The first of a recurring series where I implore you, the reader, to evaluate whether a certain action is a sensible step in the direction of sustainability, or is barking up the wrong, crazy-person-making tree. Several weeks ago, fed up with how many paper towels I was using at work, I brought my own hand towel from home and hung it up in the bathroom.
Let me back up. I ran the idea by my coworkers first as a joke, then as it became a recurring lunch topic, I started thinking seriously about the viability of the idea. My theory was this: You only need a towel if your hands are wet. Your hands are only wet if you have washed them. Maybe I'm naive, but I assume that most people do wash their hands with soap, or would be prompted to if they're using a communal towel. And yet, the idea of sharing a towel freaked some of my coworkers out-namely, the men. (We have a unisex bathroom, and believe me, it's not nearly as cool as it was on Ally McBeal.) All the men were grossed out by the idea, but eventually some agreed to use it with provisions. One said he would use it if got washed every weekend. Fine. Another would if there were 5 towels, for each day of the week. Ridiculous! Some said straight-up that they would never use it. So I ended up bringing a towel in one day, hanging it on a hook that just happened to be in the bathroom, and putting up a sign inviting everyone to use it after washing hands with soap. I noted that it would be washed every weekend, and to please, not be afraid. The results have been...well, mixed. I know for sure that at least one other person uses it regularly. Better than nothing, right? One other colleague admitted to using a dry corner of it, once. Others have welcomed it when we run out of paper towels. However, I can't help but notice how many paper towels there still are in the trash, so I'm not claiming a major victory here. At the same time, I hold strong in my beliefs that in recent years we have become an overly germophobic society, which has fueled our disposable addiction. I think we obsess about germs way more than we need to. I should add that it's a small office, I don't think anyone has questionable hygiene habits, and heck, I have and would take sips out of their drinks at happy hour. So why not share a towel? My question to you is: Would you use the towel and why/why not? Hot or not?