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Paper in the Kitchen - do we really need all these?

Butcher Paper
Freezer Paper
Wax Paper
Parchment Paper
Aluminum Foil
Paper Towels
Paper Napkins
Paper Plates/Bowls
Paper Grocery Bags

I currently have all of these except for the butcher paper & was thinking about getting some of it but it only comes in a big roll & shipping is pricey. Folks have been using the red butcher paper to smoke briskets in. It is FDA compliant so I guess it could be used for other things too. Do you have any good uses for it? Can it take the place of other paper products or is this just one of those "nice to have" items, but not really practical?

Actually, I am trying to cut down on all this paper clutter, but don't know where to start. Maybe if we went down the list & tried to make one item do multi tasks, some money could be saved & bulk be eliminated in the kitchen cabinets.

Which item do you consider essential & how does it do double duty for you? Which item do you rarely purchase?

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  1. I don't use butcher or freezer paper, nor paper plates/ bowls (never sturdy enough for me) or paper grocery bags. We use sturdy linen napkins, but I do use aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and I keep a roll of paper towels in the kitchen.

    1. I am not big on butcher paper or freezer paper, I use saran and/or foil for most things. Think they work better at sealing in the moisture and preventing freezer burn. Wax and parchment, yes, always in stock, you can count on needing when least expected.

      Foil, definitely: 12 inch regular, 18 inch regular and 18 inch heavy duty. Paper towels of course, but I do try to dry things with a terry towel as much as possible. Napkins yeah. Paper plates and bowls, only if I'm having a big, casual party (rare around here). Paper bags, I have plenty but hey, they're free. I am more into collecting the plastic ones, for use in the bathroom garbage and also kitty litter.

      8 Replies
      1. re: coll

        We're visiting Seattle right now and all stores charge a nickel for paper bags. It's not the money; it's that it makes you think. I'm hoping to finally start breaking myself of the habit of not taking bags with me.

        We use paper plates for, say, toast or a sandwich but we reuse them multiple times. Rarely use paper napkins but have on hand. Use kitchen towels as napkins. Have parchment, plastic wrap, wax paper and foil. Reuse foil regularly if it's not particularly befouled.

        1. re: c oliver

          Good post. My forays into Aldi for on-sale vegs and berries finally trained me to take my own bags. I got sick of shelling out 5 cents (or 10, I forget which) for cheapydeepy plastic.

          About foil...I need to be more mindful. My H will wrap a sandwich in five layers of it, as if he were concealing a brick of drugs or something to evade xrays, so I should counterbalance that!

          1. re: c oliver

            In San Francisco plastic grocery bags are banned and paper grocery bags require a separate fee.

            Now people bring in their own reusable bags to the store, and nobody thinks twice about it.

          2. re: coll

            Plastic bags for kitty litter? How do you use it? Maybe you are just saying you place the used kitty litter in a plastic bag?

            1. re: cstout

              Yes, sorry if it was unclear. To COLLECT used kitty litter. They tie up very nicely. Until recently we had three indoor cats (down to two now), and three pans (still), so I'm always scooping away.

              As of now, our local groceries have stopped giving their little discounts for bringing your own bags, and don't charge for theirs, so I might as well take advantage while I can. Paper is good for packing shipping cartons, or for hiding excess produce to put in neighbors mailboxes.How about draining fried foods, or shaking on the coating, not that I always do it that way. Also "Care Packages" of leftovers for dinner guests to take home. They also come in handy as a fine grain sandpaper, when the occasion calls for it and I'm out. I'm too old to use as jackets for school books unfortunately.

              1. re: coll

                Paper is good for......... for hiding excess produce to put in neighbors mailboxes.

                Thanks for the laugh!

                I also remember covering my books with brown paper bags. Do kids "these days" still do that?

            2. re: coll

              I also collect the plastic bags from the store for kitty litter.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                Same in our house. The "better" bags (from the liquor store) are saved for heavier duties and the grocery store ones are saved for litter clean up.

            3. I almost never use waxed paper anymore - I find that parchment works wherever I might have otherwise used waxed, and is much more useful overall. I don't have butcher paper or freezer paper either - I use plastic wrap, foil and/or plastic baggies for freezer items.

