Influencers are obsessed with these reusable 'un-paper towels' — so we tried them out ourselves

Katie Dupere
·5 mins read

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Sustainable Swaps highlights the reusable products that real people use to lower their impact on the planet. From sturdy metal razors to cotton swabs that last a lifetime, these swaps have impressed us — and have made the switch to sustainable living easier.

Paper towels are a staple in any household, but they aren’t exactly sustainable. That’s why you’ll find reusable paper towels in every low waste home — especially from one super-popular brand.

Marley’s Monsters is the go-to brand every low-waster turns to for eco-friendly reusable paper towels. You’ll seriously find the independent Oregon-based brand in the home of every sustainability influencer ever — and for good reason. The brand creates a high-quality cloth paper towel substitute, which is called the UNpaper Towel, that can be washed and reused time and time again. Not only that, but UNpaper towels actually cling to one another, making them easy to wrap around a tube like a traditional paper towel roll.

This particular sustainable swap is much needed for the planet, as studies suggest paper towels are the “least green” way of drying your hands. Not only do paper towels take substantial energy to make and ship, but paper towels also contribute to harmful deforestation and environmental degradation. In addition, according to The Guardian, it’s estimated that paper towels account for 2 percent of U.S. landfill contents.

But it’s a gross understatement to say Americans have a paper towel problem. According to market research firm Euromonitor International, the United States spends more on paper towels than every other country in the world combined. On a per-capita basis, the average American spent $17.50 on paper towels in 2017. That may not seem too bad, but the second country to spend the most on paper towels was Norway — with the region spending $11.70 per person. All in all, Americans spent $5.7 billion on paper towels in 2017. In comparison, no other country broke over $635 million in paper towel expenditure that year.

Now, I was admittedly a paper towel lover before swapping to a more sustainable lifestyle. I never thought I could have a home without a roll of paper towels in it. But today, I have zero single-use paper towels in my home. None.

After seeing Marley’s Monsters literally everywhere, I bought the brand’s organic paper towels and organic wipes, which I purchased to replace my beloved baby wipes that, yes, I still use all the time as a 28-year-old woman. At first, I was worried the organic reusable paper towels, which come in a natural white-hued color, would stain easily. But after a month of use, they’ve been relatively unscathed by my messiness. If I’m cooking with turmeric, however, I use a biodegradable Swedish dish towel to wipe up any spills. After all, turmeric is a stain devil.

The evils of turmeric aside, my UNpaper Towels have been my new go-to for hand drying and light cleaning. In addition to being effective, the towels are easily washed with my clothing and come out looking brand new. To store them, I wrap the UNpaper Towels around a kraft tube which fits on my standard paper towel holder. Amazingly, these towels truly cling together easily.

And as for my beloved baby wipes, they too are fantastic. I feel so much better about wiping my hands, feet, face or wherever else with a reusable baby wipe. Not only am I keeping regular baby wipes out of landfill, but I’m also using essential oils and natural ingredients to make my own wipe solution, and none of the questionable ingredients often added to generic baby wipes.

My sister has joined me in my sustainability journey, making sustainable swaps in her own home. I was so impressed with Marley’s Monsters, I recommended she try out the brand, too. Following my expert advice, she scooped up the brand’s napkins (in super cute assorted patterns my 4-year-old niece loves) and facial rounds. And all in all, she’s more than happy with her switch to sustainable goods from the brand.

“The cotton rounds are effective for removing my makeup and very easy to wash,” my sister says. “They are better for the environment and work just as well as disposable cotton rounds.”

If you’re convinced to ditch single-use paper towels, check out some Marley’s Monster products below for a sustainable swap you won’t regret.

Shop: UNpaper Towel 12-Pack, $32

Credit: Etsy

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: Rainbow UNPaper Towel 24-Pack, $56

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: Rolled UNpaper Towel 24-Pack, $58

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: Organic UNpaper Towel 12-Pack, $40

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: Children’s Cloth Napkins 12-Pack, $20

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: Cloth Wipes 12-Pack, $24

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: Linen Napkin 6-Pack, $30

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: Washable Duster, $40

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: Cleaning Cloth, $10

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: Bowl Cover 3-Pack Bundle, $44

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: Rainbow Facial Rounds 20-Pack, $18

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: White Facial Rounds 20-Pack, $18

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: Organic Facial Rounds 20-Pack, $22

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

Shop: Rainbow Cloth Wipes 40-Pack, $52

Credit: Etsy
Credit: Etsy

If you liked this story, check out these sustainable toothbrushes for another easy, impactful swap.

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