Despite working in an eco-friendly building, my office’s restroom stocks paper towels instead of electric hand dryers. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s using something once and then throwing it away. To combat this issue, I brought a seemingly strange item to work: a favor from my sister-in-law’s wedding. It was originally intended as a lobster bib or a golf bag accessory but since we don’t regularly lobster or golf (and its way too cute to turn into a dust rag), it’s been sitting in my basement for about two years. Now it’s been repurposed now as my personal office hand towel.
I did the math to figure out how much paper I would save by making this easy switch. Excluding weekends, vacations, holidays and sick time, I work about 218 days per year. I visit the girls' room about four times per day and on each visit, I use two to three paper towels to dry my hands. We’ll call that ten paper towels per day and a grand total of 2,180 towels or 10.9 lbs per year (yep, definitely got busted weighing a small stack of them on the mail machine scale). That’s a sizeable house cat worth of paper products that I’m not consuming and not tossing into a land fill, where, as William Rathje, director of the Garbage Project found out, newspapers can actually take decades to decompose.
As you can see from the picture, my hand towel conveniently has a grommet and carabineer poked through the corner, which makes it perfect for hanging it on a bathroom stall hook. You don’t need either to make your own though. Simply snipping a hole with scissors and threading a lanyard or bit of string through would work just as well and save just as many trees.