is an understatement. Their purpose is to be used once and discarded. Many things you do with a paper towel (mop up spills, wipe counters, clean kids' faces, dry your hands) can also be taken care of with a cloth. What's stopping you? Using cloth instead of paper saves both money and trees.
To get started, collect your cloths. You'd be surprised how many cloths you have within reach. You can use stained table napkins, worn T-shirts, clean cloth diapers, old dish towels or pretty much any fabric items that have run their course. Keep a clean stack or two of these in a drawer or under the sink -- possibly separated into a "nice" stack for drying/wiping things and a "yucky" stack for big messes. (You'd wipe your hands or face with cloths from the "nice" stack, but not from the "yucky" one.)
After using a cloth, either rinse and line dry it or rinse, wring and throw it in the washing machine until your next wash. Soon enough, you'll be weaned off your paper towel habit.