After we remodeled our kitchen in 1993, I got out of the habit of using paper towels. We hadn't thought about where a paper towel holder would go when G specified a tile backsplash in the new kitchen, so our wall-mounted towel holder from the old kitchen wasn't a good option. For a while, I had a free-standing holder but got tired of one more thing on the counter, so I put it away. I still have a roll of paper towels on hand for particularly icky cleanups, but it takes six months to a year these days for me to go through a roll.
In public restrooms, though, there often isn't an alternative to paper towels, short of leaving with dripping hands or wiping my hands on my clothes, so I use the paper towels without thinking about it.
Here's an ingenious method to reduce the number of towels you need to dry your hands when out. Evidently, 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used each year in the U.S. And using one less per day would save more than 571 million pounds of paper towels in a year. Most of us take multiple sheets of towels because one doesn't do the job well enough. But there is a way to make just one towel work.
All this comes from an Earth911.com e-newsletter, and their source is a TEDx talk by an Oregonian named Joe Smith.
I'm hoping that the next time I reach for a paper towel to dry my hands, I remember this simple technique: