Please consider the environment before using this napkin

Please consider the environment before using this napkin

Disposable napkin

A disposable napkin*

I wish napkins had this slogan written on them, with the following text on the other side:

“This napkin was once a tree, growing up in Brazil. Then it got cut down, got mixed with some toxic materials, so that it will look shiny and sell better. Then we printed on it (the text that you are reading in this very moment) – using some more toxic materials. Then it got shipped half way around the world, using some fuel. After you’ll use it, this napkin will get shipped to the nearest dumping location (using some more fuel, and polluting the air a bit more). There – it will deteriorate in the course of the next 5 years, putting all that toxic waste back into the ground. And all of this is done so that for 3 seconds you will look a bit more civilized when you eat your fettucini.”

“Please consider putting this napkin back in the stand, so that the next person sitting here will also get educated”.


I’m sure that producers of disposable dishes think that these napkins would be a bad business idea. Maybe they are right. But, these napkins can benefit us in a couple of ways:

  • They educate about “environmental footprint”.
  • Less napkins that the restaurant has to buy and manage.
  • Less toxic waste that the restaurant will produce.

I call these “guilt napkins”. Maybe another text can be used to create “educational napkins” or “good karma napkins”. Maybe these napkins shouldn’t get produced at all, and an empty “educational napkins-holder” is enough.

Just a thought.

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* In the process of writing this post, no napkins were actually disposed. This photo was downloaded from istockphoto…

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