Reducing Paper Towel Waste

The Ursinus College Sustainability Committee and the Sustainability Fellows have posted signs on the paper towel dispensers in most campus bathrooms this spring that encourage users to limit the amount of paper towel that they use each time they wash their hands.

You may have noticed small signs on the paper towel dispensers on campus this spring that remind you that paper towels come from trees.  The Office of Sustainability would like to encourage the campus community to remember that fact when you are drying your hands.  You can have an impact on our waste and on consumption of trees! 

Fast Facts:

  • Rip it!:  If you rip the paper towel before the dispenser stops, it will automatically stop, allowing you to take a smaller amount of paper each time.  (This is the case only on the dispensers that are set to dispense paper after you wave it it - not those set to have paper waiting for you)
  • More effective drying: shake your wet hands (10-20 times) THEN take a small paper towel, fold it in half and dry your hands.  By folding it, you provide faster absorption.
  • Paper towels are recyclable!!!:  Don’t throw that towel in the bathroom trash - use it to open the door and then put it into a recycling bin.

So, you can shake your hands, rip the towel before it’s fully dispensed, fold it and dry your hands, and then use your small, folded, now-damp paper towel to open the door (thus avoiding germs), and then deposit it into the nearest recycling bin. 

Voila: dry hands, fewer trees used, fewer germs and less paper in the trash, all in one!