Do you want to help safeguard the environment? No?!? Please go to Chevron’s website or something. For those who remained, let’s see how even small steps you take matter. Even your choice of paper towels.
Paper Towels are More Important Than You Think
13 billion pounds of paper towels are used in the USA alone. Consumption of this product has a serious impact on the environment. It generates the greenhouse gas methane as it decomposes, which contributes directly to climate change.
Paper towels are made of either hardwood or softwood. With 110 million trees cut down for that purpose, they contribute heavily to deforestation. Massive deforestation will lead to less rainfall, more greenhouse gasses, less biodiversity, and a whole slew of other terrible outcomes.
While some of the necessities of life require wood, the good news is that many of the most tree-hungry industries can be converted to sustainable alternatives. As it turns out, bamboo is a viable and environmentally friendly replacement for paper towels made of wood. How come? Well:
- Bamboo is easily the fastest growing plant there is. It can grow 3-feet in just one day! There is no need to replant it, and it requires harvesting once a year.
- Bamboo plants use 30% less water than trees.
- Bamboo plants produce 35% more oxygen than most trees, meaning the more bamboo is planted, the better the planet gets at fighting global warming.
- A bamboo plant can be harvested once a year with no harm to the plant, while trees are chopped down. It takes decades for new trees to grow, while the bamboo plant does not need to be replanted.
- A good bamboo harvest produces roughly 20 times more material per harvest than hardwood trees.
- The bamboo plant does not require pesticides or herbicides and therefore its use does not emit harmful chemicals.
- Bamboo paper towels break down more quickly and efficiently than their wood equivalents, leaving a smaller imprint.
As you can see, there is no comparison. Bamboo paper towels are compostable and the plant itself more sustainable. That means that as it decomposes, this product will leave no harmful imprint on the environment.
Does my Choice Matter?
Ok, sure bamboo paper towels are better. But how important is my choice of paper towels, at the end of the day, I hear you ask. What if I told you that from a moral perspective, what individuals do matters more than anything else? One of the greatest moral philosophers of all time, Immanuel Kant, explained that you should act as you would want all other people to act. He also walked his dog every day at the same time, but we are getting off track here.
What Kant meant was, your example matters! If other people see you doing little things to help the environment, they will do it too and more bamboo products will be made.
What’s the Catch??
Ok, I hear you say. I want to save the environment as much as the next person (assuming that the next person is awesome). But does that mean I need to use an inferior product? In a word: no. Bamboo paper towels are softer and stronger than their typical tree made equivalents.
If we are thoughtful about our habits, we can find better and more sustainable alternatives to our most environmentally harmful products. Preferring bamboo over paper is a great place to start. Every time you make smart decisions to protect our planet, Kant will smile down upon you, while walking his dog.