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Home, Garden and Planet

Rebecca Blackburn on the trials, and triumphs of being green around the home.

Are serviettes the new plastic bag?


Credit: Phil Dooely

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Today I had breakfast at a café – and they gave us seven serviettes!

My partner and I had a delicious breakie of two pots of tea, bruschetta, a muffin and raisin toast. But why seven paper serviettes?

I hesitate to bring this up, because wasting serviettes it hardly the worst eco-sin. Yet while I’m a big believer in focusing on the big environmental issues such as eating less beef but I find it hard to accept needless waste!

It takes a lot of resources to make paper it takes around 2.2 litres of water and 0.013 kWh of energy to make one napkin. When you multiply that by the millions of excess serviettes tossed around it’s a problem.

Maybe one serviette per person is ok – but the one that really annoys me is the serviette under a teacup or muffin. Why do they do that? You can’t even use the serviette because it usually gets a soiled by few drops of tea or sticky cake.

I don’t think the café meant to be wasteful. It even sold some organic food so presumably they had some interest in environmental issues. I just think they hadn’t thought it through.

What are your thoughts? Should we ask cafes to stop giving us so many serviettes?