Why Kleenex Hand Towels are a Terrible Idea

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I generally try to keep things positive over here, but every once in a while I see something that really bums me out. A couple of weeks ago, I was watching TV and saw such a thing. Here is the thing:

Yep, the fine folks at Kleenex would like us to use a fresh piece of paper to dry our hands in the bathroom. They’re capitalizing on public germophobia to replace yet another reusable product with disposables. And these aren’t just disposable – they’re made from virgin paper, which uses far more water than recycled paper while contributing to deforestation.

The commercial above really bugs me, because it’s so manipulative. One the right, you’ve got the shiny, teal box of paper towels, and on the left they have a dingy, tiny washcloth-sized face towel. The bit where the dog nabs the towel and someone puts it back really gets me…why wouldn’t you just toss it in the laundry bin and hang a fresh towel at that point?

If you’re really worried about towel-related germs, there are lots of reusable options. You could change out your face towel every couple of days. You could get a face towel for each person in your household in different colors or patterns. If you’re feeling crafty, you could even applique or embroider your family members’ names on separate towels.

What we don’t need to do is find yet another excuse to cut down trees and add trash to the waste stream. Boo on you, Kleenex!

*whew* I feel so much better now that I’ve gotten that off my chest. Tomorrow, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled cute content. Look out for a cupcake recipe that rocked my socks!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by crustmania

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16 comments on “Why Kleenex Hand Towels are a Terrible Idea
  1. Came across this while researching my own blog post on the product. I had suggested having a different colored towel per person and I see you suggested the same thing. :) Seriously, the company is terrible but at least are trying to make a dime… It’s the consumers who actually buy this product who make me really furious.

    Glad to have found your blog!

  2. Thank you for this post! It really bugs me in the commercial when they ask “Why use the same towel over and over when you could use a fresh one every time?” I have so many answers to this question it’s not even funny. This is such a ridiculous product, and such a waste of money! I hate how they are trying to get away with this in our current green revolution and what not! grrrr…

  3. Just saw this commercial for the first time tonight. I’m guessing they waited for Earth Day to pass before promoting such a irresponsible product. It’s already rediculous the amount of paper towels used in commercial restrooms that could be saved with xlerator dryers and the like and now they are pitching the same waste for residential use. Shame on you Kimberly-Clark.

  4. Hmmm…. $5.00 for a pack of hand towels that you can wash over and over and over again, versus $5.00 for two boxes of paper towels for your bathroom. Why not just buy a roll of paper towels from a renewable source (there are a few companies out there that make paper products from recycled paper) and hang it up on your bathroom towel rack? If you insist on using paper there are more responsible ways o do it.

  5. This commercial astounded me … at a time when many companies are reducing product packaging and seem to be moving in the right direction … Kimberly Clark goes and introduces a completely unnecessary disposable product?? Shame on them!

  6. It’s a crazy amount of waste. I can’t imagine it’s affordable either because they are thicker than a paper towel, and less in a package. The things that really burns my cupcakes is they imply that using a resuable hand towel is unsanitary and spreads germs. Well I suppose if you never, wash it or replace it with a clean one that might be so. BTW, my dog has his own towel by the door. He doesn’t grab mine off of the towel bar.

  7. :(
    This bums me out too.
    I haven’t watched TV in ages, but this doesn’t surprise me in the least. Thank you for presenting this for exactly what it is: terrible.

    You have some great ideas for those worried about germs (although I do think that tiny little towel was long overdue for a wash) :P

  8. @Gabrielle – I hope that you’ll still write about this! I’d love to hear what you have to say, and the more folks spreading the word the better.

    @Peggy – Excellent point about the box!

  9. And then there’s the box with it’s inks and dyes. I’ll bet they found a way to get some plastic in there, too. This is just an I’ll-conceived notion, start to finish. And people are going to pay their hard-earned money for it. Boo, Kimberly Clark. Boo on you.

  10. Wow, I don’t know who you are… but hats off to you for writing this. I just set out to write on the same subject. Great minds think alike! By no means am I an extremist when it comes to environmental issues, but I do pride myself on making sure the impact I make on this world environmentally is a positive one. This just seems to defy common sense. The earth is terminal, companies like kleenex should be using their abundant resources educating the consumer about recycling instead of preying on their inner compulsions. I am proud to share the earth with someone like you.
    Gabrielle Chironna, NYC

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