              13 Replies
              1. re: biondanonima

                I actually only keep wax pop ups, for when I make hot sandwiches for the road. Too many years in the deli business! I use them between the sandwich and the foil wrap to keep everything hot and juicy. The parchment I purchased in a case of 1,000 so I keep trying to think of new and better uses for it myself.

                Yes, forgot ziplock bags for the freezer too, for quick in and out items.

                1. re: coll

                  Parchment paper is neat to wrap those little loaf pans of breads to gift to someone.

                2. re: biondanonima

                  Wax paper is far more useful for rolling out dough than parchment.

                  1. re: ferret

                    That's true. Parchment doesn't become truly non-stick until it's heated.

                  2. re: biondanonima

                    One thing that any turophile knows (or should know) is that waxed paper is *the* thing you need to store cheese. It should never be put into a plastic bag. It should be wrapped in waxed paper and stored in the fridge.

                    I have no respect at all for any cheese shop that shrinkwraps cut cheese.

                    1. re: JonParker

                      That's a good point. Would parchment paper do as well?

                      1. re: c oliver

                        I would guess so, but while I've used it I haven't really tried it.

                        1. re: JonParker

                          Yes, parchment works well for cheese. So do paper towels.
                          I often wrap in a paper towel, then put that into a plastic bag'left open a crack.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            Wasn't going to fess up to this additional paper until you all starting talking about cheese, but: the miraculous cheese store in my little town sells Formaticum's cheese paper -- waxy inside, papery outside. You can get cut sheets, or bags.

                            It's what the store wraps its cheese in, but the extra comes in handy for repackaging big hunks of cheese that stays around longer (like Parm), and for making gifts of cheese.

                            1. re: ellabee

                              I bought a too expensive round of cheese some months ago and asked the best way to keep it the longest. She gave me four sheets of that paper. I cut the round in quarters, wrapped each in the cheese paper and then in waxed paper. It stayed perfectly for at least a month.

                            2. re: greygarious

                              You make an important point. Whatever you keep it in needs to be semi-permeable. Wrapping cheese in something airtight is never a good idea.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                We use parchment paper for cheese. Works great In fact that's our main use for it at this point. I bought a roll for Christmas baking at some point and it just sat and sat there, since we don't do that much baking, until we realized we could use it for cheese.

                                1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                  I have to get in the habit. I have enough parchment if I live to be 150!

                      2. I have waxed paper, parchment paper, aluminum foil, paper towels and paper plates and bowls.

                        I find parchment paper is extremely useful for baking (and other stuffs too). Aluminum foil is useful from time to time, but not always. Paper towel is very useful for cleaning up mess.

                        I did not find waxed paper to be very useful. I bought paper plates and bowls when I first moved in before my regular dishes get here. So it was very helpful for that short period of time, but I have never used them since.

                        <Which item do you consider essential.>

                        Paper towel and parchment paper are essential for me.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          I frequently grate cheese onto waxed paper if I don't already have a cutting board that's been gently used.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Waxed works for this, but so does parchment - why have both?

                              1. re: biondanonima

                                I don't know :) I know the parchment is much wider. And the waxed paper is more 'flexible.' I think I'm low on WP so I'll give parchment a test. Thanks.

                                1. re: biondanonima

                                  I used wax paper similarly for grated cheese, and for other items I am prepping. The wax paper is easily gathered up and the ingredients can be transferred to a bowl or pot.

                                  I also use wax paper over plates that are being reheated in the microwave to prevent splatters.

                                  I prefer wax paper for these type of tasks because it is a lot less expensive than parchment. You can often find it at the dollar store.

                                  1. re: pamf

                                    I have 3 rolls of wax paper in my house (I have no idea why) and I like the prep surface idea, a great way for me to use them.

                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                      Recycling in my town does not accept styrofoam. I wash the styrofoam trays from meat and produce, then give them a one-time use as a cutting board and to hold prepped ingredients. I've also used them as trays/plates for picnics.

                                  2. re: biondanonima

                                    "Waxed works for this, but so does parchment - why have both?"

                                    Because, at least here, waxed paper is a LOT cheaper than parchment. Although I did find a deal on parchment at Sam's Club recently.

