Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Only yesterday I had proof that my husband doesn’t follow all my blog posts. Or if he reads them, he sometimes glosses over them or misses the message. Just something less than two years ago, I wrote about the need to downsize on bathroom towels. At the time, I gave a lot of - what I thought were - good reasons for doing it. You can read it (link below) and decide for yourself just how good the reasons were. And they still are good reasons as far as I’m concerned.

But, back to my first comment, it all happened when my husband came home for lunch and saw me crocheting the edge of a towel. You’ve undoubtedly seen those towels. They are rather small and made of thin cotton. That’s just the point. Since my decision two years ago to downsize on towels, I’ve had to purchase a couple of thin towels for myself. I found them at the dollar store. My husband continues to use the old “regular” ones that we bought ten years ago and, by some miracle, continue to tolerate frequent machine washing. He wouldn’t let me get rid of his plush treasures when I did my first post on towel downsizing. So, I’m the one who uses thin ones.

On seeing me crochet yesterday, he asked what I was doing. I said: “ I’m crocheting an edge on these cheap, dollar store towels because if I don’t, they ravel out and look terrible. With this edging, they hold up just fine.”

Dollar store towels look pretty good with crocheted edging.
His reply was: “ We can afford to buy good bath towels.” Roughly translated, I suppose he meant that I was AGAIN wasting my time on a rather useless project. I answered him, saying: “I like these towels and do this to keep them serviceable for a long time.” That was enough to quiet him, especially since I got up right then and got busy serving lunch.

But some hours later, I thought that - maybe - I should post more about my decision to use thin, cotton towels rather than the usual fluffy ones. Like my husband, maybe my readers missed that post – so far back in time. Or perhaps I didn’t explain myself as well as I should have. So, here I am with another post the subject of bath towels.  The theme for this one is: JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN (afford to buy fluffy towels), DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD (buy them).

It has everything to do with the harmful effects of the cotton industry
Cotton is a natural product. “Natural” sounds like, maybe, ecological. Unfortunately, cotton growing is not earth-friendly. Being “natural” doesn’t mean that it’s something sustainable.

The sad truth is this.
  Cotton growing involves the most intensive pesticides use of any agricultural product in the world. The annual cotton crop accounts for 22.5 percent of all insecticides, herbicides and defoliants used at the global level. And all those toxins end up harming wildlife and contaminating other foods that we eat.

Water use is another concern. Growing enough cotton for one T-shirt requires 257 gallons of water. Think about how much water goes into producing the plush towel that seems like such an good buy for $6 to $10. The polluted wastewater emissions from cotton fields and textile industry also weigh heavy on the environment. What’s more, due to the intensity of cotton farming, cotton in many poor countries makes up for a large percentage of agricultural land - so much so that the local population can’t even cultivate their own food.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s the question of genetically modified cotton. GM cotton hasn’t got much world attention because cotton is falsely considered to be a non-food crop. But food is also an issue here. Cottonseed oil is used for cooking and in animal feed. 
We all can make better choices.
So, that’s why I choose thin towels over plush ones and the reason that I want my towels to last for a very long time. And besides all that, the shell-crocheted edge makes my simple towels more attractive – something that I like. After all, it takes me only about three relaxing hours to finish crocheting the edges of a towel, and the cotton yarn I'm using is left over from an earlier project.

Fluffy bath towels are among the things you can easily acquire but that, most likely, you shouldn’t (now that you know some of the problems involved.) But, of course, the same can be said of a huge number of other “convenient” consumer products that - thinking more clearly about it – seem to be motivated more by personal vanity than by need. Other examples (and even bigger ones) that come to mind are brand new cars, wide-screen TVs, smart phones, all-round sound systems, etc. But those are subjects of future posts, if I ever get around to them.

Earlier posts


1 comment:

Mary Wood said...

All your reasons for not using big, fluffy towels are much more important than mine.
BUT.... think about your pocketbook. It takes so much longer to dry towels, either on the line or (half the year, at least) in a machine.
I had a large family. Towels that dry quickly were very important. The money saved in energy alone is worth it.