Eco-Conscious Galley Spill Cleanups
Learn how to minimize the environmental impact of galley hygiene
By Greg LeBreton
Having two children on board a cruising boat means we have galley spills. Lots of them. Needless to say we do a lot of cleaning and wiping up and there is always the same question, “Which is the more environmentally friendly choice – paper towels or dish cloths?”
I prefer the paper towel. Quick, easy and thrown out. My wife claims paper towels result in the destruction of tracts of virgin rainforest and we should use the reusable dish cloths. Who is right? I decided to check with the experts.
Believe it or not, other people besides me investigate these issues. Catherine Mohr, a scientist with an extensive list of engineering and environmental experience, has looked deeply into this question. She found the choice between paper towels or dish cloths does not make much difference on our environmental impact. However, if hot water was used to clean and rinse the dish cloth in the sink, our environmental footprint becomes much larger. Hot water needs to be treated and heated and requires the burning of fossil fuels. Rinsing dish cloths can have a much greater impact than the use of some paper towels.