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Kill a tree or strangle a bird?—a rant on waste

2009/11/14

Why are there still paper towel dispensers in bathrooms?

You get this piece of paper wet, and then you throw it in the trash.  You don’t dry it and reuse it—even if you didn’t want to dry your hands with it again, you could squash a bug or wipe some soiled surface with it—but you don’t even recycle it.

Blow dryers just use some electricity (which you’re already using anyway) to blast warm air at your hands.  No trash necessary.  If you’re worried about germs, some have hands-free sensors and besides, a lot of paper dispensers haven’t upgraded to hands-free, either.  You get the desired results without the excess product.  If you don’t have the time for the dryer to finish, you can wipe on your clothes (suck it up, ladies).  It’s not like paper is the most thorough method, anyway.

I don’t know what fool is making business for paper towel dispensers, but seriously, it’s a waste.

Now take plastic, another product that’s incredibly wasteful.

“You know you’re Asian when… you collect the plastic bags from the grocery store.”  It’s a joke that we pass around but really, if it’s not icky from crap or shredded from holding heavy objects with sharp edges, why not reuse it? I’m Asian, I think it’s funny because it’s true but I’m not going to stop doing it because of course 1) then it wouldn’t be funny anymore, but also 2) it’s actually a good idea.  Gasp.  So all you non-Asians, the next time you see a joke about Asians, start taking notes because if Asians are doing it, it must be a smart idea. Just kidding.

I feel like when people decide to do something about waste, a convention of morons gets together to argue that the amount wasted is too insignificant and why don’t you find something more important to do?

Apparently, someone in the Department of Defense recently realized that the military is buying hand tools at ridiculous prices. I hate anal finance officers as much as anybody would but government money is the public’s money.  Would a normal homeowner buy a fancy ergonomic hammer for $30 at Home Depot when he could get a not-so-fancy but reasonably reliable one at a garage sale for a fifth of the price?  Of course, a hand tool’s got nothing on a tank, but if the government saves $24 on each of 1000 hammers (supposing they needed that many), that’s another $24,000 to spend on research, education, and other needs.

The thing about waste is that there’s no such thing as “Not wasteful enough.”  It’s the underlying thinking that counts.  That’s the flaw in an argument against eliminating “insignificant waste.”  I’m not worried about losing a little money, I’m worried when people can’t think outside of the box and refuse to save even when they know how.

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