BY KOBELAH BENNAH
The war in Iraq, healthcare, abortion, law school, blah, blah, blah. Can we talk about something that’s really important? How ’bout Z-fold paper towels. That’s right, I said it. Somebody had to. Z-folds are the double-folded paper monstrosities that are still dispensed in many bathrooms. Using a handful of them is one of the most wasteful ways to dry your hands. Z-folds are expensive, bulky, and they don’t get recycled. And, because people tend to grab a gigantic handful when one would do, millions of these tiny terrors unnecessarily end up in American landfills every day.
There, they are buried under mounds of other water-polluting trash and – being sealed from light and air – take decades to disintegrate. Automatic hand dryers and rolled paper towels (which are used more sparingly) are much more eco-friendly. Many HLS bathrooms dispense rolled paper-towels, but some of the busiest don’t.
Z-folds are the Devil’s paper, and hundreds of HLS students are forced to use them every day in the Harkeness bathrooms. And I use the word “forced” intentionally. If you’re in a Hark head, you’ll need to dry your dripping digits and you’ve only got one drying option – a gleaming white ticket to absorption city, waiting patiently in the dispenser for a moist person like yourself.
Of course one might do, but this is America! More is better – especially when it’s easy to grab. So inevitably, people grab wads, handle them a bit, and then throw them away. I know how it is, I’ve been there. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not hopeless. There is a more responsible way to dry.
You don’t have to be complicit in the landfill clogging conspiracy. You do have some free will and, consequently, a certain power. The Volleyball courts, Hark pub, and late night coffee in the Library are all the result of student requests. Eliminating Z-folds would help students save energy, save the school costs, and set a responsible example to all.
So, the next time you wash your hands in the Hark, defiantly raise a wet fist in the air and let it be dried only by the breath of God. Or, use only one, and then email the Dean of Students and kindly ask that the Z-folds be replaced with rolled towels or hot-air dryers.
Kobelah Bennah is a Green Living Representative.