                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                      I often grate cheese onto parchment. I used to use plastic wrap but it works better with parchment as it doesn't stick.

                                  3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    I use wax paper for lots of things. When baking, I sift my dry ingredients together onto wax paper. Then you can easily pick it up and pour into the mixer. I cover stuff in the microwave with wax paper. You can wrap a sandwich in it to take to work. My mother used to roll out pie crust on wax paper.

                                    I'd much rather use wax paper than plastic wrap. And, it's much cheaper than parchment paper

                                  4. Out of that list we have parchment paper, foil and paper grocery bags. We occasionally have paper towels for really dirty messes but there are more effective, more environmentally friendly alternatives that I prefer and I just can't stand having overstuffed kitchen drawers and all that paper clutter.

                                    I'm a big fan of cheap IKEA kitchen towels and cloth diapers are awesome cleaning rags. We also have lots of cool vintage cloth napkins.

                                    16 Replies
                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                      I just bought some Ikea kitchen towels for 79 cents IIRC.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Yup I use those... both the ones that come in the set for a few dollars (blue and white) and the .79 ones that are white with a red stripe.

                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                          I dump them in the washer with a scoop of Biz at night and let it agitate a bit, turn off the washer and let them soak overnight and finish the cycle in the morning. They look great and you can't beat the price!

                                          (I wish they had the blue and white styles in red instead. Blue doesn't work in my kitchen.)

                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                            Yeah I tend to use the red ones more cause they "go" better :) My best ones though are vintage reproduction flour sack towels I got at Target in 2003. They're pretty stained, but still very functional, and I love the embroidered designs on them... different vegetables, and little doll looking people with "dinner" or "lunch" printed on them. My grandmother had the real deal in her kitchen when I was growing up, wish I still had them.

                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                              Since I sell vintage patterns and sewing stuff I have kept many of the cute transfer patterns for kitchen towels over the years. I should ask my Mom to do some of them for me for my birthday and Christmas this year. She's both much more skilled with embroidery and much more patient than I am!

                                              I must have been snoozing in 2003, I never saw the ones Target had but they sound super cute!

                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                Flour sack towels are wonderful. I have been burned by buying a bundle of cheap ones online & after washing they shrank to half size & turned out like cheese cloth. Best to see in person & feel for heaviness.

                                                Mine are stained too but they are so absorbent & soft, just love them. Yes, a big bonus is to have the retro ones with embroidery on them.

                                              1. re: cstout

                                                www.acronymfinder.com As an old fogie, I am forever having to consult it.

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  Acronymfinder.com - have it bookmarked. I am lost half the time with this new abbreviated language. Thanks.

                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                              What do you use to clean up dirty messes if you don't use paper towels?

                                              1. re: cstout

                                                What do you consider dirty messes? Like I said, we occasionally have paper towels for really dirty messes but really most things can be cleaned up with cloth and then washed.

                                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                  I find kitchen towels really useful for drying my hands and wiping down counters, but for the occasional dribble or small spill paper towels are really useful.

                                                2. re: cstout

                                                  The dog.

                                                  J/K. I just use dish towels for most of them. If it's something like raw meat juice or something, I use a Clorox wipe.

                                                    1. re: cstout

                                                      For dribbles on the floor I have a Libman Freedom spray mop. Its cool because it has a tank that you can fill with any kind of cleaner you want to (I'm pretty chemical sensitive so this is a really nice feature for me.) It also has a reusable pad so you're not spending money on disposable stuff. I made a bunch of pads for it out of old towels and microfiber towels from the dollar store since their "refills" are too pricy to have a bunch of them. I made them pretty thick so I can flip it over and keep mopping instead of having to grab another one (the microfiber hangs onto the hooks on the bottom of the mop.) They all live in a basket on my laundry room shelves and get tossed in the laundry as they get dirty. It works really well for me.

                                                  1. The only thing I have on the list is paper towels. I ask for paper bags at the grocery store (rather than using my reusable bags) if I need to mail a package. Very handy. Otherwise, I just hate paper plates and never figured out the purpose of wax paper, parchment paper, etc.

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                      <parchment paper>

                                                      I find parchment paper to be very useful for baking -- as in baked goods, not baked chicken.

