Submitted by: T.M. Answered by: Phil Riebel 01/11/2012
The nameplates on electric hand dryers in public restrooms irk me. They claim environmental superiority and tell the user they are saving trees.Has anyone done a life cycle analysis on these things and compared it to a corresponding LCA on paper towels?
You are not the only person who is annoyed by these claims. LCA is the right tool to get the full picture and to date I have only seen one or two such studies but I don't believe they had the rigour and peer-review that a proper LCA should have. I will send you what I have. From a very general point of view it should be noted that:
- hand dryers are made with non-renewable materials
- they use electricity which is often generated using fossil fuels, especially in the U.S.
- their recycling rate is likely not very good
On these three points alone, the paper industry has a much better story, as explained on our web site.
Thanks for your question.