“Imma take your grandpa’s style, Imma take your grandpa’s style,
No for real, ask your grandpa, can I have his hand-me-downs?”
~ Macklemore, “Thrift Shop”
It all started on a cold, blustery day of trekking in the Himalayas.
Really, that’s where it started, and three years later I’m still doing this.
My nose was running constantly—cold and physical exertion are not a pretty combination for me—and the toilet paper I was packing was for, well, going to the toilet. My sleeves had hit their saturation point.
Yes, things were getting gross.
“Bring a bandana,” the packing instructions for my semester-long study (and trekking) program had said. “They come in handy for all kinds of things.”
Up until that day, the bandana I’d dutifully packed had been handy for exactly nothing. I think I’d wrapped it around my head once or twice.
But that all changed the day I finally overcame my irrational revulsion and began to use my bandana as a handkerchief.
It served me well the entire two weeks of the trek.
At first I thought it was a temporary solution in extreme circumstances, but here I am three years later, and I’ve never gone back to paper tissues (don’t worry, I’ve washed the bandana!).
Any square of fabric will do, though I’ve found the one dollar variety from your local pharmacy works just fine.
As anyone with seasonal allergies, or a bad cold, can tell you, a box of tissues goes fast. I don’t know exactly how much energy is expended to produce those tissues, or the average use per capita, but I’m sure it’s high.
Ditch the waste, and blow your nose like it’s 1699.
You can wash your handkerchief as often as you feel necessary, either by hand (take it into the shower with you, if you want to be especially efficient) or in the washing machine—I do both.
Once you get past the initial discomfort of carrying your “dirty tissues” with you, I think you’ll appreciate this environmentally-friendly, cost-effective system as much as I do.
Author: Toby Israel
Image: Olu Eletu/Unsplash