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        I don't do much baking, but you need it for en papillote. It's also great when I want to keep a baking sheet clean. When I cook meatloaf, I put parchment paper on a baking sheet, put a raised wire rack above that, and form the meatloaf on the rack.

                                                        I've never found a use for wax paper that parchment paper wasn't better for.

                                                        I'm not sure why aluminum foil is on the list but plastic wrap isn't, since neither of them are paper. I used to hate using plastic wrap because it was so hard to handle until I read that if you keep it in the freezer it's much easier to deal with. It really works.

                                                        No paper plates or bowls, use paper towels often and paper napkins for everyday use.

                                                        1. re: JonParker

                                                          Oh I forgot about plastic wrap. I use that or Press N Seal when I'm marinating something in a pyrex dish.

                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                            Try keeping it in the freezer. It doesn't start sticking to itself the second it comes off the roll. It's amazing what a great tip that is. I forget where I read it -- CI maybe? I dunno. But I keep my glad wrap in the refrigerator freezer now, and it's tons easier to use.

                                                            1. re: JonParker

                                                              Doesn't need the freezer - the fridge will do the trick. I have posted this to CH before. A friend clued me in but she doesn't know how she first learned it.

                                                            2. re: juliejulez

                                                              Press N Seal - read that you can line the fridge racks with it to help keep them clean. I have never seen it in the stores so don't know if this would work.

                                                              1. re: cstout

                                                                It probably would, I've seen that too but have never tried it.

                                                            3. re: JonParker

                                                              Aluminum foil really should not have been included but I just started naming all the stuff that keeps falling off the shelf when I go to look for something. Might as well put plastic wrap in the mix too since I messed up. Glad to hear about freezing it.

                                                        2. Hmm from that list I regularly use foil and paper towels. I guess I could do without the paper towels but I really use them a lot when reheating things in the microwave, I cover whatever container goes in there with a towel. As I'm alone during the week, I do a lot of microwave reheating. I do try to buy the towels that tear off in smaller sizes though, so I can just tear off the amount I need vs wasting a large one.

                                                          I do have paper plates and napkins in the basement, but I only use those for when we have a large informal gathering, or if we go camping or something.

                                                          Have a few paper grocery bags but I usually use my reusable ones so I don't have tons of them. I do have some plastic ones from when I forget my reusable ones, I use them to line the wastebaskets in the bathrooms.

                                                          I use freezer ziplocs for freezing things.

                                                          1. I have just found some kitchen towels on Amazon at a great price. These possibly could be used instead of paper napkins. Everyone just seems to gravitate toward a paper napkin or paper towel though. Hard habit to break.


                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: cstout

                                                              I like kitchen towels, but sometime it is just nicer to use paper towel when I don't want to worry about contamination.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                Yep, paper towels are a pretty hard thing to do without in the kitchen. I use them more than anything else just to wipe up spills from counter tops & floors.

                                                                Wet ones are especially good to wipe up spilled coffee grounds & sugar.

                                                            2. Paper towels for cleanup, aluminum foil and parchment paper for cooking, plastic wrap and bags for storage. Wax paper can be useful in the kitchen, though I haven't kept any for years. The rest only comes into the kitchen when I come back from the food store or take-out, if then (I have my own grocery bags but don't always remember to take them), and I throw it out.

                                                              1. Paper bags yes, I use them to collect my recyclables. No paper bowls, paper plates to use in the microwave, we use cloth napkins, paper towels yes, but most often use the microfiber cloth wipes, foil yes the non-stick kind, very handy, wax paper occasionally, no freezer or butcher paper.

                                                                1. There are differing opinions/studies on the relative environmental impact of laundering napkins and towels vs. using paper ones. Not so sure about paper plates, either, but they just seem wrong to me. I'd rather line a pan with parchment than wash it, though there's the environmental question there, too. No use for butcher paper, and parchment does everything wax paper does, but better, IMO. Freezer paper is a holdover from a pre-plastic baggie world. It's useful in quilting and other craft sewing, though.
                                                                  I keep a couple of brown paper bags around for wrapping parcels and making crafting templates but use woven totes for shopping.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                    Agree. There are so many variables. But at least most of us are thinking about it which hasn't always been the case.

