In an effort to try and be "greener" I have sort of banned buying paper napkins and towels. I say "sort of," because I haven't really banned it, I just get mad when they make their way into my home (so, same thing I guess). Jan (and my Mom, too!) found this a bit frustrating because I didn't really have an alternative. Note to self: have plan in place first before banning. In order to replace the need for paper towels, I put some old, ugly and stained dish towels under the sink to use for spills. I also bought a washable glass cleaning towel a while back to do windows with, so next time my Dad is here, he'll be ready to go :)
I have been thinking about buying cloth napkins for almost a year. I looked online and found some nice looking ones (at target.com I think). I just never got around to buying them because it was hard to tell how good the quality was online. Last week I found some at a local grocery store. I bought 4 to start (for only €3.99!) and they seemed to wash up well. Okay, if you are really serious about it, you'd have to iron them...luckily I'm not that crazy - hey, that's energy I'm saving! :) They are just a plain navy blue color. I bought a dark color in the hopes that they wouldn't show stains. I think they'll be a great everyday workhorse, maybe I'll get some fancier ones at some point for special occassions. When we were shopping yesterday, I picked up the last box of 4 they had - 8 should be good for a start.
As I said before, becoming "green" is a step by step process, but it always feels good to make progress!