Greenwash on hand dryers

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.

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