This made the move to cloth napkins much easier. We were buying paper napkins and I really can't even explain why we started using so many - three of us using three a day, at least or a good pack or more a month. This isn't a big cost around $3-4 mth or $36-$48/year, but it is a cost and I also was needed to add it to the shopping list....of which I'm trying to reduce, and reduce and then reduce some more. Since we are trying hard to move to a sustainable lifestyle i.e. provide as much for ourselves as possible, I decided that I would look into making my own cloth napkins.
Off to Fabricville to see what they had. Well for $2.00 I bought 1 metre (roughtly 6.5 feet or 2 yards) of fabric and each makes 20 nine inches by nine inch napkins and 4 slighly smaller ones. So 24 napkins for $2.00 plus some labour on my part or .09 cents a napkin. I use cold water washes and can easily put them in a wash as needed since 24 is more than enough for 3 people using one napkin a day.
Cost Comparison: Total cost per year paper napkins $36-40 (at least)/year compared to $2 (material cost) for the year plus they will likely last a few years so say $1/year.
How to make them?
Simply buy a meter of fabric or less if you like, and cut into pieces that you would like your napkins to be - be sure to add in a little margin 5/8 of an inch maybe to allow for sewing the edges...and nothing says you need to sew the edges...it just makes for a nicer looking napkin. You can also re-use material that is cotton. See picture above. The fabric should be a good fabric to take in grease etc while when washed it rinses out. A good fabric to use is cotton but others can be used too, just consider you want it to absorb dirt.
Don't want to make them?
Often if you go to second hand stores they will carry linens and you will find some well priced cloth napkins ready to use. They cost a little more per napkin but saves you time while still saving you money in the long run...and the environment. Finally, you can buy them however you will likely find the initial investment will match your first year of paper napkin costs.
Why cloth napkins?
- save money
- save on environmental impacts (not polluting and using up valuable resources)
- reusable, save on trips to the store
- they work better and one will do
- reduces waste
- feel nice on the face
Next on the paper removal list...hummm....