Why All The Fuss About Reusable Kitchen Roll?

reusable kitchen roll on a sink
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When The Clever Cactus asked me to try out and review her eco-friendly reusable kitchen roll I was delighted because for one, I already love her products and secondly because this was one area that I hadn’t yet been able to tackle due to me not being able to persuade my husband to ditch the disposable stuff.

So, she sent me out a package and I immediately got to work by showing them in my Instastories (as I usually do). I always get a reaction when I share a new product but nothing prepared me for the volume of messages I received over kitchen roll. I was overwhelmed by mixed thoughts, feelings, opinions and questions and over the course of 24 hours I was left with a lot of information which I just knew I had to get down onto here. So, why all the fuss about reusable kitchen roll? Here goes…

“Why Not Just Use A Cloth?”

As an eco blogger, I am followed by an awful lot of like-minded people. I have those who have been living a more eco lifestyle for many years now and others who started around the same time as me. Of course, there are some who are just starting out or who are getting ideas to start making changes in the future but I’d say the majority on Instagram are already making a lot of sustainable steps and due to this I received a lot of messages asking me why do I not just use a reusable cloth? And for those people, yes a reusable cloth makes perfect sense. They probably use reusable baby wipes, they may make their own cleaning cloths from old towels and are completely used to the using, washing and reusing process and this is great and this is exactly where we want more people to be at… But we need to bear in mind that not everybody is.

Kitchen roll has long been a kitchen staple for many families. I grew up with it in my home, my Nan had it in her home and I have always bought it. It’s like a habit. You go down the toilet roll aisle and grab some kitchen roll whilst you are there. It does the job, it is clean and hygienic and you just toss it away once you are done. To be honest, not a lot of thought goes into any of this process because it’s just what most people do. So, the point of Steph designing and making reusable kitchen roll is to provide an alternative. It is a cloth, yes, but it is a cloth with a name, a specific purpose and as they come in lots of different designs, you can choose one that will fit in with your kitchen decor/theme and will always be used as kitchen roll and nothing else. So, whereas for an already very eco person, this may seem like an odd product, to others this is brilliant as it gives them a clear alternative to their usual throw-away kitchen roll.

me wiping down the worktop with the reusable kitchen roll

“But It’s Only Paper…”

On the flip side, I also received messages telling me that disposable kitchen roll is only paper. It is indeed but does this make it ok? I mean for starters, trees need to be cut down in order to produce this and then there is the process it goes through to be produced which will lead to waste/pollution etc. It is usually sealed in plastic to prevent any damp from getting in during transport and then we have to think about where in the world it is made and the carbon footprint it creates in getting it into stores here in the UK.

Yes, some people pointed out that they purchase recycled kitchen roll. That is a better option but (sorry guys) recycling still uses energy and even though it is slightly more eco than producing from new, it should always be the final choice. There’s a reason that we say Reduce, Reuse then Recycle, it is in the order in which we should be behaving.

“You Can’t Use Reusable Kitchen Roll For Everything”

This is completely true, you really can’t and I wouldn’t ever say that you should. One of my favourite lines is ‘Small Sustainable Steps’ because nobody can be eco perfect and we cannot do everything all of the time when we all have busy, modern lifestyles. We can choose to reuse as and when it is doable which includes wiping up spills, wiping down worktops, cleaning a table, cleaning up mucky hands and faces, mopping up food/sauces/yoghurt, absorbing water and so on. Some things that came up from my Instagram followers that they said they couldn’t use it for were soaking up oil or fat, cleaning up dog/cat mess or vomit, putting down for meats to be placed on (to absorb oils) and cleaning up something that may be toxic/staining etc. I agreed completely there are just some jobs that you cannot do with a reusable cloth – I mean you don’t want to be clogging up your washing machine with oils or fats, do you? But for most jobs in the kitchen, the reusable kitchen roll is perfect and extremely handy. Reducing your waste as much as you can is the aim here and using a reusable option more often over a disposable one will help to achieve this.

The Psychology Behind It All

I think the most interesting thing I got out of all of my discussions was that there is clearly a psychology behind our disposable habits and I’ve most definitely seen this previously with disposable nappies and wipes. We have been sold these products via TV advertising for years and they have been constantly telling us that we must be clean, we must not allow mess or germs and that we should clean up then throw that item away. I was sucked in just as much as everybody else and I had terrible habits. I believed these ads, I did what everybody else was doing, I followed the trend, it is almost like conforming to society, isn’t it? Oh, this person uses this brand because it’s the best, this product has a fancy ad so we must get that one, this promises to do x, y & z so you should definitely buy that one. Our brains are interesting places and many of us will carry on family ways into our own adult homes, we will buy based on a friend’s recommendation, we like to be seen as being the same as others and breaking these habits are tough but it is necessary to do so if we are to do our bit for our planet. I’m by no means going to say that every reusable swap is going to be an easy one, I mean I live with a man who has struggled with letting his precious disposable kitchen roll go and we have had many a conversation around this but I wasn’t ever getting very far… That was until I brought reusable kitchen roll into the house! By showing him this sheet that is the same size as his disposable one, demonstrating that it works in the same way but is actually far more absorbent and joining the sheets up by their poppers to make it still look like and act like disposable roll has made a huge difference here.

reusable kitchen roll up against disposable kitchen roll
the poppers on the kitchen roll
Poppers are used to attach the sheets to one another so that you can roll them and pop them on a holder and detach as needed

It has helped to make this transition a little easier, to help to break that disposable habit and move over to a more eco-friendly way. A simple cloth wouldn’t have ever been enough for Rob, his brain needed this dedicated product and this is precisely why The Clever Cactus reusable kitchen roll is her bestseller. It may be simple but it is very, very effective.

So, there you have it, the many viewpoints of kitchen roll and my thinking behind it all. I tell you what, I never dreamed that I would be talking to people about kitchen roll for an entire weekend but this is precisely why I love doing what I do, I want the conversations about how we can reduce waste and protect our environment to go on and on.

As you know, I am very passionate about switching to reusables and moving over to reusable kitchen roll has been yet another win for our household.

**The Clever Cactus has since closed its doors but many other companies are making this great product like this one on Etsy.

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