Why you shouldn’t use paper towels

March 02, 2016

Every year, the world discards about 254 million tons of paper towels—that’s more than 72 pounds per person. But unlike aluminum cans or even other types of paper products, paper towels can’t be recycled. It simply isn’t cost-effective to do so, given their relatively low fiber content.

Paper Towels Can’t Be Recycled!

So clearly these numbers can’t be sustained for much longer. It takes 17 trees to make 1 ton of paper towels, meaning we’d need to plant nearly 51,000 trees every single day to offset our paper towel production. An article in Green Lifestyle Magazine says, “deforestation is estimated to create 58.9 million tons of CO2 emissions in Australia per year … that’s the same as driving 14.4 million cars for a year.

What’s the Answer?

How should business owners handle this growing problem? Short of a broad, global solution, they should make individual, concerted efforts to eliminate paper towel waste as much as they possibly can.

Assuming your employees take an average of 5 trips to the restroom each week, they each use approximately 2,4000 paper towels a year. That means, for example, encouraging employees to limit their usage — here’s a great TED Talk about how to use only 1 towel. But we can’t rely on our employees and customers to self-ration. We have to explore other options.

  • Cloth napkins
  • Durable sponges
  • Rags / bar mop towels
  • Microfiber cloths

We have a solution!

At Australian Uniform Service, we’re proud to offer a cheap, clean and environmentally-friendly alternative to paper towels — 100% cotton cabinet towels. They’re dispensed from a durable, wall-mounted container, and completely reusable. When you’re done with a roll, we’ll come grab it, launder it, and return it to your business.

A few months ago, we discussed the hygienic benefits of cotton towels (they’re actually more effective in reducing bacteria than hand dryers), but they also have enormous environmental benefits. By installing cotton cabinet towels in lieu of traditional paper towels, you’ll eliminate a considerable amount of paper waste — without compromising on cleanliness or cost.