When people use the bathroom at their own house, they use a cotton towel to dry their hands after washing them. Once the towel is dirty, they wash it and reuse it. Zero waste. However, this is usually isn’t the case in public places. At restaurants, libraries, café’s, etc. There, we use paper towels to dry our hands. But in my opinion, using paper towels to dry your hands is unnecessary wasteful. Here’s why I don’t use these paper towels in public bathrooms.
Using paper towels in public bathrooms to dry your hands is stupid if you’d ask me. (Recycled) paper is made out of trees. Right now, we need all the trees that are on this earth to take up CO2 and avoid a total climate catastrophe. Cutting trees down is not very helpful for that. I understand that trees are a renewable resource, you can plant new ones, but right now we don’t have the luxury to cut down trees. The more trees we have right now, the faster we combat the climate crisis.
But maybe even more important: why make something if you don’t have to? Like I said, paper is a renewable resource, yes. But I feel that if we can avoid using something, that saves us all time, money and resources. Why go through a whole process of making a product and invest our valuable time if we have simple alternatives? Simple is better if you’d ask me. We can cut out the whole process of cutting trees, making paper from it, shipping the paper, using the paper, recycling the paper, etc. I think we can use the resources and time better.
Of course I understand why we don’t use reusable towels at public places like we do at home. It’s not very hygienic and there’s the risk of people taking them home. I wouldn’t vow for restaurants and other public places using reusable towels for people to dry their hands. But I do think there are better solutions out there than paper towels. Other options which are hygienic too.
The best alternative I’ve seen to paper towels is a blow-dryer. Instead of using paper, you are using energy to dry your hands. Some sinks even have the blow-dryer built into the tap. I am aware that this option is not entirely waste-free, as we do need energy for it. We can use renewable energy, which is amazing. But renewable energy is not 100% waste-free yet either. Not 100% of solar panels or wind mills can be recycled yet. I however believe that this will be the case in the future, making air-dryers entirely waste-free if we make the product itself 100% recyclable too.
Avoiding paper towels
The situation I described above is the ideal situation if you’d ask me. Every public bathroom should have a blow-dryer and no more paper towels. However, we’re not there yet. Until this is the case, I don’t use paper towels in public bathrooms. It’s a very simple habit. Instead of grabbing a few paper towels, I use my wet hands to style my hair while I’m in front of the mirror. When that doesn’t dry my hands entirely, I just use my clothing to dry my hands. In the end, it’s water. And rubbing a little bit of water on your pants will dry eventually. Meanwhile you’re saving a lot of paper, and therefore trees.
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