The fibers in paper towels are too short to be woven into new paper products.There are a few places where sustainability programs are trying to divert used paper towels from the landfill.Post-consumer fibers are recovered from paper that otherwise have been dumped into a landfill.
In one example, paper towels are collected in separate bins in public restrooms of government buildings in the Parliament Hill area of downtown Ottawa, Ontario.
The paper towels are composted and spread over the landfill to reduce wind erosion and enrich the soil.
And used paper towels pile up in landfills because — in all but a handful of pilot programs — paper towels are excluded from mainstream recycling programs.
Paper towels typically aren’t recycled because paper towels are usually made with a fairly high percentage of recycled paper.
It’s hard to argue there is any wood pulp product more handy than the paper towel. You can’t use a Post-it note as an emergency coffee filter.
But being so useful for so many tasks — including many, many for which paper towels weren’t really intended — has a downside.
While you may not have the option of recycling your paper towels, you can reduce your use of paper towels and reuse the paper towels you do use.
Reduce the number of paper towels you use by grabbing an old-fashioned sponge or dishcloth to mop up kitchen spills. Use crumpled newspaper to clean windows instead of a fresh paper towel.
Ever since the invention of hand dryers, many have believed that they are better than the old standby paper towels.
Environmentally speaking, it’s certainly better for the health of the trees that would have otherwise been cut down to make more disposable toweling. Jet-air models may be the worst offenders In a study conducted by the University of Leeds, it was found that hand dryers were actually blowing germs around.