A Massachusetts-based research university study reveals the most sustainable way to completely dry hands.
A Massachusetts-based research university study has proven that the Dyson Airblade hand dryer is the most sustainable way to completely dry hands. According to a comprehensive life cycle analysis, paper towels and warm air hand dryers have the highest environmental toll, generating 70 percent or more carbon emissions than the Dyson Airblade hand dryer. Rather than warm air, the Dyson Airblade hand dryer uses sheets of cool, clean air to literally scrape water from hands.
The report’s researchers found that the environmental impact of recycled towels equals that of virgin paper towels in a number of environmental measures, including carbon dioxide emissions and water consumption. According to the research, recycled and virgin towels both generate over three times more carbon emissions than the Dyson Airblade hand dryer – creating waste, consuming more energy and using more water.
According to Dyson, if every person in Australia visited the restroom just once a day for one year and used two paper towels each time, there would be enough paper waste to cover Melbourne Cricket Ground (which is the biggest stadium in the world at 25,000 square metres) 26,000 times, or the entire Sydney Harbour (which is the largest natural harbour in the world at 55 square kilometres) 11 times.
And, the company notes, that waste accounts for only a fraction of recycled paper’s carbon footprint – 65 percent is created during manufacturing due to the energy, chemicals and water used. Yet, paper towels are still the most widely used method in Australia’s public restrooms, it states.
The environmental impact of warm air hand dryers occurs during use, it adds. Energy-hungry heating elements and inefficient motors tip the sustainability scales, making warm air dryers up to 80 percent less energy efficient than the Dyson Airblade hand dryer, according to the study.
To download the executive summary of the research, visit msl.mit.edu/publications/HandDryingLCA-ExecutiveSummary.pdf and to download the full report, visit msl.mit.edu/publications/HandDryingLCA-Report.pdf. To view an animation of the life cycle analysis, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpKQQopMFlA&feature=channel_video_title.