Nestor Chayelle: [Nestor Chayelle] Paper tower or hand dryer?

Green alternatives to our planet

When we reach the drying area in a public bathroom, we don’t know if it is a greener option to use the paper towel or electric dryer.

When you go to a public bathroom and wash your hands, you come to dry them and you find two options: Paper tower and hand dryer, but suddenly you remember that you want to contribute to sustainability. So you ask yourself: which one should I use? If you want greener alternatives, you will ask: Is the paper towels recycled or made out from trees? The electric dryer is long-blowing or power-saving? Only Life-Cycle Analysis can show the real impact that these items have on the environment.
The simple action of drying hands can create or not sustainability. So which alternative is environmentally friendly, paper towel or electric dryer? Life-Cycle Analysis is a method that can identify life-cycle environmental impacts of products and services. This includes materials, manufacturing, transport, use, disposals and others.
This method identifies the heat parts of the life cycle that have higher impacts. So what is the environmental impact of paper towel and hand drying systems? The analysis shows that both options have very small impact on the environment compared to the rest of the life cycle. These results include the materials, manufacturing, and disposal of electric dryers and towel dispensers.
This is explained by the fact that we use dryers and dispensers many times before their replacement. However, we consume either electricity or paper every time we use them. So the environmental impact is related to how much energy is consumed by the hand dryer and how much and what type of paper towel we use.
So the question still remains about which one could be the greenest option. In the case of paper, it’s important the weight and number of paper towels used per dry. In the case of the electric dryer, it depends on the power rating and the length of time for drying using.
However, in recent years new dryers have been created. They use non-heated rapid air stream, which is an environmentally friendly alternative. In the future, towels may become lighter and smaller. So by evaluating the whole system of these options we can make a better decision that benefits the environment.
– Nestor Chayelle

By Nestor Chayelle