by ERIC JAFFE
Researchers have figured out how to create (almost) perfect towel reuse signs by exploiting a common human foible.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency started a program to reduce hotel water consumption called the H2Otel Challenge. In addition to installing new equipment, such as water-efficient toilets, faucets, and shower heads, hotels are encouraged to give guests the option of reusing their towels and sheets with those little signs that have become ubiquitous across the United States. You know, the ones that look like this:
What the EPA doesn’t mention (at least in its factsheets available online) is that the wording used in designing these signs matters–a lot.