American inventor Steve Krengel wants to wipe out paper towel waste – and he has created just the device to achieve it – the Yowel.
Krengel has launched a Kickstarter campaign to develop a closed-loop kitchen-towel sanitising and reusing system for households and workplaces which he says can have a big impact on reducing the estimated 254 million tonnes of paper towels that are discarded as trash every year around the world.
Yowel comprises a towel dispenser with a capacity of 40 durable, long-lasting fabric towels. Used towels can be placed in a laundry bag (supplied as part of the kit) and washed with the usual household laundry.
Krengel’s patented, easy-to-fill dispenser makes it simple to grab a handful of clean, washed towels and place them back into the opening, without having to organise them in any specific way, making refills quick and easy.
Tests have shown the towels can be washed more than 100 times, which equates to more than 4000 uses.
“I was using a ton of paper towels and wondered how easy it would be to change this habit with the right system,” said Krengel.
“After I created the first Yowel prototype, my paper towel habit was transformed.”
Krengel says the statistics on the negative impacts of paper towels are eye-popping. “My goal was to make a cost-effective, sanitary product that’s also environmentally friendly.”
He cites studies showing that if every US household reduced their use of just one 70-sheet roll of paper towels, it would save more than 500,000 trees annually.
But Yowel is not just a sustainable solution – it is also cost-effective. Americans spend an average of US$120 on paper goods every year.
Preorders are being taken on Kickstarter.