Paper Towel Research

“I definitely think they in many ways represent how Americans think in that people are obsessed with instant gratification,” Jennings told me.The rest of the world gets by just fine without paper towels.But given that other comparably wealthy countries don’t consume nearly as much on a per capita basis, the appeal must go beyond just what people can afford.

They don’t have to be as disposable or as single-use as some people may think they are." She says it’ll be apparent when the paper towel has done all it can, “because the fibers start to break apart from each other.”While the data I found didn’t cover spending on paper towels in public or office bathrooms, I did come across evidence that they’re worse for the environment than using hand dryers.

One study was delightfully robotic in communicating this finding: “Per functional unit, which is to achieve a pair of dried hands, the dispenser product system has a greater life cycle impact than the dryer product system across three of four endpoint impact categories.”Despite these environmental concerns, many Americans at the end of the day just want to achieve a clean counter, and paper towels will likely remain their go-to: Uduslivaia, of Euromonitor, forecasts that the volume of paper towels Americans consume will stay “more or less steady” in the next several years.

K., Germany, and Italy rounded out the top five paper-towel-buying countries. In 2017, the average American spent $17.50 on paper towels.

The closest competition on this measure comes from Western and northern Europe, led by Norway at $11.70 per person.

While Euromonitor doesn’t have data on exactly how many paper towels Americans go through each year, Svetlana Uduslivaia, the company’s head of research, did tell me that Americans lead the world in the usage of “tissue products,” the umbrella category that covers paper towels. S.’s enormous appetite for paper towels, Uduslivaia pointed to America’s relatively wealthy and large population.

“A strong economy can support more spending on nonessentials like paper towels and purchases of higher-quality products,” she told me.

“They are convenient, they are absorbent, they are especially helpful in cleaning messes where something like cross-contamination could be an issue,” she says.

Perhaps the paper towel satisfies some deeper, uniquely American desire to be immediately rid of a problem, whatever the cost.

This is also the same process used in many different practical applications found in the household including evaporative coolers, humidifier filters, spills on carpet, and water soaked drywall (to just name a few).

Finally, this lesson will use investigation procedures rather than formal experimentation procedures due to the nature of the investigation.


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