bare feet in the sand

the beauty of nature in a consumer economy

Paper Towels or Electric Hand Dryer?

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I went to the gym yesterday and before working out I washed my hands.  Then I was faced with a dilemma.  It’s a dilemma that we all face whether we think about it or not.  How do I dry my hands?  The options at my gym are paper towel or air blade hand dryer.  At my house I use a towel that I throw in the wash every few weeks.  I feel good about the lack of energy and carbon footprint from that.  But a towel wasn’t an option this afternoon.  So I decided to do research.  Of course, it all depends.  It depends on the type of air dryer.  It depends on how long you take to dry your hands with an air dryer.  It depends on whether the paper towels were made from recycled paper, and whether the company replaces the trees they cut down.   But the prevailing wisdom seems to be that air dryers are in fact more green than paper towels.  And the better and newer the air dryer, the faster it dries your hands, the less energy it uses.  (Unfortunately, I also discovered that for those most concerned about the spread of bacteria, paper towels do a better job of preventing that.)

Here are some of my sources:

Slate has an answer here: How to Keep Your Paws Clean and Green

One of my favorite blogs has an answer too:  Treehugger

Here’s another answer:  The Straight Dope

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