It’s Not About Convenience

Fair warning: This article talks about boogers. Lots, and lots of boogers.

Of course, the morning of Christmas Eve I wake up and I can’t breathe. My nose is plugged, my throat is sore, and my head is pounding. Today is Day 1 of 3 of my holidays. That’s all I get. I can’t waste it wallowing in self-pity.

This brings me to today’s topic. Kleenex.

In the past, when sick, I walk around carrying a roll of toilet paper to blow my nose with. If I would remember, I would throw those booger rags into the compost. This time last year, I was working in a restaurant and I saw a garbage truck drive by with the perfect advertisement. “Have a man cold? Compost that Kleenex!” Or something along those lines. It had a picture of a man with watery eyes and red nose on the truck. I laughed. It was perfect. We all know someone who becomes a giant toddler when sick. I already have a toddler at home, I don’t have the patience for two. No thanks.

Anyways, if I would remember, I would compost my snot rags. Most of the time though, they went in the garbage. I’m not going to spend time hating myself over that decision. Today I am trying to break that habit of being so incredibly wasteful. Kleenex is convenient. It’s there when my nose gets full. It’s easy to discard and forget about. The Earth deserves better though. We cut down trees and just toss their by-products away without thinking twice.

My solution? Cloth handkerchiefs. It being Christmas Eve and my cranky mailman complaining that he has the weekend off but Wednesday he will be bombarded with packages to deliver, I know there is no point placing an order today.  I am trying to wean myself off another convenience that is Amazon. They package everything in so much waste, it’s not worth it. So currently in my cart on the website Life Without Plastic I have a four pack of cotton tissues. I am tempted to get another pack, but I have to remind myself of my choice of minimalism. You don’t need more, wash them regularly and you will be fine.

While I wait to place that order, I have been carrying around a hand towel (and hiding that towel from my son who thinks it’s a game to steal Mommy’s rag). That will be my tissue for the day. At the end of the night I’ll toss it into the dirty laundry bin and select a new one for the next day. Not only will I be saving my nose from chaffing, saving the environment from buying yet another bulk box of tissues, but also saving money!

You don’t think about how much we spend in tissues a year. In my research it was impossible to find an up to date source as to how much Kleenex a family uses or how much the average family spends on Kleenex a year. What I did find was that the Kimberly Clark Company, the company who makes the brand name Kleenex, made $21 million dollars in revenue (the total amount of money the company made before deductions and paying their employees, etc.) and $1.25 million in profits after it was all said and done [source]. That was in 2015 alone. I don’t want to think about inflation in the past two years and how much they’ve made since. That’s too much. It makes me want to cry when I think of the trees wasted. This considering today I learned that as of 2015 we cut down 15 BILLION trees each year [source].

So yes, my 4 pack of reusable cotton tissues might cost $19.95 CAD +tax. It might be gross and inconvenient to carry around a hanky to blow my nose into. Yet, if I wash them nightly, just think about how much money I’ll save this year and for the rest of my life, my “husband’s” life, and my son’s. It could really make a difference, especially if the trend catches on.


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