Health Is Beauty

BYO People Towel: Chic Japanese Style Hand Towel Saves Trees


Guest Post by: Imperfectly Green

It might have started with the cult-like obsession with Anya Hindmarch’s “I’m Not A Plastic Bag” canvas tote spotted on Keira Knightly’s arm, but reusable shopping bags are not the only BYO (bring your own!) garbage-reducer out there.

Along with aluminum and stainless steel water bottles (which SIGG took to the next level with their slick design and aesthetically appealing graphics and activist art), and the original, stainless steel, BPA-free Klean Kanteen variety, is the the latest addition to the B.Y.O eco-accessory – PeopleTowels. These reusable alternatives to disposable paper towels are intended for use out and about in public restrooms, a concept borrowed from Japan where the conservation-minded public has been carrying their own reusable hand towels for decades. In fact, most public restrooms there don’t even have the disposable option available.

PeopleTowels are attractive too, with clean, simple graphics featuring advocacy based images and messages. I’d like to see some interesting, repeating patterns and maybe even some background color options like grey, beige, and black in addition to the white. They’re easy to clip to a purse, where it’s in sight as a reminder to use it, and the fresh air helps it dry a little faster. It’s great at boot camp to mop up sweat, or to use while on the trail or working up a sweat on the elliptical. I get a few curious looks and questions when it’s clipped to my purse, but I can almost see the light- bulb go on when I explain what it is.

Sure, you could carry a dish towel or wash cloth around to dry your hands, but PeopleTowels are made from a patent-pending fabric (100% organic and Fair Trade I might add) that is lightweight, compact and fast drying, designed to perform as paper towel alternative. Added to that is the power of setting an example, creating a visual cue, communicating your conservation values and practices through what you wear, or use, which aesthetics often play a role when it comes to influencing peers, wider adoption, growing demand, trend setting…one more example of how eco-fashion, even in the form of a reusable hand towel accessory, has the power to effect positive change.

What’s your eco-accessory of choice? Let us know in the comments below, and our three favorite responses will win a 2 Day Supply of PeopleTowels. Giveaway open through Monday, October 25th, 2011.


Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.