                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                      OK, you have convinced me I really don't need the butcher paper at all. Can't remember the last time I used the freezer paper. That's two less things I need to replace.

                                                                      I used to use those cheap paper plates as garbage holders when chopping or peeling, but never remember to get one out, so they just languish in there with the other paper products. Remember those wicker plates that held the cheap paper plates?? What a hoot.

                                                                      I just have to hoard those brown paper grocery bags though. Got to be a million ways to use those.

                                                                    2. No, you don't "need" most of those items.
                                                                      I had lived in a studio apt in new york city with a tiny kitchen for nearly 15yrs now.
                                                                      Storage is not an option so i only keep the essentials on hand.
                                                                      No paper plates/bowls/etc. i either use tupperware or real plates. I use paper towels for cleaning super gross stuff, otherwise sponges and kitchen towels.
                                                                      No parchment/wax/butcher paper, one roll aluminum foil, and one roll of saran wrap
                                                                      Cloth napkins or small kicthen towels.
                                                                      I usually bring enough of my own bags and on the rare occassion i get paper bags (most nyc stores only offer plastic bags because nyc is in the dark ages with environmental responsibility) i re-use the paper bags for my paper recycling.

                                                                      1. I don't buy paper towels or napkins. I use cloth for both. For "icky" messes I just use a towel once, then throw it in the wash. Maybe follow up with a second towel and spray. I add them to the regular laundry.

                                                                        1. I have parchment paper which I use sparingly, cling wrap and aluminum foil for various applications, one roll of paper towels near the sink but only for emergency things.

                                                                          1. We have the select a size paper towels (i find I never need two, which would be the equivalent of a normal sized paper towel. I always need 1 or 3). Waxed paper, parchment paper, saran wrap (though it almost never gets used), pop up foil sheets that normally only get used to line the toaster oven pan (fits perfectly)when I bake fish sticks for fish tacos and quart and gallon sized freezer and storage bags. Those don't get used very often either as we mostly use the pyrex storage ware for leftovers or batch cooking stuff. We've done a good job of shifting almost entirely to reusable grocery bags and use a grocery delivery service that only ever has some produce bags involved...everything else comes in big plastic tubs that we return to them on the next delivery.

                                                                            Here are my thoughts: get silicone baking sheets to replace parchment paper. Skip the butcher and freezer paper entirely. I think as you wondered, they're both nice to have but not necessary. Swap reusable bags for paper grocery sacks.

                                                                            What do you use the foil for? And why paper plates and bowls?

                                                                            1. Probably 90% of the time I use kitchen towels instead of papertowels. We don't have any napkins, paper plates or bowls and recycle the paper grocery bags. I do have a stock of parchment paper for baking purposes as well as wrapping cheese, aluminum foil, and freezer paper. I use freezer paper to freeze nearly anything I put in the freezer. I probably wouldn't do without the above items.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                Would you say that freezer paper is just as good as those food sealer machines?

                                                                                1. re: cstout

                                                                                  I've never used a vacuum sealer but I use freezer paper triple-wrapped with foil and plastic wrap and it works quite well.

                                                                                  1. re: cstout

                                                                                    A food sealer sucks out the air. Air turns into frost and causes freezer burn. The closest next thing is to use a straw to suck the air out of a ziplock freezer bag as you are sealing it.

                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                      I have a FoodSaver and use it regularly. I've found however that I don't need to use it for burgers that I grind, form and freeze. I wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then multiples go in a zipping bag. It might take several months to eat and the color remains bright and no freezer burn.

                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                        Plastic wrap makes contact with much of the food its wrapped around, similar to vacuum sealing, so that's a good thing. Anything that prevents the food from being surrounded by air while freezing is good. Plastic wrap, as you say, needs to be auqmented by a ziplock because it is so thin.

                                                                                2. I have silicone mats for baking cookies. My mother always used waxed paper, and I had too many cookies in my time that had chewy bits of paper stuck to the bottom!
                                                                                  We use linen napkins, no paper. And cloth towels, but we have paper, too. I'm still trying to train DH to not rip off a wad of paper just to dry the countertop.
                                                                                  Don't have butcher or freezer paper. We have two sizes of plastic microwave domes to cover plates for reheating, so no waxed paper or towels there.
                                                                                  I don't know the last time I used paper plates. Never for entertaining, and though we use our recycling bin religiously, I don't need to add more than necessary to the recyclables. I recycle the foil, too.
                                                                                  We have a half dozen reusable grocery bags in each car at all times, so we don't always take home plastic. Half the plastic ones go back to the store's recycle bin, and the rest are used for Kitty litter. I wish there was a better option, there that would degrade in the landfill.

