I saw a poster near the hand dryer in the washroom at my office that said:

1 Tree = 20,000 paper hand towels.

Picture of poster

Is that accurate?

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    What size tree are they talking about? Trees are renewable: they are a crop – it's not always about cutting down forests. I don't get why they are supplying paper towels but saying don't use them. I hope the dryer is powered by renewable energy sources, and I wonder how much coal a power station burns to dry 20,000 pairs of hands. I don't think there is a straightforward answer to the question. Sep 4, 2023 at 17:05
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    Paper towels are often made from recycled materials: the material from one tree can be used and reused. Sep 4, 2023 at 17:38
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    @WeatherVane: You're building up a straw man in your comment when you compare the sustainability of the electric dryer to paper towels – the question is just about the "10,000 trees" claim, so answers don't have to address the energy source of the dryer. The point about recycled material is relevant, though. But partial answers in comments aren't really encouraged on this site.
    – Schmuddi
    Sep 6, 2023 at 5:58
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    @Schmuddi I'm unsure whether the question is answerable as asked, but I am also doubtful whether the original notice was posted in good faith. If the proprietor doesn't want people to use paper towels, why are they available? And if they are provided, why are they made from trees, and not from recycled fences, cardboard boxes, stationery etc? Sep 6, 2023 at 20:10


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