Tag Archives: reusable

Day 52: A little lesson on sustainability from Japan


Mount Fuji, Japan. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Yesterday when I was trawling through the Internet looking for another brave person that would endorse using a handkerchief instead of single-use tissues (by the way, I found her, and she’s amazing), I came across several little snipets and stories about the role of the handkerchief in Japanese culture. It would seem that the handkerchief in Japan is still in wide use, and what’s more, it’s out of practicity, not fashion! Continue reading


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Day 51: Use a handkerchief!

Remember those days when men used to walk around with a handkerchief in their pocket, with (perhaps) the sole purpose of lending it to women? If you go back even further, everyone had handkerchiefs – moms, dads, kids, dogs, even royalty. It was a thing.

It turns out that before Kleenex was around, people would use square-shaped cloths to blow their noses on, and then wash and reuse them (there were no washing machines either back then, so I suppose they tried to hang onto their handkerchiefs as long as possible). Nowadays, you could just throw a used handkerchief in the hamper without so much of a worry – it’s so small, it could fit into any load of clothes and not waste extra water or detergent.

So why have we stopped using the handkerchief?! Is it because we think it is “gross”? It’s no grosser than a tissue, really. Besides, you don’t have to reuse a handkerchief before you wash it  – you can keep a pack of them in your purse and use them one at a time, putting the used ones in another (reusable) baggy and only deal with them when it’s time for them to be washed. Want to know what I think is gross?


That. That is gross. The destruction of our beloved forests, animals, birds, wildlife – all gone – to make room for eucalyptus trees so that we can blow our noses on them.

And that is why the handkerchief went out of fashion. Kleenex was born, and all of a sudden, it was easier to buy boxes of Kleenex instead of keeping track of your hankies. Except that Kleenex needs wood pulp that have to come from somewhere, and that means killing trees for a business.



Sometimes, we need to go back in time to recuperate the good habits that we lost and adapt them to modern times. The handkerchief is one of those cases.

To save the rainforest, we need to crack down on our consumerist ways and show these businesses that we care. The first thing that needs to happen is for everyone to adopt more sustainable habits – then, these businesses will cease to exist, and eco-solutions will start to pop up. If the people care, then the businesses (and politicians, for that matter) will care too. So do your part – no more chopping down the rainforest (or Boreal forest, or any forest for that matter) for tissues! Check out DIY handkerchiefs made out of pillow cases, use bandanas, or get yourself a nice set that you’re sure to treasure for the years to come.


Doing my part – found a zippered baggy and some napkins. The napkin will likely be used as a hand-drying substitute (check out tomorrow’s post!) and not a handkerchief – I have yet to find a set of suitable handkerchiefs. How about you?




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