Towel available from BlueQ
As a woman whose momma raised her right, to always place a napkin in the lap (after setting the table with it folded into a triangle on the left side of the plate with a fork atop it), I was a bit shocked at this turn of events. Now Martha would probably approve if, say, cloth napkins were used instead. She (my benefactor) does use towels for wiping up spills from counter to floor, and many of them are washed daily, but no cloth napkins. It may be an attempt to curb water usage because of all the other towels being used, plus lots of dishwashing in the Whirlpool. But it takes a lot of kitchen towels to fill up a washing machine, I have noted. So the action of substituting real towels for fake ones is probably negligible as far as environmental impact, and certainly the better choice. I have not yet asked about the lack of cloth napkins - don't want my curiosity to seem a criticism, which it is not. But I have found that these actions do save many paper towels. I used to have a bad habit of going through them way too quickly, and now I find that I don't need them half as much as I thought I did. We have saved countless trees in the month and a half that I have been here, and she has been doing this for a year, so the tree rescue count goes up even more for her.
In my next place, I plan to invest in kitchen towels (after I replace the one of hers I caught on fire) and maybe some cloth napkins. At the very least, though our laps are bare at the dinner table and my sisters would gasp, I am proud of the fact that I - and my 3 yr old son - have managed to curb our crumb dispensing and keep messes to a minimum. Reduced cleanup ability, plus living in a near-immaculate household - have a significant impact on inspiration to be cleaner by nature.