How To Keep Paper Napkins Even in a Paperless Kitchen

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Paper napkins in my paperless kitchen?? Oh yeah, it’s still easily possible y’all. And it’s FREE! Come check out this handy Homestead Hack.

Paper Napkins In A Paperless Kitchen?? Oh yeah, it's easily possible y'all. Come check out this handy Homestead Hack! #TexasHomesteader

Our Disposable Paper Free Kitchen

I don’t buy disposable paper products for our home. No paper plates, no paper napkins or paper towels. It was a journey for me to get there though.

Long, long ago I gave up disposable paper napkins in our home. We’ve used cloth napkins exclusively since the kids were babies (and they’re now grown with near-grown kids of their own!)  

Yet even with all those years of heavy use, our cloth napkins still look like new.

We use reusable luxurious cloth napkins exclusively. No crinkly disposable napkins for us! #TexasHomesteader

Then over a decade ago I was finally able to wean RancherMan off paper towels as well. I keep him supplied in plenty of repurposed rags to take their place. 

When those repurposed rags have done heavy duty in his shop he can toss them into the trash. 

It's easy to replace disposable paper towels with repurposed t-shirt rags. #TexasHomesteader

I’m ok with that since those rags started out as old clothes or holey socks before working their way down the line of usefulness. 

Guests Sometimes Need A Paper Napkin

But you know, there are times when a paper napkin would really come in handy. Especially if you have guests who desire a more disposable option.

You know, for when they look at you wide-eyed and exclaim in disbelief:

“Really? You have NO paper napkins??!!”

Yes, I’ve actually had this happen before – more than once! 

So in order to have disposable paper napkins on hand for those moments, do I go against my environmental bend? Do I take a deep breath & purchase a pack of plastic-wrapped disposable paper napkins anyway? 

Nope. Come see this easy ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that-before’ moment. 

Use whatcha got, y’all!

Accumulating Free Paper Napkins

Several years ago RancherMan & I stopped at a drive-through for a quick burger. I looked with dismay at those 3-4 leftover paper napkins the clerk had added to our bag. Just how messy do they think we are?? Haha.

I hate to throw those extra napkins away, but handing them back through the window isn’t a good option from a hygiene standpoint. Like it or not those disposable napkins were mine now. 

Paper napkins in a paperless kitchen - how I acquire free napkins. #TexasHomesteader

So like most people I popped them into our car’s glove box in case we needed a paper napkin when we’re on the road. But over time they really stacked up.

So I thought:

“Why not just bring those extra napkins into the house & store them neatly for those times when they’re actually needed??”

Zero-Waste Storage For Free Paper Napkins

So I repurposed this plastic snap-top container that was left when someone brought food for us after a surgery. I layer those leftover napkins neatly inside & snap the lid shut to keep everything tidy.

Paper Napkins in a paperless kitchen using unused fast food napkins stored neatly. #TexasHomesteader

When someone asks for a paper napkin I can quickly pull this container out & oblige them! 

I’ve not had to buy a plastic-wrapped bundle of disposable paper napkins. These were free!

Plus I’ve kept these one or two unwanted paper napkins from just being tossed because they weren’t needed at the time. Once again an environmental shot, score & win for Use Whatcha Got!


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Tagged in A complete list of all our zero-waste living articles. #TexasHomesteader   A list of all our eco-friendly posts. #TexasHomesteader    All our favorite eco-friendly posts about repurposing. #TexasHomesteader    

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9 thoughts on “How To Keep Paper Napkins Even in a Paperless Kitchen

  1. Cynthia D

    I do this too. I will pull these out for the grandkids. I also save extra plasticware. One place we order from gives you a plasticware set of knife, fork, spoon, napkin and a pack of salt and pepper. We don’t use all the utensils or salt and pepper so bring them home and put them in the plastic container. Great to use when the power goes off and don’t want to use water to wash because the pump doesn’t work.

  2. Mrs Shoes

    I diapered my babies in cloth (THAT is commitment!). But I draw the line at giving up tissues – I washed enough snotty hankies in our early years that I am DONE with that!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Cloth diapering really does take commitment Mrs. Shoes, I tried that for a while with my first but it didn’t last long. I do have my grandmother’s cloth hankies and love ’em, but I totally get your resistance to dealing with them – we all have different things that appeal to us. I do have a box of paper tissues for guests though. I realize not everyone who visits our home is on board with my level of crunchiness and I’m totally ok with that. ~TxH~

  3. Evelyn Edgett

    As soon as I read this, I thought, “We save the paper napkins too, and I have the PERFECT container to put them in!” May I just say that you’re a GENIUS!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      🙂 Use Whatcha Got, eh Evelyn?? I’ve been happy that when ‘that’ look hits a guest’s face when I tell them I have NO paper napkins in my kitchen that I’ve been able to pull this container out for them. These napkins were not wanted in the first place but at least I’ve allowed them to serve a purpose. Then after they’re used they’re often tossed in the composter to add to my ‘browns’. ~TxH~

  4. candace

    Yep, Over the years I’ve collected quite a heap of them. I like them for times that I want petite garlic dill pickles with humus and I’d like them not to be drippy in my (also plastic meeeeh) hummus carton. Yep, I know I could make my own bean dip but so far I’m willing to indulge myself on the store brand I love.

    On another note to keep plastic out of landfills I started years ago rinsing any grocery store produce bag and reusing them many many times.

    Do you remember the “olden” bread bag rugs? My great grandmother made crocheted rag rugs. None of which have survived my many moves pre retirement. much to my sadness. I doubt any of the cousins has one either.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      You’re right, you could make your own hummus dip with beans Candace, but for me it’s all about balance. Not everyone wants to spin their own yarn or milk their own cow. Living lightly often involves doing those things that make the most sense to you, like reusing the plastic that comes into your home as you’d mentioned. Good for you! And although I’ve never had one, I’ve seen those crocheted rugs you speak of. They’re pretty cool too and very useful – especially for damp outdoor or mud-room use. ~TxH~

      1. Carmen

        There are several tutorials online for crocheting grocery bags into rugs, and now creating sleeping mats for the homeless- there might be a group in your area. Here is an article from Atlanta, GA :

        1. Texas Homesteader Post author

          Although my preference is to not bring plastic home in the first place, this is a good solution for plastic that finds its way home anyway. ~TxH~


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