The manufacture of paper towels has a huge impact on the environment.
For every ton of paper towels:
- 7000 gallons of water are polluted
- 17 full grown trees are cut down
- 464 gallons of oil are burned
- 42 gallons of gasoline are burned.
(Madsen 2007 report - Life cycle assessment of tissue products).
The use of paper towels means a vast amount of waste is created, which also impacts on the environment as most are non-biodegradable and need to go to land fill or be incinerated.
High speed hand dryers have a much smaller impact on the environment than paper towels.
With fast drying times and high-speed energy efficient motors, High Speed hand dryers can be up to
95% cheaper than using paper towels and up to 70% cheaper to run than conventional hand dryers
calculated on 1000 dries at 10p per kW/hour of electricity
With highly contagious infections (such as e-coli) always in the news, hygiene is a large priority for facilities managers, making touch-free washroom fixtures an essential requirement.
There is a high risk of cross-contamination when people come into contact with toilets and urinals. Crank handles, push buttons or any type of manual operation on paper towel dispensers and hand dryers also spread bacteria.
Touch-free hand dryers help reduce this cross-contamination and also avoid generating contaminated waste from used paper towels.
When High speed hand dryers are installed in a washroom, there are:
- No paper towel dispensers to refill
- No running out of paper towels
- No re-ordering or storing fresh paper towels
- No waste receptacles to empty
This reduces the staff costs involved in maintaining high-quality washroom standards.
Washrooms with paper towels require regular waste collection in order to avoid overflowing waste receptacles.
Waste paper towels are often used by vandals to cause blockages in toilets and sinks and also to litter washroom areas so installing Hand Dryers reduces the risk of this type of vandalism and saves on the associated plumbing costs.
In addition to the problems associated with waste disposal, the use of paper towels in washrooms requires ongoing re-stocking which involves transportation which in turn increases the carbon footprint associated with paper towel use.
When all the environmental costs of manufacturing either paper towels or electric hand dryers are translated into the greenhouse gas emissions that trap heat in the atmosphere,ClimateConservancy.org states that paper towels leave a carbon footprint of 56g greenhouse gas emissions, while hand dryers are responsible for 9g to 40g greenhouse gas emissions.