Product Review: Bounty Select Size-A Paper Towels

Paper towels, on cardboard rollers, have been around for a long time. They have been a staple of most American kitchens for as long as I can remember, yet up until the past few years, all brands had one thing in common. While their overall quality and degree of absorbency varied considerably, they all were manufactured so as to require the consumer to use an entire sheet, necessary or not, each time one was needed. This apparent industry ‘standard’ meant that whether for a big job or for only a tiny need, the units of paper towel available to deal with them were in entire sheets – most commonly measuring about 11 inches square. For a few drops needing a quick clean-up, the only way to use a smaller sheet was to tear that 11 inch square by hand – a memorably messy and inexact process. Then, as though someone in R&D at one of the major paper companies reflected on their own situation in this regard at home – a new idea came on the market. The smaller sheet option. What Bounty calls it’s “Select-A-Size.” Because of what I find to be their superior absorbency as compared with seven other brands that I have used over the past two years, I have chosen to discuss Bounty’s version of this idea, although it is one that has been picked up on and made available now by other name and no-name brands as well.

When someone spills a 12 ounce glass of water, a handful of paper towels is still called for. That has not changed. However, when a small dribble spills onto the table, stove-top or counter, something far less expansive than a 121 square inch (11X11 inches) piece of absorbent paper will take care of things. It is exactly for moments like these that the Select-A-Size paper towels are just what the doctor ordered. There is absolutely nothing about the design that prohibits larger quantities from being used when needed – it simply stops the requirement that you use more than you need.

Ecologically, this is also a sensible idea. Paper, as you know, is a product of trees – some of which takes many years to grow to maturity for harvesting. Wasting paper is tantamount to cutting down more trees than we really need to. I am not approaching this as a ‘tree hugger’ who feels that trees should not be cultivated and harvested for uses like this – but I am aware that the quality of the air we breath is, in large part, a function of the oxygen ‘exhaled’ in the process of photosynthesis by green plants. More trees and plants = more good, clean air to breath. The small piece of paper towel you save may seem, in and of itself, negligible. But multiplied by the tens of thousands of paper towel users who might, if they gave this product a try, convert and wind up using less paper – well that adds up to a meaningful amount. These rolls are available either singly (as pictured) or in various sized multi-packs up to and including 20-roll packages sold at discount warehouse stores nationally.

Use what you need and try to keep it to that. Bounty Select-A-Size paper towels, in their own small way, help us do a better job of managing the minute parts of our world’s resources that we consume in our own homes. Give them a try! You may be as surprised as I initially was to discover how often a smaller piece of paper will do the job entirely well.

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