The Return of the Boo-Hiss Awards

by Katy on May 11, 2010 · 25 comments

It’s time again to roll out the garbage picked red carpet for the fabulous, glamorous and downright fantabulous Boo-Hiss Awards. So book your stylist and draw up a vial of botulism, because the day you’ve been waiting for is finally here.

The first Boo-Hiss Award goes to Kleenex, who recently unrolled disposable hand towels designed to replace the germy hand towel in your bathroom. Didn’t know that your hand towel, which can be used and reused hundreds of times was dangerous to your family? Well, Kleenex did:

“The CDC guidelines for hand washing recommends hand drying with a single-use towel. Families have not had a practical alternative to traditional cloth hand towels in their home bathrooms… until now.”

I was unable to find the fiber content of the Kleenex hand towels, although all their other paper products boast of their 100% virgin fiber content. Yup, no sluttiness in the Kleenex family of paper products!

So Boo-Hiss to you, Kleenex. For replacing a reusable product with a disposable one, and for trying to scare us into buying your product.

The second Boo-Hiss Award goes to the Eco Plant-It Grow Kit, which is a teeny tiny spruce tree inside of a plastic ball. Yes, it is a ball made from 100% recycled plastic, but it is plastic nonetheless. Plastic, which has a depressingly low recycling rate. Plastic, which essentially lasts forever. Plastic, which is made from petrochemicals that are harmful in ways we haven’t even found out about yet. Plastic.

I spied this primo example of greenwashing at the Fred Meyer next to house the other day and it caught my eye because “eco” and “plastic” aren’t exactly match made in heaven. Peanut butter and Jelly, yes. Has-been celebrities and reality TV, yes. Even eco-geeks and backyard chickens, you betcha’!  But “Eco” and “Plastic?” Puh-leez!

Eco Plant-It Grow Kit, you are greenwashing at its worst. Boo-Hiss!

The last Boo-Hiss Award goes to BP, a.k.a. British Petroleum, for spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

As a mother, what else can I say besides you need to clean up your spills, but it’s better to have not spilled in the first place. Boo-Hiss on you, BP!

Do you have any products to nominate for a Boo-Hiss Award? Please do share in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen May 11, 2010 at 10:13 am

I’ve been seeing coupons for these Kleenex towels everywhere.
Even FREE, I wouldn’t buy them. Completely pointless, unless you are forced to use a men’s bathroom at a truck stop….but certainly not at home!!


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl May 11, 2010 at 11:03 am

Oh, I was SO going to post about those Kleenex towels next week, because I can’t stand the idea either. I probably still will, because maybe some of my readers don’t read your blog. lol

And you can never complain too much about disposable hand towels anyways. =P


Katy May 11, 2010 at 11:20 am


I would notice if your 32,000 readers were reading my blog.




Kristen@TheFrugalGirl May 13, 2010 at 2:41 am



Megan May 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I was appalled when I saw those hand towels! What a waste. I might go see if I can double check that CDC source though.


Molly On Money May 11, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I’m feeling pretty sassy that I found out about this product on your website and NOT through a Kleenex marketing campaign or walking the aisles of Target. Thanks for spreading the word!


Jennifer May 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I saw the title of your post and *knew* you were going to be talking about those Kleenex towels. I saw the commercial first the day after Earth Day. Great timing Kleenex! What a horrible, horrible product. I never knew how dirty our just-washed hands were. I hope they make some disposable bath towels soon. I guess I can just wash them after every shower. I love how they have the box sitting on top of the towel bar in the commercial too, how tacky.


Megan May 11, 2010 at 1:42 pm

So I did a quick search of the CDC website for single-use towel mentions and the only hit I got was in reference to handwashing guidelines on a cruise ship or similar type of vessel. Since I (maybe unfortunately) don’t live on a cruise ship as don’t most Americans I think Kleenex’s use of that recommendation is yet another example
of big companies telling the truth but not the whole truth. In a household where a family routinely shares germs everday via various means, using a disposable towel is not going to decrease transmission significantly. Plus even my family doctor admits that our immune systems are “used” to the germs in our house so we don’t need this product in then first place unless you plan on setting sail with hundreds of other people in your house anytime soon. What’s next the disposable bath towel?


Katy May 11, 2010 at 1:46 pm


Thanks for looking that up. My family hardly ever gets sick, which I chalk up to my slovenly housekeeping skills. What a favor I’m doing for my kids!



Jackie B. May 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Well I’m glad to see I’m not the only one take aback by the Kleenex towel.

Marketers really like to play on our fear of not caring enough about our families to shame us into buying whatever they are selling. How did the human race survive this long using disgusting fabric towels!!!

I remember the towels that all the gas stations had when I was a kid. A giant spool of fabric that you yanked on to roll it down to the clean part. Then the next person pulled down to another dry, fresh section. Then they laundered it and rolled it back onto the spool.

Oh, but that was gross, right.


Stacee M May 11, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Love it!

I was floored when I saw that Kleenex commercial! Really?????

