America is undergoing an epidemic of ick. While 92 percent of us agree that washing one’s hands after conducting other business in the bathroom should happen, only about 66 percent of people actually do it.
Something equally distasteful: Recycled paper towels are part of the scenario, which people find familiar and comforting. But many bathrooms are not maintained adequately. This means those used towels fall out of waste bins and clutter floors. It’s a bacterial playground.
There's also the idea that recycled paper towels are more sustainable. But any assumptions that those towels somehow go back into a continuous loop of recycle-reuse are mistaken. They aren’t – after a single use paper towels head off to a landfill. Surprisingly, the high-velocity hand dryers are greener. The dryer in this article, the Excel Dryer XLERATOR, has a lower carbon footprint than both recycled paper towels and the traditional low-speed air dryers (i.e., the type that take too long to dry so people dry their hands off on their pants). This was studied with a thorough life cycle assessment, which included an accounting of electrical sources. Even if power is generated by coal-burning plants, the electric hand dryers beat recycled paper towels.
What’s notable in this case is the dryer is located IN the sink, a one-stop-wash-n-dry, so to speak. This added layer of convenience – plus the aesthetic novelty of a three-nozzle sink deck – might compel more people to adopt more hygienic habits. Let’s hope so.
Russ Klettke writes about all kinds of business: sustainability issues, healthcare, the law, infrastructure, real estate, food and fitness. Contact him to discuss your business writing needs.
Photo courtesy of Excel Dryer