Monday, 9 May 2016

How do You Dry Your Hands?

How many sheets of paper towels do you use each day? Month? Year?
Some interesting trivial information today -- Hong Kong people's knowledge of environmental issues is still pathetic, as a study has found seven out of 10 residents would choose using a paper towel over an electric hand dryer.

While only 465 people were polled by business chamber JCI Lion Rock and environmental group World Green Organization, almost half of those questioned thought paper towels were better because they could be recycled which is not true.

"Paper towels cannot be recycled because they get wet, their fibres are too short, they're bleached and are contaminated once used," explained Dr William Yu Yuen-ping, WGO chief executive.

Do you mind using an electric hand dryer? Or takes too long?
This I did not know, but now I do.

The survey found 70 to 80 percent of those polled used fewer than 10 sheets of paper towel a day, one fifth used more, and at least 3 percent used more than 26 sheets daily. DAILY.

The researchers calculated that would mean those people surveyed used about 3,610 sheets of paper towel a day, or 1.3 million a year. For the entire Hong Kong, that would mean 55 million sheets of paper towel thrown into landfills daily and more than 20 billion per year, which equates to 583,321 trees a year.

Do people understand what's involved in making paper towels and how we kill so many trees just so we can wipe our hands? When I go to the washroom particularly at the office, I'm mortified when I see people using more than one paper towel to wipe their hands and then throwing it thoughtlessly into the garbage bin.

Imagine huge swathes of this forest gone to make paper towels
The government wants to decrease the amount of solid waste by 40 percent by 2022, but if people keep throwing out paper towels, how can the amount be cut down if at all?

Yu says the government needs to do more to promote public awareness of the problem and we agree. How about mandating that all offices, shopping malls and restaurants must install electric hand dryers? Or as Yu says, get people into the habit of carrying their own handkerchief?

And while we're at it, how about reminding people we don't have unlimited supplies of water that, by the way, come from China?

Hong Kong seems to have no care about running itself into the ground...

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