We’ve all seen it: the public restroom trash can overflowing with crumpled paper towels, guaranteed to give any eco-minded person a headache. But PeopleTowels has created a solution to our wasteful ways. The company designed a reusable personal hand towel made from 100 percent organic, fair trade cotton. If one in four American adults switched from paper towels to PeopleTowels for one year, they would eliminate CO2 emissions equivalent to 815,000 cars and save enough trees to cover the state of Alaska.

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Designed by Mary Wallace, PeopleTowels are created from a special cotton blend that is durable, lightweight, absorbent and fast-drying. Wallace found her inspiration for PeopleTowels in Japan, where most public restrooms don’t have paper towels, so on-the-go personal hand towels are the norm. She decided to improve upon the eco-friendly practice by creating an eco-friendly towel. The cotton is purchased from the Chetna Project, a collective of fair trade organic farms in India, and the towels are produced according to the Global Organic Textile Standards, which ensure that the process meets the highest social, environmental, and quality standards.

The towels are only 9 x 9 inches, making them ideal for carrying in your purse or pocket, and they are printed with earth friendly dyes in an abundance of designs that appeal to all tastes and styles. Each towel has a hang tag on the back, so you can clip it to your backpack or belt loop for easy access. Because they are machine washable, just one PeopleTowel can replace your paper towels for years.

PeopleTowels are available for purchase in stores across the United States, as well as on the company’s website, where you can mix and match designs to create your perfect set. Have a design in mind for your own towel? Enter Inhabitat’s contest and your design could soon be for sale!

+ PeopleTowels

Photo credits: PeopleTowels