Tuesday, December 21, 2010

People Towels

The hubs and I are huge fans of Stonyfield yogurt.  Each week at the grocery store we buy a quart of either blueberry or strawberry yogurt.   The yogurt is always creamy and delicious- not to mention buying it supports family farms and organic farming!  While I could support these by buying any organic yogurt, buying Stonyfield allows me benefit from the Stonyfield rewards program.  On each Stonyfield lid, there is a code to register at the rewards website.  Each code is worth a certain amount of points, but it basically amounts to one point for every dollar spent on the yogurt.  The goal is to save up points and order eco-friendly products from the list on the rewards website.  After accumulating a certain amount of points, I click on the reward I want and the company sends me a coupon for it in the mail.  We have MAJORLY benefited from this rewards program- some of the loot we've gotten (at no cost) includes AH!Laska organic chocolate syrup,  Green&Black chocolate, Stonyfield yogurt, and Rising Moon organic pasta.  Until recently, we had only received food items, but yesterday in the mail, I received a People Towel, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.
 image from http://www.peopletowels.com/purchase/1DaySupply/21
This towel came with an explanation that I think states its mission and reason perfectly, so rather than try to say it in my own words, I will quote from the tag on my People Towel: "Doesn't it seem like a waste to cut down a tree to make a paper towel that is used once and thrown away"  (YES, IT DOES!) "By our calculations, the average person uses about 3,000 paper towels in a year, causing deforestation, excess landfill waste, and water pollution."  I'm not sure I totally agree with their calculations- at work I use on average, 7 paper towels each day.  If I work 170 days out of the year, that comes out to 1,190 paper towels, plus about 10 each week at home.... that's 520 a year at home for a total of about 1,710.  We'll add 300 to be on the safe side.  So  I consume roughly 2,010 paper towels a year.  While that's less than the People Towel's calculations, it's still a whole lot of paper towels.  So many in fact, that I think about it each time I use a paper towel.  Darn environmental guilt!  Thus, this People Towel seemed like a good idea.

Here's how I plan to make a difference:  I plan to have my People Towel at work to cut down the average of 7 paper towels I use each day to about 2.  However, I have some issues with convenience and cleanliness.  Here are the questions floating through my mind on the way to making this People Towel work for me and the environment:  Will I carry it into the bathroom with me?  Where will it hang?  Will it travel to and from work in my purse?  Will items in my purse get wet?  How often should this be washed?  How is this different from carrying around any ol' towel? 

While I have quite a few questions about using the People Towel, I will give it a try.  Hopefully, through my trial and error, I'll come up with a full-proof water-proof way for people to make use of cloth towels at work because as I've said before, I believe that any action, no matter how small, makes a difference.

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