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Why Use a Handkerchief?

“It’s 2012, why should I use a handkerchief?”

I hear this comment a lot. Many people point out their grandparents or parents used one, even that they grew up having to iron their parents hankies. But they fell out of favor. And fair enough, not everyone likes the idea. 

But there most certainly  is a place for handkerchiefs in the 21st century. Even more strongly, I think the HankyBook is just the right form for it.

The second half of the 20th century was a golden age for disposable goods. Mounds of waste built up in landfills. Our oceans filled with plastic and paper goods that were used once and then thrown away. Today, 80% of everything we buy is used once and then discarded, abandoned to an eternity of waste, occupying space with no purpose, poisoning land and water.

It doesn’t need to be that way.

We can choose not to cut down millions of trees every year for facial tissues. We can choose not to use thousands of tissues for our allergies and colds, buying case after case of mostly virgin fiber paper and throwing it away.

We can choose to abandon these wasteful ways and find ourselves in a culture than values sustainability over disposability, reusing over repurchasing, long term health over quick fixes, real solutions over hi-tech gambles.

Handkerchiefs fit into the conscious, sustainable way of life as naturally as composting, growing vegetables, and any other principle of the modern eco-friendly life. Our grandparents used them because they were a part of the culture, the way it was done. We can reclaim that part of our pasts and help the next generation live the right way, without wasting, without polluting, consciously and conveniently.

That’s why the handkerchief does belong to life, in 2012 and beyond.

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