Why I Made The Switch From Tissues To Hankies

tissue paperGone are the days when people used to carry a handkerchief. Today everyone, even I, prefer to use tissues. Light, easy to use and dispose, tissues make wiping up spilled liquids, sweat and even soaking up the oil on one’s face so much easier. But did you know that tissues are extremely harmful for the environment?

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, it takes about 163,000 trees to make 170 sheets of facial tissues! [1] . And if we keep up with this trend, we’ll end up destroying trees and forests  faster than we can plant them; a very scary thought indeed.

The fact that switching from facial tissues to handkerchiefs could save 163,000 trees was compelling enough for me. So I decided to try using only handkerchiefs for three days.

Day 1: Finding A Handkerchief – Since the downfall of the erstwhile hanky, I haven’t bothered to really buy one. I knew I had a few lying around my house, but finding them was another task. The first day was tough, because I didn’t know where to keep the handkerchief, but apart from that it seemed to work pretty well for me. It soaked up the sweat or oil on my face and kept me feeling a little excited for having protected the environment in my own little way.

Day 2: The Cold – When you have a cold and a runny nose, using a handkerchief can be cumbersome. Not only was I tempted to throw away the hanky every time I blew my runny nose, I felt I was not being as sanitary as I’d like to be. But when I spoke to my mother about my ‘troubles’, she suggested using the hanky the right way. She mentioned that when using a hanky you do so from the inside out, neatly folding it as you move on from one use to the next. She also suggested I carry one hanky to blow my nose and another for wiping my hands and face. Quite a nifty trick that worked well for me.

Day 3: Muscle Memory – This was the point where I started getting used to carrying a handkerchief and using it the right way. I didn’t miss tissues as much and it worked well for all my personal needs.

That being said, tissues are extremely useful too. But in order to keep the cake and eat it too, a good idea would be to use recycled tissues that do not use bleach or chlorine to whiten the paper (chemicals that are extremely harmful for the environment).

Image source: Pixabay


[1] https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/walletcard_1.pdf

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