5/28/2016

Replacing paper tissues (handkerchief)

Hello, everyone!
I discovered that because I am sick at least two times a year and on top of that, have hay fever, I am using a lot of paper tissues. In winter, they definitely make up the greatest part of my waste. Going into zero waste, I managed to avoid them what is what I want to talk about today.
disclaimer: what I am talking about are paper tissues used for blowing your nose and other health needs. Other uses of paper tissues may be discussed in the future
inspiration/ further information: 1, 2, 3

Why should you avoid using paper tissues?
Paper tissues can be described as a completely single- use disposable, non recyclable item. First of all, 10 paper tissues are packed together in a colored plastic packaging, about HIHH grams per packaging. On top of that, 15 of these packages are packed in a big plastic package. But also the tissue itself is not waste- free. While an unused tissue is a paper and therefore recyclable, a used tissue, as you throw it away, is not recyclable and gets send to landfill. Most tissues, moreover, are not made from recycled paper in the first place but directly from trees.In addition to this, they are bleached using chemicals like chlorine, hypochlorite. Speaking about health, these are no substances I want to press on my sensitive nose skin. Given that you use one tissue a day on average, you not only throw away about 200 tissue boxes(25,000 tissues). Considering money, the average tissue package here costs 4 euros what makes an estimated total sum of 800 euros you spent on tissues in your life. Enough reasons to avoid tissues. sources: 1, 2, 3

So, how to avoid paper tissues?
The first step that is worth taking is using toilet or kitchen paper for tissue use. First of all, there is way less plastic packaging used for a greater amount of paper. Moreover, you can buy recycled toilet or kitchen paper. The paper waste, you produce, however remains and used toilet papers cannot be recycled as well.
So, I started using a handkerchief as my tissue. My tissue use has decreased to zero. As you can use a hanky basically for ever, there is very little tissue waste to expect.

But isn't that disgusting?
That was what I first thought as well. A handkerchief, however, provides enough surface to blow your nose in several times without touching any area you have already used. After puting them in the washing machine, the handkerchief are completely clean and absolutely nothing but the handkerchief remains.
After using a hanky, I just fold it and put it in my pocket. Unless I am really sick, the next time I use it, it usually has dried already.
I also recognized handkerchiefs feeling more comfortable on the skin. Whereas paper tissues leave a raw, irritated, red skin, I have never experiences that when using handkerchiefs.

What kind of handkerchiefs are to use?
I would recommend using two- ply, smooth cotton handkerchiefs. They should, however, not be too fluffy.  Mine have the size of 24 cm x 24 cm (10 in' x 10 in). In the current time of pollen, one hanky lasts about 4 to 5 days after which I put it in the washing machine. So, I am taking turns using two handkerchiefs.
I have to admit that I am still not using handkerchiefs that openly. When blowing my nose, I often still duck behind things, a habit I am working on to overcome.

Conclusively, it really is just the 'eww' factor one has to come over. Other than that, handkerchiefs propose massive advantages towards paper tissues.

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