Old Enemies - Hand Dryers vs Paper Towels - Which is Greener

Old Enemies - Hand Dryers vs Paper Towels - Which is Greener

Old Enemies – Hand-Dryers v Paper Towels – Which is Greener?

Climate Change and Global Warming are most definitely real and not 'Fake News'. So now that most of the World’s leaders have caught up with this reality, and are focused on what we need to do to slow down the damage, it is also up to businesses and consumers to stop and think where we can make a difference and live a ‘Greener’ life.

The argument of which is better for the environment, hand-dryers or paper towels, has been researched and debated for years, and realistically the findings sometimes just come down to which side commissioned the research.

This article presents some interesting facts of why using a hand-dryer, rather than a paper towel, is more environmentally-friendly to the world, which seems like a good enough reason to us.

Did you know:

Paper Towels cannot be recycled – Although paper towels can be made from recycled paper, they cannot be recycled as they are usually the last paper product in the chain to be made. This means that the paper they are made from has been recycled up to seven times previously and now the fibres are too broken down to be used again. Paper towels then become contaminated waste and will all end up in landfill.  

Decomposing paper towels in landfills contribute to global warming - In the USA alone, 6.5 billion tons of paper towels are sent to landfills each year. The decay of paper products and landfills in general, produce methane gas which is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide, therefore a real threat to global warming.

Paper Towels (as reported by The Climate Conservancy) have an average of 56 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per use, whereas hand-dryers cause between 9 and 40 grams of carbon dioxide per use.

The process of converting trees into paper towels i.e. logging, milling and transporting materials, consumes a lot more fossil fuels than the manufacturing and transportation of hand-dryers, which usually only need replaced every 10 years or so.

In 2011, Dyson funded a study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where scientists reported the environmental impacts of the manufacture, use and disposal of paper towels against that of hand-dryers. When every step of the process is taken into consideration (mining the ore to make the metal of a hand dryer, making paper towels out of trees, transporting the products and disposing of them), it was found that paper towels can generate as much as 70% more emissions than the most efficient hand-dryer on the market.

So with all this in mind, next time you find yourself in a bathroom where you have the option, think ‘Green’ and use the hand-dryer and play your part in the fight against Climate Change.


Written by Claire O’Sullivan

23rdJuly 2019

Sources: www.greenschoolalliance.org, www.intelligenthanddryers.com, www.theguardian.com

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