                                                                                  1. We don't use butcher, freezer, wax or parchment papers and we never use paper plates or bowls. We get paper bags at the grocery store when we can because we put our recyclables in paper bags. Plastic bags are used in bathroom waste baskets. We never have paper napkins and we use about a roll or two of paper towels a month.

                                                                                    I have an enormous collection of IKEA's Tekla towels. We use them for everything. I probably have 100 of them. We use them for napkins and general messes and clean up. Our laundry is in a closet attached to our kitchen and I keep a reusable grocery bag on a hanger and I wash towels every couple of days. From the list, I use only tin foil and grocery bags and the occasional paper towel. It's been very easy for us, I used to use SO MANY paper towels and it's just so wasteful and unnecessary. We don't freeze much and when I do, I use our vacuum sealer. We also don't use plastic baggies often, we use a reusable variety for my husbands lunches. I keep a few gallon size bags for marinating, but I also think plastic accumulation can be an issue in some kitchens.

                                                                                    1. I only have foil, baking paper and paper towels. Never needed anything else.

                                                                                      1. I have

                                                                                        [no butcher]
                                                                                        [no freezer]
                                                                                        paper towels
                                                                                        cloth napkins for everyday (and nice ones too)
                                                                                        [no paper plates or bowls]
                                                                                        paper grocery bags I take to a couple different places that reuse them; also use to recycle paper from my shredder

                                                                                        I buy a couple rolls of paper towels a year; mostly use rags. Rarely use foil, parchment, or wax paper. I do use ziplock bags for some storage, otherwise use vintage refrigerator dishes, mostly glass, some enamel.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                            I was just looking at ziplock glass containers & thinking about buying a couple since I heard glass keeps things colder In the fridge. Of course they had some kind of fancy plastic top that you press & then locks on. Always has to have that plastic element somewhere!

                                                                                            So happy for you to have those fridge dishes. Now I want to find some.

                                                                                            1. re: cstout

                                                                                              I'm not a big fan of the lids on the Ziploc line, but the silicone lids on Corning (Pyrex) and Anchor-Hocking containers are nice and simple, and more stackable than all-glass containers.

                                                                                        1. Butcher Paper - yes but only because it came on the cast iron holder that we purchased at an auction. Occasionally we will roll of an epic amount for family drawing fun. (we have a 7yo)

                                                                                          Freezer Paper - no

                                                                                          Wax Paper - yes and I have no idea how it came into the house. I have been trying to use it by wrapping the occasional sandwich.

                                                                                          Parchment Paper - yes, for super messy things like making candied nuts in the oven.

                                                                                          Aluminum Foil - yes but it is rare that I use it. When we bought our cottage, we inherited a restaurant sized roll (it is huge) that is so thick, the foil makes a delightful "wooping" sound (think sheet metal flexing) when unrolled. By the looks of the packaging, I suspect it is circa 1970s.

                                                                                          Paper Towels - hidden, otherwise Mr. CB will tear them off the roll at an budget alarming rate. I can hear the dollar bills screaming when he gets his hands on a roll. I have big stacks of bar towels for general use.

                                                                                          Paper Napkins - yes

                                                                                          Paper Plates/Bowls - no but I will buy them for certain gatherings.

                                                                                          Paper Grocery Bags - no, sadly our local store is incredibly stingy with paper.

                                                                                          1. Essentials: aluminum foil, zip-lock bags, plastic wrap (though I'm using a lot less of it now that there's a full complement of glass fridge containers).

                                                                                            Parchment paper is nice to have, but I could live without it. I use wax paper only for rolling out pastry dough (yeah, yeah, I'm doing it wrong), but that's maybe twice a year; the roll here will probably outlive me at this rate.

                                                                                            No paper plates, bowls, or napkins, or grocery bags -- use reusable equivalents for all those.

