I never thought I would every say this. Ever.
But I use handkerchiefs. I’m that person who blows her nose with a hankie. When I was a child I used to look at my dad using them and think: why? Whyyy when there are tissues one can use?
Because tissues have negative impacts on the environment.
Because hankies are much more environmentally friendly. And just cool ;)
But what are they exactly? They are little squares of fabric and are thought to have originated in China, in c.1000 BC where they were used to protect the head from the sun. Their use changed through time but in modern times they are used to wipe or blow one’s nose.
And why are they a more environmentally friendly choice?
Firstly because (most) tissues are made of newly cut trees, not recycled paper so they are using virgin fibres.
Secondly, tissues are whitened by using chlorine and bleach which have harmful effects on the environment.
Thirdly, they come in little plastic (usually non-recyclable) packaging.
I won’t deny it, it felt strange when I first started using hankies. It took me some time to get used to the idea and get over the ‘ew’ factor. But now that I am used to them I couldn’t think of carrying packets of tissues with me again. I’m filled will guilt whenever I have to use one, and throw it away.
Does using handkerchiefs waste more water, needed for washing them? Nope, the key is to buy a big batch. So you can switch to a clean one often and wash them all together at once with your regular clothes wash.
Truly, buy loads. And in different colours. (Lesson learnt over the sniffing-filled winter)
Other than helping the environment, I’m saving money too. Because once bought, they’ll stay with me forever! (Well, almost.) Buying hankies that can be reused multiple times will save me from having to re-buy tissues over and over, making it cheaper in the long run.
Unfortunately, recently when I was reading about the environmental impact of tissues, I came across something I hadn’t thought of. Cotton hankies are not the most environmentally friendly either. Unless they’re organic or made of hemp. This is because to make, they also use a lot of water and go through chlorine bleach.
And I thought, is this ever going to end? Am I ever going to be able to make fully environmentally friendly choices? I don’t know the answer to this yet, but I do know that choosing a better option than another is a start. Even though it is not 100% sustainable. This blog is called ‘The Eco Journey’ and this is what I am going through, a journey to make better choices. Even if they are not the best. So one day, when I will be able to afford buying organic handkerchiefs, I will, but for now I am still choosing a better option. I’ve reduced my plastic packaging and I’ve reduced my waste.
And if you really don’t want to give hankies a try, then go for recycled tissues. There is only a number of times that paper can be recycled, so it would make sense for its last recycling to be into tissues. Still a better option over normal ones.
Here’s a lovely photo of me blowing my nose: ;)