Shake and Fold - The New Environmental Dance

I've always been a big fan of TEDTalks, they provide great insight into the research and findings of some of the smartest people in the world. Rarely though are they funny, informative and related to something inside your home and office.  I just stumbled onto a TedTalk, however, that was all three.  Joe Smith, an Oregon based activist, delivered a Ted Talk that seems shockingly obvious but has real world implications that are ignored by most of us. In his lecture, which can be seen here, Joe teaches the audience how to properly use a paper towel. You might ask...really?

Yes, it might seem like the speaker is talking down to his audience like they are a group of school children who need to be taught how to go to the bathroom. But the logic behind him showing his overwhelmingly simple technique, Shake and Fold, is sound.  Americans currently use 13 billion paper towels every year. If every American cut back on paper towel use by one towel a day for an entire year, collectively as a nation the US would save 571 million pounds of paper annually.  Those numbers are shocking enough for everyone to take part in Joe Smith's comically obvious approach to drying your hands with paper towels. Shake them first. Fold your single paper towel. Wipe your hands completely dry.  Shake and Fold - it's that easy.  

I found this infographic which outlines Joe Smith's technique and the numbers supporting his environmental dance moves.  

Does anyone else have a better technique that will save millions of pounds of paper a year?

2 Responses

Moshe Jacobson
Moshe Jacobson

June 11, 2014

Where did you find the infographic? Is a higher resolution version available for printing?


October 10, 2013

wipe em on your pants. ;-)

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