Boo-Hiss is right 🙂


Karen May 11, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Thanks for checking on that CDC research, Megan! Kleenex’s use of it sounded bogus to begin with, but now we know. I teach people how to use research in writing, and I just added this as an irresponsible use of it.

Isn’t it ironic that we would be encouraged to be healthy by using virgin forest products…during a cruise? Cruises are astonishingly unhealthy, both in terms of the food they supply and the horrible effect on the environment, i.e. dumping of waste at sea etc. Love the logic.


Elizabeth B May 11, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Fail, Kleenex. Fail. FAAAAAIIL.


Tammy May 12, 2010 at 4:53 am

Disposable duster cloths. What’s wrong with a rag or feather duster? Also those disposable dry/wet mop things. I crochet my own or what about the ol’ dust mop that you just shake out? And they are all REALLY expensive – like they are value-added and you NEED these things. Amazing.


Jinger May 12, 2010 at 5:04 am

BP deserves far more than a BOO HISS for the Gulf oil disaster. The region is barely recovering from the greatest natural disaster to hit our country, Hurricane Katrina, and now is faced with the greatest environmental disaster that will affect everyone in the USA.


Tonya May 12, 2010 at 5:28 am

I think another product that qualifies is that huge plastic hand soap dispenser that’s supposedly “good for your family” because it’s hands free. The marketing is basically along the lines of – “Do you know how many germs the average hand soap dispenser pump carries? Buy our huge, plastic dispenser, it’s hands free!!”

Yep, guess what folks. When you get germs on your hand from dispensing hand soap, you then proceed to WASH THEM OFF when you wash your hands.


Beth D. May 12, 2010 at 6:01 am

I think Kleenex may be referring to this article from the CDC which has recommendations for HEALTH CARE workers:

It says, “When washing hands with soap and water, wet hands first with water, apply an amount of product recommended by the manufacturer to hands, and rub hands together vigorously for at least 15 seconds, covering all surfaces of the hands and fingers. Rinse hands with water and dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.”

Of course Katy knows this because she is a nurse that hand-washing guidelines for hospitals are far different than for home settings. The reason for the disposable towel in the hospital is that the remaining bacteria and spores after hand washing are not killed until they dry out completely, so re-using a damp towel would aid in the spread of deadly bacteria in the hospital.

That being said, I saw the commercial for Kleenex and was instantly repulsed! How dare they compare the amount and type of bacteria in our homes to what is seen in a hospital setting, and how dare they prey on people’s fear of sickness to sell the dumbest use of paper in the world? I can’t even imagine the thought process that would allow someone to bring these into their homes.


Beth D. May 12, 2010 at 6:10 am

Come to think of it, this product: really ticks me off.

My friend had one on her baby shower registry and I asked about it, not having children myself. Apparently, disposable plastic diapers are by themselves so disgusting that used ones need to be wrapped in a 2nd plastic bag before you can throw them in the landfill!


Katy May 12, 2010 at 7:21 am

Holy crap! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. 😉 )

First time parents get caught up in the idea that they can’t effectively parent without all this weird and specific stuff. I took the Japanese T.A. who was living with us to a Baby’s R Us store to buy a baby shower gift a few years ago and was absolutely disgusted with what I saw. Hmm . . . I think this subject needs its own blog post.



namastemama May 12, 2010 at 11:18 am

OMG! How did I ever survive diapering 2 children without this product? What a pile of crap – pun intended.


Karen Pancoast May 12, 2010 at 1:15 pm

We have a piano studio where over 100 different people come to our studio each week, so the concept of single use towels makes some sense. But the disposable part doesn’t make sense to me. So….in the bathroom which the students use, we have single use towels, but they aren’t disposable. I bought a 24-pak of plain white washcloths at Costco for $9.00. I put two baskets beside the sink – one with folded clean washcloths and the other basket for the “dirty” towels. I have used that same set of 24 washcloths for the past 5 years and they are going strong. I originally got this idea from using the washroom at a very high class hotel that had small linen handtowels in the same set of two baskets – clean and dirty.


Jane May 13, 2010 at 2:19 am

If I can add another one, I saw zip lock baggies today with cute little environmental messages on them. If you’re going to educate kids about recycling etc, could you do it on a product that isn’t made of plastic and designed for single use?


Katy May 13, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Too funny!



Michelle May 16, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Good for you on the Kleenex Boo Hiss! Every time I see that commercial, I’m tempted to drive something sharp into my hand. Well, not really, but it’s just MADDENING!


Donna Freedman May 19, 2010 at 7:26 pm

When I saw the coupon for those disposable hand towels on Sunday I just shook my head. But it’s the same marketing machine that brought us paper cups for the home.
I don’t like the disposable toilet-cleaning brushes, either.
Or how about “biodegradable” dog-poop bags: Don’t they need air and sunlight to biodegrade? Will they really break down in a landfill?
No doubt there are other “you’re kidding, right?” products out there that would horrify me — but I don’t have a television and I rarely if ever go into the cleaning products aisle, so I will remain blissfully ignorant.


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