It is hard to believe that everything we do in life has long lasting effects on our world for generations to come. There are environmental implications apparent in something as minute as what we should use to dry our hands after using the restroom. Do we use a bathroom hand dryer or paper towels? There are some things you just do not think about when you are doing it and that is why we have the environmental concerns that we do. If we do not start paying attention to the little things in our environment, future generations will not have an environment to enjoy.
Paper Towels Use Many Resources
The production, usage, and disposal of paper towels have had a devastating environmental impact. There is a large amount of fossil fuel consumed while logging, milling, and transporting the materials for the production of paper towels. There are 51,000 trees cut down to replace the number of paper towels used in a single day. They also require constant replenishment so the delivery costs to the end user is constant. Then there is literally tons of trash created, which are often handled in the dreaded plastic bags on their way to the landfill. There are actually 3000 tons of paper towels thrown away each day in the United States and poisonous methane gas is produced as they decompose. Paper is normally the largest contributor to landfills, especially in the United States.
Comparison to Hand Dryers
There have been studies done on a five-year comparison of the fossil fuel used between a bathroom hand dryer and paper towels. You can compare the fossil fuel usage for production, transportation, and electricity of the hand dryers to driving 3169 miles in an automobile. The same comparison was done for paper towels and resulted in driving an automobile 9000 miles. There was almost three times the fossil fuel usage with paper towel consumption than with using the hand dryers installed in restrooms.
Over time, reports have shown that the bathroom hand dryer costs two-tenths of a cent per use as compared to 1.5 cents per use for paper towels. That is considerable savings if you take into consideration how many dryers are installed in the world.
After reviewing all of the facts, it is obvious that hand dryers are a much less expensive option than paper towels. The cost difference is even greater if the hand dryers are installed in high traffic areas. The production of paper towels contributes to deforestation, water pollution, and global warming. The environment is a lot better off if we limit the use of paper towels and opt for the use of bathroom hand dryers.