                                                                                            But I would give up a lot of kitchen conveniences before I'd give up paper towels. Bar mop cloths and side towels have helped me cut down significantly, but there are still a thousand little jobs for which paper towels are the ticket.

                                                                                            1. Use regularly:
                                                                                              *Pop up foil for toaster oven pan liners, wrapping sticks of butter, outer wrapping small leftovers for freezer.
                                                                                              *Heavy duty foil for lining 1/2 sheet pans for roasting vegetables.
                                                                                              *Wax paper for sandwich wrap and microwaving
                                                                                              *Select-a-size paper towels for small cleanups and napkins (non-company)
                                                                                              *Ziplock bags used primarily for non-food storage and travel.
                                                                                              *Paper grocery bags for recycling

                                                                                              Stored in the basement for occasional use:
                                                                                              *Plastic wrap
                                                                                              *Paper plates/bowls
                                                                                              *Brown paper lunch bags (for ripening fruit)

                                                                                              No longer stock:
                                                                                              *Freezer paper (replaced with foil)
                                                                                              *Parchment paper (replaced with Silpats)
                                                                                              *Paper napkins (replaced with select-a-size paper towel)

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                Brown paper lunch bags - also good for storing onions in fridge.

                                                                                                Silpats - will they get the bottom of no knead bread & pizza dough crispy & brown?

                                                                                                1. re: cstout

                                                                                                  I thought onions weren't supposed to be stored in the fridge.

                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                    There have been threads about refrigerating onions and potatoes. Many of us do so, without detriment, together in the crisper. No sprouting of either, and no crying when you prep onions that are cold.

                                                                                                  2. re: cstout

                                                                                                    I hate my silpat. It has to be washed each time and still you can see, and feel, the tacky areas that remain where the cookies touched the silicone. With parchment, when you want to get the finished baked good off the pan and onto a rack, you just lift the sheet onto the rack. Try to lift a silpat and the cookies fall off before you even have a chance to
                                                                                                    *try* to slide them onto the cooling rack (and good luck trying!).

                                                                                                2. interesting topic! I jut did a mental recap and the only "paper" we have in our kitchen are paper towels and chlorox wipes.

                                                                                                  Grew up with cloth napkins and cleaning rags though I have used paper napkins/plates for my sons' b-day parties when he was small. Never understood the waste of paper napkins/plates for everyday use.

                                                                                                  Replaced paper shopping bags with cloth ones back in the late '80s.

                                                                                                  Replaced wax paper bags with plastic and then tupperware/glassware containers over the past 10-15 years.

                                                                                                  I do have roll of tinfoil but rarely use it. I do use my stretch-tite quite often

                                                                                                  Replaced parchment paper with silpats probably 10 years ago too.

                                                                                                  Never used butcher paper.

                                                                                                  1. i use all of those except the butcher paper and the freezer paper: plastic bags have taken the place of butcher paper and freezer paper in my household.

                                                                                                    the paper plates are often used to cover foods during microwaving.

                                                                                                    1. I have/use all of those except for butcher paper. And to that list I'd add heavy-duty aluminum foil, non-stick aluminum foil, large-size heavy-duty foil and large-size plastic wrap.

                                                                                                      1. We probably don't need all of these, but I sure enjoy the convenience of most of them. I use everything on this list except for the butcher and freezer paper, and add ziplock bags to the list for me, as well. I line all my baking sheets with parchment paper almost every time. I like the ease of clean up. I use my wax paper probably the least out of everything on this list, since its mostly only when I'm rolling out dough, which isn't all that frequently for me.

                                                                                                        1. Butcher Paper - don't own
                                                                                                          Freezer Paper - don't own, and never heard of!
                                                                                                          Wax Paper - have a roll that I bought in 2001
                                                                                                          Parchment Paper, last box lasted three years, but sometimes this is the only thing to use
                                                                                                          Aluminum Foil - have two rolls. one heavy duty. one not. Hardly use ever, but again, when that is what is called for, only it will do.
                                                                                                          Paper Towels - only use to "dry" meat, otherwise I use a dish towel
                                                                                                          Paper Napkins - bought in 2005 for a graduation party. They are in the party box
                                                                                                          Paper Plates/Bowls - same as above
                                                                                                          Paper Grocery Bags - the farm I go to uses these. I keep them for newspaper recycling.

