Cotton towel rolls – a clear triumph for the environment

Scientific study confirms that cotton towel rolls beat paper on waste, energy and the greenhouse effect.

It’s a small thing with a big impact; those who dry their hands on a cotton towel roll after washing instead of on a paper towel are actively helping to protect the environment. This is what a recent study, commissioned by the Textile Service Trade Association (WIRTEX), confirms with its unequivocal results. Cotton towel rolls produce 95% less waste than paper towels, require 48% less energy, and have an up to 29% lower global warming potential.

Every one of us dries our hands many times on a daily basis. In Germany alone, the 81 million-plus inhabitants dry their hands a phenomenal amount of times. And this happens every day. How they do this has a direct impact on the environment. The key question is “cloth or paper?” In answering this question, everyone, but in particular anyone, who uses a public washroom, is making an environmental decision. Cotton towel rolls don’t just ensure the most hygienically-clean hands, they also help the environment to shine. This was the conclusion reached by a recent sustainability study.

 The results of the study

The study, carried out in autumn 2016 and presented to the public in Frankfurt, compares the ecological effects of cotton towel rolls, virgin paper towels and recycled paper towels throughout their entire life cycle. Cultivation of raw materials, production, use, reprocessing and disposal or recycling were all taken into account. The overall comparison shows that cotton towel rolls are clearly more environmentally-friendly. They leave the virgin paper alternatives lagging behind in six out of eight categories, and recycled paper towels in seven out of eight.

Cotton towel rolls:

–      produce up to 95% less waste

–      require up to 48% less energy

–      have an up to 29% lower global warming potential

than virgin paper.

Along with the volume of waste produced, energy and global warming potential, the study also compared air pollution, summer smog formation, water consumption and the potential for acidification and overfertilisation of soils. A study in 2006 by the German Öko-Institut (Institute for Applied Ecology) had already documented the excellent environmental balance of cotton towels. Ten years later, these results were confirmed in a second study commissioned by WIRTEX.

Cotton towel rolls – a win-win for the environment and the user

Cotton towel rolls are offered as a rental service. This business model is based on the circulation principle. The rolls are collected from the customer after use, washed in accordance with strict hygiene standards, and then re-delivered. One cotton towel roll can be washed up to 125 times in its lifetime. This produces absolutely no waste. The customer has no disposal costs. If the roll has not reached the end of its days, the material can be recycled into cleaning cloths, mops or insulating material. By contrast, paper towels must be disposed of with the general waste and cannot be recycled for hygiene reasons.

For more information, please contact:
Mari Saarinen, Manager Corporate Communications, Lindström Group,, tel. +358 40 727 6482