PeopleTowels: No they’re not made out of people…

I still remember what I initially thought when I first heard about PeopleTowels. I’m rather ashamed to admit it was something along the lines of “What, are they made of people?” Thankfully, no. They’re made for people, to empower people to cut back on the over consumption of paper towels. As co-founder Linda Lannon puts it, “It is the opposite of a paper towel, it is a PeopleTowel.”

Don’t pretend you haven’t walked into a public bathroom, either at a movie theater or at work, and cringed at the sight of the trash can literally overflowing with crumpled up paper towels. Even the air only blow driers use up a ton of energy  and don’t get your hands properly dry anyway. Every once in a while you’ll see the waste-conscious, roller hand towels. But even then, I’ll always wonder whose germs I’m spreading over my freshly soaped and scrubbed hands.

The solution? PeopleTowels: the smart, personal, reusable hand towels. They’re conveniently small, roughly nine by nine inches. They’re well designed and brightly colored. They’re certified organic, fair trade cotton, made with 100% natural and nontoxic eco-friendly dyes. Absorbent, light weight and fast-drying, they come in a number of bright, fun, eco-chic designs. My personal favorite is the “this is not a tree” design, which really brings the point home. By using a PeopleTowel for one year, your actions alone are saving an entire quarter of a tree, conserving 250 gallons of water, and reducing landfill waste by 23 pounds. Those kinds of numbers add up pretty fast.[ad name=”Go-RT-Large Square”]

At $8 a pop, PeopleTowels are a little on the dear side. But if you think about it, it’s not like you have to keep replacing them, which is really the point of going the reusable route. Machine washable and sturdy enough to last for years, one towel will keep you covered for quite a while. However, the price does come down when you purchase multiple PeopleTowels, for example it’s $21 for 3, or $35 for 5. With all the great designs available, it would be difficult to restrict yourself to just one. Inspired by the use of similar personal hand towels in Japan, while rarely made from environmentally conscientious materials and ink, they are considered fashion accessories in their own right. I expect those more fashionably conscious will be happy to invest in a few more in various colors and backgrounds. The PeopleTowels website recently held an Earth Day Design Contest to bring in even more colorful and artistic designs into the mix. You can see the finalists’ designs here.

Contest Finalist Design by Kate Alves

This week I was lucky enough to  talk with one of the co- founders of PeopleTowels, Linda Lannon.

I asked Linda what the inspiration for PeopleTowels was and she told me that Linda and her business partner, Mary Wallace, were casual environmentalists taking a hard look at the concept of waste. It soon became apparent to them that everyone can make a substantial difference through small, sustainable changes to their lives with earth friendly, eco-habits, such as using reusable grocery bags or carrying around your own water bottle. PeopleTowels are the next step in green living.

When asked the difference was between PeopleTowels and carrying around a regular a washcloth or a handkerchief, Linda had this to say.

“The concept is the same, if people are carrying around a handkerchief or a washcloth and are drying their hands, then they are way ahead of the curve. My congratulations to them. But most people aren’t.The difference [between PeopleTowels and a washcloth] is our fabric. It is very light weight, very absorbent, not like a washcloth that would be heavy and wet in your purse or your backpack.”

Linda also stated the they take real pride in their designs. “If we want people to be changing their behavior, we want them to have fun while they’re doing it.”

Launched in November 2009, PeopleTowels are available online at These great little hand towels will soon be available at a number of retail locations around the country. Currently, you can find them at a the stores Eco Goods in Santa Cruz, California, Dress for Change in Pacific Grove, California, Save Some Green in Philadelphia, and even the San Francisco International Airport, just to name a few.

Overall, PeopleTowels are a small, practical, yet empowering change that can help you make a real impact in your personal, and your friends’ or coworkers’, environmental footprint. PeopleTowels are cute, practical and make living a greener lifestyle easier, empowering, and rather fun.

Do you know where your towel is?

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