Do You Love Paper Towels?
IF THESE NUMBERS ARE RIGHT...
13 billion pounds. That is the amount of paper towels used each year in the United States of America, which is the equivalent of 80 rolls - per person, per year. (That's one roll every four and a half days for every man, woman and child).
That is a lot. Like a ridiculous amount right?
Sounds like love to me.
It gets better, well actually worse, much worse. Producing all of those paper towels consumes a lot of resources, including about 110 million trees per year and about 130 billion gallons of water per year. Then you have to get the paper towels from the factory to the store, which pumps a bunch of carbon dioxide into the air.
We aren't done with our paper towel yet. After a single use, it goes into the landfill, estimates put it at 3,000 tons annually - where it generates methane as it decomposes. So one paper towel, two greenhouse gases. Yikes!
HOW DID WE GET HERE
It is actually kind of a mystery. Seriously, no one really knows, but the origin story of paper towels is eerily similar to our current global situation.
There is not one clear story about where or when paper towels were invented.
There are actually two competing folk tales. The stories take place around the same time, the early 1900's. At the time the public was concerned about a pandemic of their own, the Spanish Flu.
The first of our tales is about William E Corbin. Born in 1869, William went to work in a paper mill for the Brown company. In 1919, Mr Corbin, along with two others started to experiment with different paper making techniques.
Corbin must have won an early 20th century version of paper, rock, scissors. As he won the naming rights to the product they invented. "NIBROC" or Corbin spelled backwards was officially introduced in 1922. Some people believe this was the first commercial paper towel available.
The others believe another tale.
This tale takes place around the same time, but involves different players. The name might sound familiar. The Scott Paper Company is said to have created disposable paper towels when they received a railroad car full of a product that was too large to be used for toilet paper.
Probably not this Scott Paper Company
A local teacher was looking for a disposable towel to use in her classroom. The company repurposed the accidental shipment and their paper towel product was born.
Probably this paper towel company
Two stories. Same problem. Germs.
Paper towels were invented for public settings. Think public restrooms and classrooms.
When invented in the early 1900s, people were sharing reusable towels to dry their hands and clean up after themselves. As the Spanish Flu brought the need for better hygiene, people started making and using single use disposable paper towels.
In a public setting this makes complete sense. How did paper towels make their way into our homes?
Convenience. Habit. Disposable income. These all contributed, but the truth is that it doesn't really matter.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
What's important is that we are doing our part to stop this ridiculous practice that is contributing to 3,000 tons of annual waste.
There are some occasions when paper towels are absolutely necessary even in the home. I am currently thinking about my adorable puppy and infant. Their messes most often require quick and disposable action.
Wiping down the kitchen counter or the dinner table, there has to be a better way. I feel absolutely awful throwing away multiple paper towels just cleaning up after dinner.
GET THEM IF YOU CAN FIND THEM
Paper towels are clearly a convenience item and they are a part of our everyday lives. What happens if you can no longer get them?
When the pandemic first broke out, average everyday items, like paper towels, became increasingly difficult to find. Convenience and grocery stores were limiting the amount of household items you could purchase in an effort to prevent hoarders from buying up all of the supply.
Pictures of empty shopping aisles were plastered all over the local paper and on the evening news.
Everything seemed to be getting back to normal, then new articles started showing up on CNN and other news outlets. A new shortage of paper towels?
Looks like the corona virus is still wreaking havoc on supply chains. Paper towel makers do not have the raw materials they need to make paper towels.
This might not be all bad news. Every obstacle is an opportunity in disguise.
How about we take this opportunity to reduce the amount of paper towels we are using in our homes? This is exactly what happened to me. We used to buy that big carton full of paper towels every month. It was on auto-reorder.
Earlier in they year, we knew the re-order was not going to happen. Everyone was out of stock. So we started using these bamboo hand towels I had lying around.
Then the craziest thing happened. After we started using the bamboo towels, we kept using them.
Even crazier, I started feeling good while cleaning up the kitchen after dinner.
Proctor & Gamble talks about the Febreze moment. It's how they hooked millions of consumers on Febreze. Once you spray it, your house feels clean.
Now I feel good because I am not throwing away 4 or 6 pieces of paper towels cleaning the counter, I am not throwing anything away.
Yes, it feels good. Every time. Seriously.
NOT JUST FOR PANDAS
Pandas love bamboo. Their diet is almost exclusively bamboo, they eat 26 to 84 pounds per day.
Wow. That’s a lot of bamboo.
Pandas are adorable and all, but what does that have to do with paper towels?
Turns out they might be onto something with this bamboo stuff. In addition to being a tasty treat for our panda friends, bamboo is better for the environment.
