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Paper Towels: Are They Sustainable?

paper-towels

In our increasingly eco-conscious world, the everyday choices we make have a significant impact on the environment. Let’s consider something seemingly ordinary but widely used—paper towels. Are they just convenient, or do they contribute to the well-being of our planet?

“In general, paper towels lack sustainability.”

The production process involves a substantial amount of water, contributes to deforestation, and produces dioxin—a harmful environmental toxin and carcinogen—during the bleaching process.

Exploring the reality of Paper Towels!!

Paper towels, a relatively recent invention of the last century, began using raw materials like virgin wood pulp. Unfortunately, the production process consumes considerable energy, which isn’t great for the environment. Recycling paper towel is a challenge; when they end up in landfills, they can harm the environment. This is why it’s crucial to consider eco-friendly alternatives and work towards reducing our overall impact on nature.

DO YOU KNOW?
“Paper towels are more wasteful than tissues because they use more resources and produce more trash.”

When it comes to their carbon footprint, although a single paper towel might not seem significant, the massive production contributes to a considerable amount of carbon dioxide emissions. This matters because excess CO2 in the air contributes to global warming. The entire lifecycle of paper towel, from tree growth to disposal, involves significant carbon emissions. To help, we can use fewer paper towel or explore eco-friendly alternatives.

According to TerraPass, each roll of paper towels only contributes around 0.06 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

Now, let’s delve into the environmental impacts:

Deforestation:

  • The large-scale cutting of trees for industrialization, construction, and manufacturing of wood and paper products.
  • A significant contributor to deforestation due to high consumption.

Reduction of Natural Resources:

  • Earth is 71% water, but only 3% is freshwater.
  • The production of paper towels consumes massive amounts of freshwater.
  • Overexploitation and reduction of freshwater resources.
  • Potential scarcity of drinking water if current trends persist.

Pollution During Manufacturing:

  • Industrial waste disposal in water bodies leads to water pollution.
  • Carbon dioxide emissions during manufacturing contribute to air pollution.

Waste Management Problems:

  • Paper towel are biodegradable but take 2-4 weeks to decompose.
  • Enormous volumes of waste are generated.
  • Dumping in open areas and landfills.
  • Chemicals in paper towel contribute to soil pollution.
  • Dumped waste leads to mosquito breeding and disease proliferation.

While most paper towels can be composted as they’re made from natural materials like wood pulp, some types, such as bleached, grease-soaked, and disinfectant-treated paper towel, should not be thrown into your backyard compost.

In our journey toward a greener future, let’s be mindful of our choices, even those as seemingly insignificant as the type of paper towels we use.

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