As far back as I can remember, my parents had a "green" bent to their ways. As a child, I remember adding grass clippings to the compost heap in the back garden. After a year of it cooking, my father would turn it over, and use the previous year's pile to help fertilize the gardens. We grew veggies and flowers in great number and had a grape arbour that ran the length of our back yard, from the house to the alley. We even took cuttings of the grape stock with us when we moved to a bigger house with a much larger yard. *** We also took the compost heap to the new house!***
One of the other things my parents did was to use linen tea towels and napkins, instead of paper products. Since they traveled a lot, my mother would pick up linen towels at places they visited and we'd get mini-geography lessons about shires in the UK, cheeses in France and olives in Greece. I still keep that tradition today, although pure linen towels are more difficult to find.
Linen is great to dry dishes and glassware with because it doesn't leave lint behind. As you may know from wearing linen during the hot summer months, it's also very absorbent. Even dry, it retains about 6% to 8% moisture. The shine, or luminosity of linen is caused by the flax from which it is made. Many tea towels were made of Irish linen, and a lot of the ones you find today are made by Ulster Linens in New York. They have a lot of good information about caring for linens. (Wash them, they're tough!)
As I look through the tea towels I have right now, I find them from Windsor Castle, Sandringham in Norfolk where my auntie lives, and Manchester. I have two brand new vintage ones that I just found at a local thrift store for 50¢ each, one of which is pictures of silver teapots from the 1700's and 1800's and the other is the rooster above. They're in perfect condition. I can't wait to wash them and begin using them.