What is the cost difference between using cloth and paper napkins? The cost is not that much different!
- Diners use an average of 2.5 paper napkins per meal at an average cost of $0.015 per napkin.
- Many restaurants use paper napkins that can cost up to $0.03 or $0.04 cent per napkin.
- Diners use an average of 1 cloth napkin per meal at an average cost of $0.07 per rental.
- At these costs, the restaurant could save up to $0.005 per meal renting cloth napkins.
- $0.03 x 2.5 paper napkins x 5000 meals = $375 paper cost
- $0.07 x 1 cloth napkin x 5000 meals = $350 cloth rental (That’s $25 in savings!)
- Paper products accounted for over 28% of all trash sent to the landfills–textiles was less than 1%.
- The US uses over 160 billion paper napkins annually!
- This adds up to 4 billion pounds of paper waste
- The EPA recommends that restaurants utilize “reusable utensils, dinnerware, napkins and placemats” as a key tactic for Source Reduction.
- Signature napkins can be used 70+ times!
- Most laundries were “green” before it was cool!
- Laundries participating in TRSA’s ESP program have
- decreased water usage by 39%
- decreased energy usage by 29%
- decreased their carbon footprint by 29%
Aesthetic Factors of Cloth Napkins
- 78% of surveyed diners preferred cloth napkins compared to 5% preferring paper and 17% with no preference.
- 93% of surveyed diners noticed if the napkins were cloth or paper.
- The image-enhancing benefits of cloth to the restaurant:
- Cloth does not come apart in their customers’ hands
- Cloth does not stick to the customers’ fingers
- Cloth provides better protection to the customers’ clothing
- One napkin is usually enough
The “Yuck” Factor
- Bacteria is present and in some cases in excessive amounts on bare tables.
- In comparison, table cloths provide up to a 24x cleaner surface than bare tables!
(Sources: EPA, NRA, TRSA, Cafe Napkin Study Dando/1994.)