                                                                                                          Plastic Grocery Bags - really don't use these. Always try to remember to bring bags with me
                                                                                                          Plastic Veggie Bags - yes. Reuse until something sticks. Recycling these little suckers is hard. Took them 20 miles away once to the only place that accepts

                                                                                                          Dish Towels sub for so many things... I use them to drain veggies, squeeze water out of spinach, dry hands, clean the counters, oh, and dry dishes. The trick is to have a lot of them so you don't have to do laundry every day.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                            Re dish towels, we use those for napkins when it's just us.

                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                              I have inherited more darn cotton napkins than I can count. It is a curse to be known as the "linen" cousin.

                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                If wishes were horses beggars would ride :)

                                                                                                          2. I have everything on your list except butcher paper... fairly similar to freezer paper, right!?! I HATE wrestling with plastic wrap, but have it just the same. Parchment for baking on and lining baking pans whenever possible... like for pound cake or brownies. Wax paper for wrapping said pound cake after cooled or in containers of cookies to stop crushing... much less expensive, tho maybe not as "pretty" as parchment. For past few weeks I've opted for paper bags at supermarket... used to collect newspapers and other paper stuff till full and put in recycle cart. Most times I use plastic bags... good to have when scooping cat box. My county is going to single stream recycling starting 9/1 and those bags will be a NO NO... seems they mess up equipment that shreds up plastic stuff.

                                                                                                            i do use paper towels/napkins and plates. Have a BIG pile of cloth napkins (most linen) that I started collecting... dirt cheap at yard sales, but just can't bring myself to use them for whiping up around kitchen. They're all white or off-white and would be a stained mess in no time if used for anything other than DINING which doesn't really happen around here.

                                                                                                            I'm down to about 1/2 inch of what I call "hoagie" paper... beige newsprint. Bought a box YEARS ago to use in school. Got it at a restaurant supply place for relatively cheap... maybe $15-20 for 1000 sheets and heavy as HELL!! Needed 2-3 BIG 8th grade boys to haul it in from my car.

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: kseiverd

                                                                                                              The first time I had to pick up the heavy (clay) pizza boxes at the local Italian supplier, I almost broke my back taking it off the five foot tall platform. What a surprise! Paper isn't always a lightweight item.

                                                                                                              1. re: kseiverd

                                                                                                                "Have a BIG pile of cloth napkins (most linen) that I started collecting... dirt cheap at yard sales, but just can't bring myself to use them..."

                                                                                                                Once you start using these beauties you can never go back! Well used/washed linen is soooo much nicer than paper.

                                                                                                                My motto is to use these lovelies and enjoy them NOW.
                                                                                                                It is kind of sad to see all the un-used linen hitting the auction/yard-sale/thrift store market. (Meanwhile their paper counterparts are filling up the landfills...)

                                                                                                                1. re: kseiverd

                                                                                                                  I too have a bunch of cloth napkins & I place 2 at a time on the oven handles & use them for hand wipes instead of paper towels. Has sure helped to cut down on paper towel use.

                                                                                                                  I ask for paper sacks instead of plastic. They are making the plastic bags so flimsy that they break & I have a mess. Seems like I can always find a way to use a brown sack. I place several sacks into one sack for storage.

                                                                                                                2. Paper kitchen towels.

                                                                                                                  Foil paper, and cling wrap on a roll-out dispenser.

                                                                                                                  No parchment, no freezer wrap, no butcher paper, no paper plates, no paper bowls, and no waxed paper.

                                                                                                                  Napkins, in an antique chest, and sandwich and zip bags in the pantry.

                                                                                                                  No more.

                                                                                                                  1. be surprised as how valuable parchment paper is, once using them you will see that always every thing in the kitchen goes with parchment paper, here is a quote from our chef: what do you do when your kid starts eating an ice cream pop but decides to finish it the next day, how do you put it back in the freezer? using the old wrap wont work, it will be very hard to remove once breezed, simply wrap it with parchment paper it will come off as a glove...
                                                                                                                    for the real genuine vegetable parchment paper visit www.cheflebon.com