For about the last year, we have been pretty much paper towel free. Back when we were moving, we did buy some paper towels to help with cleaning up the old apartment (so we could get our full deposit back, which we did). Daniel used to always use tons of paper towels, and I thought it was always such a waste. I always hated going to Target to get household items (what JB calls household expendables), and tossing a pack of paper towels in the cart. Such a waste of money! They are expensive (when you add them up after time it's ridiculous to see how much is spent on stuff like that), and you might as well be wiping up spills with actual dollar bills. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating..but paper towels really bother me.
If I am at someone else's house, no problem. I can deal with paper towels, in fact sometimes I might even prefer to use them (especially if you don't trust if that towel in their bathroom is actually clean). Maybe I'm a little paranoid, maybe I'm crazy. Sure, I'm a hypocrite too, in a way..but back to my point..
Since we went for so long without using paper towels, once we got them during the move, Daniel got "hooked" again. He uses them all the time. We haven't bought anymore, we are down to one roll, and I don't plan on buying anymore. Daniel says he thinks we should keep using them, but I disagree. He doesn't realize how much they add up over time (since I'm the one usually shopping for the household expendables).
The main thing about paper towels is how bad for the environment they are..and contributing to our already overfilled landfills. It's a shame to use something just one time and toss it in the trash can..I feel guilty every time I do that.
I have always liked the idea of cloth napkins, placemats, etc. My mother-in-law Fayth has used them since I have known her (and way before then too..and she's also ALWAYS used reusable (canvas type) grocery bags, way before it ever became a fad a few years back). I found this blog today about cloth towels: http://www.fiberfarm.com/2010/07/going-paper-towel-free
Those towels are so cute and would be so easy to make and keep reusing. It would be a good idea to start using these, and I'll be able to take better care of our regular kitchen towels (since I have been using those instead of paper towels).
There's also green paper towels: http://letsgogreen.biz/pages/paper/papertowels.html
But I think I would rather just cut them out completely.