The short answer
towelzies are better for the environment because
they replace the need to use both cotton or microfiber towels which are both bad for the environment and unsustainable.
Replace the need to continually launder towels – this saves energy, saves water, reduces wastewater discharge into the environment and reduces greenhouse gases.
The longer answer
Current production methods are unsustainable and are very harmful to the environments where cotton is grown in. It takes up to 20,000 litres of irrigated water to produce 1kg of cotton, and while cotton only uses 2.4% of the worlds arable crop land, it uses 25% of the world’s insecticides and 11% of the world’s pesticides.
Major fashion retailers are responding to this by offering a premium to purchase “organic cotton” in an effort to enable smaller growers to switch away from chemicals. Unfortunately, 99% of cotton is grown at an industrial scale (often using GMO crops) that rely on a massive overuse of water and chemicals.
For more information see : https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/cotton
These have become popular for some salons in New Zealand – unfortunately – they are a lot worse than cotton for the environment.
Microfiber towels (like synthetic fabrics used in clothes) are made from petrochemical derived polyesters and polyimides. Each time these towels are washed, they produce 100,000’s of tiny microplastics – which are discharged into the wastewater system. Microplastics are too small to be removed by wastewater treatment plants, so they end up in local rivers, oceans and the atmosphere
This has resulted in the spread of trillions of microplastics all over the planet, which is a serious environmental problem the world is just waking up to. These microplastics are eaten by fish, which are eaten by humans. Microplastics are now polluting our water supply – with tests confirming microplastics are now found in most bottled waters, beer, wine and tap water – all with unknown human health consequences.
For more information google "microfiber pollution" and prepared to be shocked, or see https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/mar/14/plastic-microfiber-pollution-clothes-washing-solutions
The electricity used to wash and dry towels is supplied from generators creating greenhouse gas CO2 – this is also generated when waste water treatment plants clean detergent and bleach contaminated wastewater. Depending on the number of towels being washed and the wash temperature – CO2 emissions from laundering towels in a salon range from 0.5 to 2.0 tonnes CO2/year – which is about the same as driving a car for 3 – 12000 km.
Washing in cold water results in a lower CO2 emission, but will not sterilise towels or kill the bacteria and viruses that grow on towels.
Towelzies are made entirely from cellulose, which is produced from wood pulp sourced from sustainably certified farmed forests (like New Zealand Radiata forests). Unlike cotton, plantation forests require no irrigated water, pesticides or insecticides, have a very low environmental impact.
Unlike microfiber, fabric made from pure cellulose is completely natural and biodegradable, and does not pollute oceans or enter the human food chain.
Towelzies do not require the ongoing and constant re-washing, disinfecting and drying that cotton and microfiber towels do, and so do not generate the environmental impact this has.
Please see the Towelzies sustainability section of this website.