Excess of paper towels



              What do you use after washing your hands in restrooms? Yes, Paper towels, which are made from wood. I am writing this to America to emphasize how much paper we use and throw away, which is threating not only America but also our whole planet.

              Dear America:

Since you declared independence from England in 1776, you have made great progress, such as innovations in technology and infrastructure. You have anything we want and make our lives better more comfortable. However, though you provide us with anything we want and large amounts of materials, this progress is also leading in a bad direction, too. More specifically, paper is one of the most used materials in our life, in products such as writing paper, paper towel, and tissues. Do you know how much wood is destroyed to make paper for those kinds of products? And do you know what is going around the world because of destroying forests? This affects not only human beings but also animals. Due to the decrease of forests, habitants of animals have been also diminishing. Moreover, some people say that deforestation is one of the major causes of global warming.

 Did you think it could happen in the early era? Well, deforestation is one of the effects of progressing technology. Why did deforestation come about? The deforestation might be the fault of a mass production and consumption society. You produce and consume a large amount of materials and after using them up, you put them in landfills or burn them all. Don’t you think it is a waste of materials and money to keep your land clean? Owing to the society, people often do not realize how products and food are made and how precious they are. Taking stock of the society, you would agree that we have excess of materials around you and realize how much impact it brings.

Above all, Paper towels are a symbol of the mass consumption society. In restrooms, paper towels are available, and people use them to wipe off water after washing their hands. Then, those are thrown away as trash and the trash box is piled with tons of paper. Moreover, people use more than they need, so the amount of waste becomes more and more, which means that much wood is destroyed to make them every day. 

The history of paper towels started in 1907, when Scott Paper Company started to sell paper towels as a disposable option for hotels and public facilities to get rid of germs from hands. Since then, paper towels have come to be used in many ways, such as kitchen paper, and we see them everywhere these days. (Paper Towel History)

These days, you use much more paper towels than in the past. I am writing this to open your eyes on the fact that this is happening, and to make you realize what we have to do from now on. I chose this image to show the excess paper towels, but also I want you to realize that our society is a mass production and consumption society. My solution to stop production and use of paper towels is to introduce hand dryers instead of paper towels because there is proof that hand dryers are more efficient than paper towels. Moreover, paper towels have double the impact on global warming that hand dryers do.(the study carried out by Environment Resource Management). As you can see, introducing hand dryers is one of the ways to stop deforestation.

Moreover, the other solution is stop using too much. Only use paper that you need. Do not use more than needed. My dear America, I hope you understand what I am trying to say to you, and also that you could improve the situation.

From: a person who likes you so much


About rmkwakazono

Hi. My name is Rumiko from Japan. I'm 20 years old and I came to UC Davis at the end of this March! I like watching musicals(my best musical film is 'The Sound of Music') Nice to meet you:)
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2 Responses to Excess of paper towels

  1. rmkwakazono says:

    I found this image of paper towels on a website, and I decided to use this image because we do not think about how much wood is used to make paper when we use it, and I want to show the excess use of paper towels. In this picture, you can see a lady using paper towels in the restroom and many people may think it is a natural to use paper towels in our daily life.
    However, to me, when I see this image, I feel awkward because in Japan, we do not usually use paper towels. Instead, we use hand dryers or just handkerchiefs after washing our hands. Since I came to the U.S, whenever I go to the restroom, I see tons of paper towels piled in trash boxes, and it makes me feel strange. Moreover, some people use more paper towels than they need.
    The reason why I chose this image is I want people to realize that Americans have to save resources, and though they think they have a large amount of trees in the world, resources are always limited. For example, if you have enough money, you try not to use it because you can see how much money you have. However, if you go to the store, you see lots of paper sold, and in public restrooms, you see tons of paper, which makes you think that you can use it without limit and it is hard to imagine how much wood is used to make paper. For this reason, you use more paper than you need unnoticeably.
    The history of paper towels started in 1907 with Scott Paper Company which started to sell paper towels as disposable papers to hotels and public facilities to get rid of germs from hands. Since then, paper towels are used in many ways, such as kitchen paper, and we see them everywhere these days. (Paper Towel History)As you can see, the history of paper towels is more than 100 years, and the most of people may not know when and why paper towels has spread to the public places.
    Through this course, I have learned the many images of America from different angles and perspectives. Above all, the reading which has been the most interesting to me was “America” by Jean Baudrillard. The reading showed us the negative images of America, and I felt that the author was pretty critical about America but I agreed with the author ‘ideas to some extent. In his reading, he described that it is the anorexic culture which means the result of being full of materials, Americans have started to think that they have to decrease surplus of materials (p.39). Moreover, when I showed a picture of the swimming pool in my house to my group, some people interpreted the image as its showing that we use too much water for swimming pools, which was quite surprising to me because it was not my point. In addition, Jean described that America is a hyperreality(p.28). In the lecture of this class, Disney Land and social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, are examples of hyperreality because they are not real things , which means you do not actually interact with people or it is not a real world where you live now.
    Thus, the reading influenced my decision on the manifesto because it made me realize that Americans have surplus of materials these days thanks to the innovations of technology, but they have slightly forgotten the importance of resources and energy at the same time. America is such a big country, so you can get whatever you want. However, the waste of resources will deprive us of our life and precious resources from our daily life. I hope this manifesto will help you understand the reality of America and encourage you to be aware of it.
    “Paper Towel History” http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/papertowel.htm(5/1/’13)
    “America” Jean Baudrillard (p39, 28)

  2. zepeda3000 says:

    I think this is such a unique way to show consumerism in America. Unfortunately, consumerism has becomes an American characteristic. But focusing on paper towels, I notice too how in most bathrooms people use paper towels excessively. Sometimes the trash can isn’t big enough to fit the used ones!

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