Mary Wallace of People Towels with paper towel waste.
The average person uses 2,400 – 3,000 paper towels at work, in a given year
(Image: People Towels)
When you go to a public restroom, does it ever bother you when paper towels are tossed on the floor? Or, when someone leaves the water running? Or, even worse, doesn’t flush? Does it bother you that the business is using paper towels to begin with?
Do you do anything about it?
When I find paper towels on the floor of a restroom, I pick them up and put them in the trash can/rubbish bin…before I wash my hands. Then, after I wash my hands, I use my paper towel to wipe down the counter and then throw my paper towel in the trash can/rubbish bin. I did this once at a restaurant in Australia when we were living there. I think I embarrassed my girlfriend, but I probably spent thirty seconds picking up what must have been 20+ towels off the floor and putting them where they belonged. I said to her “I always try to leave a space better than I found it.”
If the water is left running, I turn off the tap. Clean water is a precious resource that most of us take for granted. In many countries, people have to walk miles to retrieve clean drinking water. Appreciating how fortunate we are by not wasting our natural resources will make them last longer.
When the toilet hasn’t been flushed, I use my foot to flush it. If too much waste builds up in a toilet, it causes clogging issues and then businesses have to call in professional plumbers who may have to use harsh chemicals to clear the clog.
This attitude could propagate out to other areas of our lives. For instance, pretty much every day, I pick up litter on the way to drop off my daughter at school. Doing this makes the walk more pleasant because “it doesn’t belong” there…it belongs in a trash can/rubbish bin/recycle bin.
SustainableThree Ways You Can Make a Difference:
- If you visit a restroom with paper towels, take the time to put ones thrown on the floor into the receptacle.
- Wipe down counters, turn off running faucets, flush toilets.
- Even better, if the business uses paper towels, make a request to their owner/manager that they install sensor dryers that automatically release air if you put your hands in front of the sensor, but doesn’t waste energy at other times.
“Although contradictory claims abound on this topic, a 2007 life cycle analysis by the Climate Conservancy found that using a hand dryer produces fewer climate-changing greenhouse gases than using paper towels.” ~”Cloth vs. paper vs. dryers: How to be clean and green when you wipe your hands” (By, Tom Watson, Pacific NW Magazine, The Seattle Times,
BONUS: Tweet this! https://twitter.com/SustainThree/status/702576748907528192
There are other options to using paper towels or air dryers. Here are a few:
Here’s a great little article:
More details on the topic: