Challenge #1  and #2 were pretty good indicators of how we feel about single-use plastic here at Naked Foods. 

But let’s pause on plastic for a minute and take a closer look at our paper products – they’ve been quietly sitting on the sidelines and looking innocent… right?

This week we looked at the lifecycle of a seemingly innocent, disposable paper towel. Here’s what we found:

  • Say you use a paper towel to mop up a kitchen spill. Then you throw it out for recycling.
  • First of all – don’t be fooled by the utilitarian appearance of paper towels – most aren’t made from recycled paper according to Green Lifestyle.
  • Recycling companies then discard it as ‘contaminated’ and add it to general waste, because contrary to popular belief – paper towels can’t be recycled.
  • So your innocent towel joins the other 254,000,000 tonnes of paper towels per year that go to landfill – that’s more than 30kg per person.
  • There’s also the hidden impact of filling garbage bags quickly with wads of towels, transporting the new and used product, and disposing of them in landfill.
  • Plus, deforestation and water consumption and are huge players in the manufacturing of a paper towel. 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.

 The Alternative

Next time you’re reaching for a paper towel, answer this first:
Could a reusable, washable rag do the same job?
  • Invest in some long-lasting cloth alternatives and even cut your old clothing into squares and use those as cleaning rags.
  • Keep a small hand towel in your bag for when you need to dry your hands while out.
  • Don’t have a towel? Use the excess water to fix up your hair or let your hands dry naturally.
  • Otherwise, electric hand dryers have a slight advantage because they can run on green power and they are recycled.
  • If you have the choice between paper towels and hand dryers, choose the dryer. It seems counterintuitive, but hand dryers have more recycling potential than paper towels and have a smaller environmental impact.

Every little change makes a difference so we’d love to hear what you guys are doing to help our planet. Keep the brainstorms going and keep sharing with us so we can pass on the good word – whether that’s by responding to our online newsletter, commenting on our Instagram or Facebook stories or tagging your posts with #nakedplanet.