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Paper Towels or Hand-Dryer?

19 December 2011

When it comes to doing what is best for the environment what do you choose – paper or hand-dryer?  Luckily, a detailed study at MIT has an answer for us – great, right?!  The study takes into account the entire life cycle of each option – everything from the amount of water used in manufacturing and energy production to transportation. So, what did they find?   The least amount of environmental impact comes from high-efficiency hand dryers such as Airblade and XLerator, while traditional warm hand-dryers have the highest impact. The best thing that I learned from this study is that when there is a choice between a traditional warm air-dryers and paper towels – pick paper towels. This is because traditional warm hand-dryers use so much energy during use. My assumption that using less paper was better no matter what is wrong- you learn new things every day! Another interesting tidbit: we often use more water drying our hands than actually washing them. The graph below shows the amount of water used in each option. ::Article

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