To produce one ton of paper towels, 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water are used. In the United States, over 3,000 tons of paper towel waste is generated daily.
The development of paper towels is believed to have begun in 1907 when a teacher cut sheets of paper into small squares to help reduce the spread of illness in his classroom. The first paper towels were named Sani-Towels because they were used in place of cloth towels. Each person now uses an average of 2,400 to 4,000 paper towels every year, and disposing of paper towels adds millions of pounds of trash to landfills.