Bamboo absorbs 2x more carbon dioxide than trees. It also generates a lot of oxygen, some estimates put it at around 30% more than regular plants and trees. Bamboo also grows very quickly while requiring very little water and no fertilizer.
When compared against cotton and other textiles used for pulp when making paper towels, bamboo is a clear winner for the environment.
Yes. There are some concerns about every material. Bamboo is not different. If you are trying to make super soft material for clothing like sheets, shirts or underwear, the process can include a bunch of chemicals and require tons of labor.
The good news is, that is not required when using a rougher form of bamboo, often referred to as bamboo linen.
Bamboo linen is great for use as a towel because it is super absorbent. Bamboo is also naturally antimicrobial. That translates into towels that don’t stink.
Have you ever used a kitchen towel to pick up a spill and get the feeling that you are pushing water all over the place instead of picking it up. Don’t worry about that feeling with these bamboo towels. Not only is bamboo naturally absorbent, it can be weaved into a waffle pattern for even greater absorbency.
KEEP MORE BY PAYING LESS
I shared how we started using these towels in my house. It was a happy forced accident. The weirdest thing happened though. When paper towels came back in stock we didn’t order any.
We are a family of five. We went from using 30 paper towel rolls a month to using around 5 rolls per month. That is a drastic reduction in waste in just my household.
Let’s not forget that those paper towels I was using also cost money.
When I was on auto-reorder my family was spending $30 per month on paper towels. Now, that same supply lasts me six months, which means I am paying $5 per month for paper towels. That might not sound like much, but that is a savings of $300 per year.
$30 x 12 = $360
$5 x 12 = $60
$360 - $60 = $300 in savings!
So how much would you spend to save $300? Ok. Maybe it is not that straightforward. You are actually doing more than just saving $300. You are also reducing the amount of waste you create. Instead of adding to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, you are reducing your contribution to both.
Less paper towels used = less paper towels thrown away.
So a better question might be, how much would you spend to save $300 and help reduce waste? That number might be more than $300.
I TRIED THE REST, THEN MADE THE BEST
I am not sure where I got that first set of bamboo towels. When I ordered another set I was pretty disappointed to find the towels shipped in a bunch of plastic.
What is the point of reducing my paper towel usage only to increase the amount of plastic I am throwing away?
Luckily, I have a little experience making products and reducing plastic in packaging, so I decided to make my own bamboo paper towel replacement.
REDUCE. REUSE. RECYLE
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. That is the mantra our kids are learning today. I couldn't agree more. The order matters. The first goal is to reduce, then reuse and only if the first two are not an option we attempt to recycle.
The best part of these bamboo towels we created is that they are focused on the first two, reducing and reusing.
WHAT IF I PREFER MY WASTEFUL WAYS
No judgement here. We get it. Saving the planet is not for everyone.
Seriously, in order to make real change you need to have a great product that people prefer to use. You cannot survive solely on being a “green” product.
That is why we offer a 90 day 100% guarantee. If for any reason you are not satisfied with your bamboo towels, send us an email and we will refund 100% of your purchase price, no questions asked.
Shipping is problematic. We are trying to reduce the resources we are using, but we still have to get products to your house. Luckily, our payment processor, Stripe, offers an easy way for us to direct a portion of all purchases towards carbon removal technologies.
Right now, we are contributing 2% of all purchases to carbon removal. Hopefully, we can work our way to to 5%.
WE WANT YOU TO BUY LESS
We are in a weird position, because we want you to buy less. Buy less paper towels.
I care about the product I am selling. I care about the problem we are trying to solve.
I use these towels every day and I feel a little bit better every time I look at the paper towel holder and don’t pull another paper towel off the roll before throwing it in the trash.
I want you to have that feeling also. It’s silly, but it is a great feeling. And I want to share it with you.
I told you how I am saving $300 per year with these towels. With that much in savings I could easily try and charge you $100 for the product and it is still a great deal as you are easily saving $200.
When you order you get a set of 8 super absorbent bamboo kitchen towels.
The packaging contains 0 plastic.
They are 13 x 13, with extra tough stitching and a deep waffle pattern for extra absorbency.
They are located in our domestic warehouses and ready to ship to you immediately.
People are loving them. Here are a few of the recent reviews:
Order now and you can get 1 set for $30.
I also want to do something a bit different. I want you to help us spread the word and help reduce waste.
Order one for yourself, and we will give you the second set for half off. Give it to a close friend and experience what we feel every time we give one to a friend.
Order two sets and we will give you the third one for free.
Supplies are limited and we are only running this promotion through the end of the month. Act now and experience that magical less waste feeling.