Walking the talk. Or...toting the towel.

Using cloth towels in the bathroom and kitchen at home isn’t something I think twice about. It’s a habit.

At work, I use paper towels because they’re provided and therefore convenient.

But when a co-worker suggested bringing cloth towels to cut down on waste, I was intrigued by the idea.

I’ve learned in recent months through interviews with environmental educators and others dedicated to green behavior that being kind to the earth ultimately is a lifestyle change.

Take Scott Albin, a Washington State University Tri-Cities student who recently initiated a recycling program at the Kennewick Red Lion hotel where he works. He also tracked down some receptacles for recycling scrap paper on the WSU Tri-Cities campus.

I met with him on a recent Thursday and as he talked about the programs he started, he also mentioned the clothes he was wearing were from Value Village. He also rides the bus to school. And he drinks from a reusable Starbucks mug. Small actions, maybe, but they’re part of his belief in using fewer resources, which is both green both environmentally and economically.

So if I’m going to help my co-workers save resources and money, I need to lead by example. Even if that means confused sideways stares as I walk toward the bathroom with my bright red cloth towel.

Maybe toting a towel from home is asking too much, but I’m asking anyway.

BYOT. Bring your own towel.

Ingrid Stegemoeller is a business reporter for the Herald and appreciates the economic and environmental efficiency of living green.

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