We’ve all seen the signs in public restrooms asking us to please not use more paper towels than we need. Of course, the best number to use is … none! But, when paper towels are our only option, how many do we really need to get the job done?

According to TEDxConcordiaUPortland speaker Joe Smith, in the United States we use 13 billion paper towels each year. And, if we were to cut our use by just one paper towel per person per day, we could save – are you ready for this? – 571,230,000 pounds of paper per year. Wow. Can we do it? Yes! Watch this fun 4-minute video by clicking on the image below:

One very sharp commenter on Joe’s video has taken his idea one step further, and created a sign that anyone can download and post in their public washroom. Girish Chavan wrote:

Such a simple idea. I am inspired by this and try to follow it whenever I can. However I notice that at times my muscle memory takes over I end up with more towels than I need. A reminder in the restroom would help not just me but also my fellow hand dryers. So I designed a flyer to communicate this idea and posted it in our work restroom. Some of my friends are doing the same thing. Please help spread the word. You can get the flyer at: http://www.girishchavan.net/articles/shakeandfold.html

Girish gets a Green Ninja thumbs-up for helping translate a great idea into action. Who’s got another idea to share? Tell us!

Bonus question: We didn’t always use paper towels. Who knows when we started using them and why?

Julie Noblitt
Green Ninja Team

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Comments on: "How to use a paper towel" (1)

  1. Very cool to get the Green Ninja thumbs up! As for the bonus question: my guess is that we started using paper towels after WWII, when the paper industry made a push to get its product into more than mainly newsprint. And if an industry can conspire to create a demand where there wasn’t one before, then we can certainly decide to no longer demand that product! Two thumbs up!

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