How to be Green, today (I stole this one from Japan)

Posted on 24.05.2011


I kind of mentioned it in my first Japan post, but it didn’t get the amazing amount of love that it deserves. I am talking, friends, about the novel idea of carrying around a little handkerchief with you. And by a ‘hanky’, I don’t mean some silken thing that you could tie around your neck. I mean something hardier, made of cotton or something sturdy like that, that is absorbent. Like a ‘do rag. A bandana, if you will.

Why? Because instead of using a paper towel (or two, if you’re me) to dry your hands after every bathroom visit, you could use the hanky. It’s only been three weeks and I’m in love.

In Japan, half of the public bathrooms didn’t have air hand dryers, and none of them supplied paper towels. So it was a moral imperative to purchase the little hanky. Thankfully one of my friends was aware of this cultural difference and told me to get one, otherwise I’d have been walking around with some really wet pants. Very unbecoming of a young tourist in a far-off land!!

I generally dislike using the paper towels after washing my hands, but oftentimes they’re better than the slower air dryers (which take FOREVER!!!). If every place in Germany had one of those jet-stream style dryers that dries you in 6 seconds flat, I’d be down. BUT the hanky is still the greener option, as it takes NO electricity to use, whereas the air dryer totally expends energy. And let’s not discuss all of those trees you’re killing every time you dry your hands. Or use a napkin. Or a paper towel.

Further, if you ONLY use it to wipe your hands after washing, it’s overall pretty hygienic, assuming you don’t keep dead things in your purse. If you do, better store the hanky in a Ziploc bag or something, but don’t seal it (re: mold). If it gets dirty, you simply wash it.

 The little cotton hanky in your purse is the adult equivalent to cloth diapers. Soil and re-use.

Simple. And stylish! I got mine for the equivalent of $2, in leopard print. See? Even the fashionistas get to be green.  #winning

Posted in: being green