The Paper Towel Problem: Quick Switch #004

Original image by 4028mdk09 via Wikimedia Commons

I spent some time in the beautiful Asheville, NC last week and picked up this very simple and very quick switch that I just had to pass along. The tip came straight off a printout posted in the restroom at “The Hop” ice creamery near downtown. I wish I would have snapped a picture of it for you, but, um, there was ICE CREAM.

Today I called the fun folks who run the place and they happily texted one right over (how cool are they?!).

Photo courtesy of friends at The Hop!

This quick switch is so simple and it completely works—and I am utterly qualified to assure you of this point. Have you ever seen my hands? When I was born they marveled at the length of my fingers. I can palm a basketball and reach two keys past an octave on the piano. 

Chyea. I have always been a two-towel user.

Not anymore. 12 shakes and I am ready to pat dry. In one week alone I have saved approximately 28 paper towels.

Paper towels are not perfect, obviously. I wish they were not a thing, but we live in a world where sometimes it is either use the paper towel or drip dry…in a public bathroom (EWW). This simple little tip from my new friends at The Hop can help us squelch the unnecessary wasting of trees and energy.

And I am all for that.

Here are a few other tips on how to thwart the paper towel problem:

  • At home – Don’t even buy them! Save cash and ecological angst by barring disposable products from your home. Hand towels and kitchen cloths are luxuries meant to be used, and old t-shirts/sheets/towels are great for cleaning.
  • At work – If you spend most of your day in one place, consider stocking your office with fresh towels. In my last workplace I had a hook behind my door for a hand towel. I would take it with me to the restroom, return it to the hook after, and then tote it home for a wash at the end of the week.

Here’s a video of an adorable elder teaching the world how to "shake" and "fold."

Happy switching.