Monday, 9 May 2011


I have never once seen someone use a hanky and not thought the entire concept was weird.  I'm not going to lie to you and tell you otherwise.  However, eww-factor aside, facial tissue is incredibly eco-unfriendly, takes longer than toilet paper to biodegrade, and it is very hard to find tissue that has any post-consumer recycled content (although Seventh Generation makes some, I've read the quality is not even close to comparable to regular tissue paper).

This leaves me a bit torn.  I really want to be good to the environment, but I also want to pay for things that work the way I am expecting them to, if that makes sense.  I have never, ever blown my nose in anything but tissue paper (except for once, when I had a particularly ferocious cold, I had to blow my nose directly into the sink because the tissue was making my nose raw - very sad).  We use cloth napkins in our kitchen instead of paper towels, but I haven't been able to say goodbye to my tissue paper to date (not to mention I have four boxes left to use up).  However, as I become increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of paper products generally, I am questioning whether I can forego my prejudice towards hankies and find it in my heart to make the switch.

Just as I was in the process of debating this matter, I read about Hankettes, a Canadian company that makes hankies in a box, that look just like normal tissue paper boxes!  Well, enough like them that this might be a workable solution.  Of course, there are only eight hankies in a box, so you obviously can't go as long without cleaning the hankies as you could even use a normal box, but I think that's okay. The company has a really impressive commitment to the environment, sustainability and corporate social responsibility that makes you just want to support them.  Although the box of eight hankies costs about $45, I'm sure we will save lots of money as a result of this switch.  It will take some getting used to, but I really like the thought of breaking myself of the "disposable mindset" that I've developed throughout my life.


  1. I'll sew you some! I love the idea, but good grief that's a lot for tissues!

  2. Awesome! Now all I need is a nice box to put them in... In all seriousness, I was emailing back and forth with the owner today and reading through their website, and I could not be any more supportive of this company. It reminds me a lot of Live for Tomorrow, which I have also blogged about. Both are these amazing companies that think really hard about their products. I'm happy to support them, even if they are expensive!

  3. Good point. I think it's wonderful that you're so conscious of your impact on the environment. Have you considered switching to reusable toilet paper? Google "family cloth" and I think you'll be sold. It's a bit of a yucky topic, but it's a great option.

    I also meant to comment on your "no-poo" posts. If your hair gets a bit limp or your scalp itches during the switch, just steep 2 bags of mint tea in 2 cups of water and add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. It'll perk right back up without resorting to shampoo and conditioner.

  4. wow, reusable TP, eh? that's intense. i was actually thinking about toilet paper today and thinking "well, we do really well with the toilet paper" because we use paper with a high post-consumer recycled content, but, on the hierarchy of "reduce, reuse, recycle", i guess we're not really doing that good. we already don't use that much (i'm guessing we don't anyhow), but reusing? that's a scary proposition! i'm going to look into it though, because now i'm intrigued.

    as for the no-pooing, i know for sure that i'm not going to use shampoo anymore at all. baking soda works great to strip my hair down (better than any shampoo ever could), but i am trying to avoid using it because i want to break the stripping down/building up cycles. i like your solution. i've tried the ACV and like it, so i'll try it the next time my hair needs a little somethin'. are you a no-pooer? what kind of hair do you have? how long have you done it and what is your "routine"? it seems everyone finds one that works for them eventually, the trick is finding it before you get frustrated and give up!

  5. The family cloth really is scary at first. I was grossed out at the idea, but the more I read about it, the more I wanted to try it. A friend of mine switched over and she loved it, so I gave it a try. It's not nearly as icky as it sounds, I promise. I keep TP for guests and for my boys and only use it when I tinkle. TMI, I know, but I figure the more people are willing to share their experiences with it, the better.

    I was a no-pooer and briefly gave it up after I had James in August. I don't know if it was the postpartum adjustment, or what, but my hair went completely haywire. I'm gradually getting back into it now and still working out what ratio of bs/water and acv/water works for my hair. My hair has gotten curlier after every pregnancy (weird, I know) so I'm having to learn all over again what works for me.

    When I was doing it full time last summer, I added cinnamon sticks and chamomile to the acv to cut the smell. I read somewhere that the chamomile is really good for blondes. I don't know how much of an effect it really had, but my hair smelled lovely, so that was enough for me.

  6. awesome, thank you michaela! i agree, it's important to talk about these things openly because if we don't it makes it seem like there's some reason to be embarrassed. i don't know what people these days think humans used a hundred years ago when they went to the bathroom, but i can pretty much guarantee it wasn't toilet paper and it was more sustainable than what most of us use. sort of like the diva cup or reusable pads, we all should at least consider the alternatives to disposable everything. i'm not quite there yet with the TP, but the feminine products are starting to give me environmental guilt, so i'm weighing my options (and my ability to stomach them!).

    i really love this whole no-poo experiment. i enjoy that the solution is so personal to each of us and that the solution is out there but it is a matter of figuring it out. the cinnamon sticks and chamomile sounds divine! i used acv last sunday and even today when i blew it dry is smelled like acv (because i haven't use bs since then). i think i'm going to try to go with wo as long as i can. i was going to bs it tomorrow because i got the oil in it today, but i'm hoping tomorrow's shower might get enough of it out that i can manage. in any event i have to style my hair tomorrow because i'm having pictures taken where i have to look "nice" so that will mask any greasiness. no gel or hairspray, though. should be interesting. maybe i'll post a pic to show people how things are progressing. thanks for the comments and suggestions!