Penn asked a question about how I avoid paper towels in public places:
This little 4-to-5-minute video is indeed quirky and fun, if you're into this kind of thing (which apparently Penn and I are!) Mr. Smith claims that Americans use 13 billion pounds of paper towels every year. By reducing this amount, we could "save" (which really means "no longer waste") 571,230,000 pounds. He says people tend to take 3 towels in a public bathroom; he shows how to do the drying job with just one towel via this little routine: Shake hands 12 times, fold the one towel, and dry. He's a cheerful connoisseur of public paper towels, and demonstrates his routine with no fewer than 5 different kinds of public-bathroom paper towels.
When I'm traveling, I usually have a travel scarf with me. It was initially designed as beach wrap (it's about 3 feet by 6 feet, but scrunches up nice and small, too). I use it while I'm on the road as a blanket, scarf, shawl, you-have-it. Douglas Adams, who advised intergalactic hitchhikers to always carry a towel, would probably approve. So in airport and hotel restrooms, I tend to dry my hands on this scarf, which itself dries very quickly.
What do you do in public bathrooms? I think that would warrant a post. I know some people carry little cloths for wiping up. My favorite ted talk is actually about public restroom paper towels. It's by Joe Smith and called "how to use a paper towel." I recommend it!
Me, I'm not about to make a you tube video telling people to avoid paper towels entirely (although I do avoid them myself, and I do think that Mr. Smith is kind of nerdy adorable). So don't think of what I'm about to say as proscriptive; it's really a glimpse at what I do.
Okay, I know this gets a little odder, here. During the summer, when I'm in my office and using the restrooms there, I like to wipe my hands on my legs and arms. I don't rub hard or anything; I just swipe once -- but our skin has a lot of surface area, so it's quick and effective. This not only gets my hands dry, but it also adds moisture (and a bit of cooling) to my arms and legs.
In the winter, when my skin is more covered up, I'll still use what skin I have (face and neck), and then I admit I either walk around with wet hands for the next minute while they air dry, or I'll wipe my hands on my clothes. This, I know, is not an option for other people.
By the way, my office restrooms don't have paper towels as an option; they have those high-efficiency air blowers. I hate the noise of those things, and I only use them extremely infrequently (like, if I'm carrying paper handouts that would be rumpled by my wet hands).
And . . . that's how my hands dry when I'm away from home.