Americans produce 195 tons of garbage a year. Paper towels are one of the many things that end up in that pile. A way to help reduce the amount of garbage created is to use less paper towels.
Save your old towels and t-shirts and use them as rags. Use these rags instead of paper towels as much as you can.
My parents were ahead of their time (or behind the times) because they always did this. We had a an entire cabinet in our basements of old towels and t-shirts. We used them to dust, wash the cars, clean up messes…etc. pretty much anything you can think of. My Mom had a separate laundry basket right next the cabinet to put the dirty ones in. She would wash them separately (sometimes with bleach if it had alot of stains on them).
Challenge: Put one roll of paper towels out in your kitchen and see how long you can make that last. As you use it think of all the things you are using them for and think about whether you could have done this with a rag.
Economic impact: Probably not alot of impact on the business world with this switch, maybe more companies will make unbleached paper towels.
Environmental impact: No creation of paper towels to waste natural resources, no pollution from the bleaching of the pulp to make it nice and white, no emissions from the transportation to your store from the factory, and reduces the use of landfill space when you throw them out.
Personal Financial Impact: Save money because you are using what you already have so there is no up-front cost to do this and you will buy much less paper towels.