How much waste is generated from paper towels?
(From the State of Indiana)
Paper towels are everywhere. We use them at home, in the workplace, and in public restrooms.
If everyone in Indiana used a paper towel just one time per week that equals 3,359 tons of paper towels
discarded each year in Indiana. That is just one paper towel a week! 2 tons (or 4000 lbs) equals the
weight of an average family sedan. If everyone in Indiana used two paper towels a week it would equal
6,718 tons of paper towels discarded each year.
If you would like to learn more about how many paper towels go into the waste stream each year use the following formula:
Number of paper towels x 3,359 = ______________ tons of paper towels
thrown away in Indiana each year
Sure, paper is convenient, but reusable cotton roll towels can do the same job. And they are more effective.
An independent research team headed by Mr. Carl Lehrburger is involved in doing a complete environmental impact study comparing reusable textiles as the environmentally sound alternative to paper. Here are some facts that may be of interest.
- Over 1.6 million tons of paper towels used in the US in 1988.
- Commercial consumption of single use paper towels increased over 40% over a 6 year span.
- Although some paper towels contain recycled content, they are not recyclable after a single use as a towel. (A wet-strength agent has been added.)
- When cloth towel service is used to replace paper toweling it is considered WASTE REDUCTION. Waste reduction is the #1 solid waste management priority (ahead of recycling) in both the US and Canada.
- A single roll of cloth towel can replace over 30,000 single fold paper towels.
- Pulp and paper mill sludge in Wisconsin was estimated to be over 1.5 million tons (in 1983). This represents 23% of the total solid waste output for the entire state for that year.
AN AVERAGE SIZE CASE OF PAPER TOWELS BECOMES, AFTER A SINGLE USE, APPROXIMATELY 1 CUBIC YARD OF UN-COMPACTED SOLID WASTE (Source: Darman Manufacturing).