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The Greenest Way to Go Dry: Which is the Most Environment-Friendly Hand Drying Solution?

Alsco is a leading provider of fully-managed washroom services in Australia. They have a blog called 'Greenroom' where they help businesses create healthier, safer and greener workplaces. And they are delighted to contribute this article for Going Green Solutions. 

which is the most environment-friendly hand drying solution?

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There are several factors that need to be considered in connection with the hand drying solution to be used in your washroom. Those factors include the cost, effectiveness and its environmental impact.

Are you in the process of choosing the best hand hygiene solution for your washroom? Do not miss out on the opportunity to check out washroom hygiene systems that you can rent.

There are plenty of choices out there for hand drying solutions, but which one is the greenest, most environment-friendly hand drying solution?

We have come up with a guide that you can use for making an informed choice about the most environment-friendly washroom solution for you, with the environmental impact of the solution as the main consideration.

Which is the Greenest of Them All?

There are three hand drying solutions that are commonly used right now. These are the following:

- Hot air dryer

- Paper towels

- Cotton towels

Each solution has its advantages and disadvantages. Some washrooms use more than one solution. For example, a washroom might have a paper towel dispenser and still have a hot air dryer. Having more than one solution is not very cost effective.

There is still an ongoing debate as to which is better better between cloth and paper towels. If you are running a business, the best thing to do is to find the most effective hand drying solution and then to stick to that.

Blowing it All Away: Hot Air Dryer

The use of a hot air dryer is seen by some as the best hand drying solution from an environmental point of view, because it can effectively remove moisture without having to produce waste materials.

A hot air dryer is constantly available and the only time that it cannot be used is if the device breaks down.

There are those who do not see the use of hand dryers as environmentally friendly. While it does not use up paper, the device runs on electricity and its constant use on a daily basis means that it will eat up a large amount of energy.

On top of the fact the negative environmental impact of electric hand dryers, there are those who point out that blasting the hands with hot air will not be very effective in removing all the moisture.

Most people are familiar with this when they have walked away from a dryer with their hands still wet. It takes about half a minute to remove most of the residual moisture from the hands using a hot air dryer.

Half a minute can be  a very long time and most users might not be patient enough to wait that long.

Smooth or Rough: Paper Towels

The use of paper towels in washrooms is preferred by some because it does not use up electricity. That is the main advantage of paper towels from an environmental point of view. On top of that, it is also more effective when it comes to drying hands.

It has been mentioned that hot air dryers take about 30 seconds to effectively dry the hands of a user. Paper towels can effectively dry hands with just 15 seconds of use.

Aside from taking less time to remove moisture, paper towels are also more effective when it comes to removing germs because a piece of paper towel comes in physical contact with the skin of the user.

The problem with the use of paper towels is the fact that the used pieces are turned into waste. While paper is biodegradable, researchers found that it takes a longer time for it to break down than what is usually believed.

There is another negative aspect of using paper towels and that is the fact that most paper towels come from virgin fibre, which means that the paper used in manufacturing came from trees that were cut down and it does not have to be explained why that is not environmentally friendly.

A solution to the problem posed by the use of paper towels is the use of partially recycled and 100% recycled paper towels. The recycled components of these paper towels come from office waste, newspapers and household waste.

There are those who do not prefer recycled paper towels because the quality is not as good when compared with virgin fibre.

The Smart Choice: Cloth Towels

The use of cloth towels in washrooms is not new and some consider it to be the most environmentally friendly of all the options that are available. Cloth towels are more effective in removing germs from hands.

It is also effective in isolating bacteria and other germs inside the dispenser, which means that they can no longer spread.

Since cloth towels can be washed and used over and over, that means they have the lowest environmental impact. They can also be recycled for some other purpose.

Cloth towels uses up less energy and produce less waste when compared with the other methods of hand drying that have been listed here.

One of the best ways to use cloth towels in washrooms is to have continuous towels. In this system there are two chambers, one for the clean part and the other is for the used. This ensures that the hands of the user will not be in contact with the used part.

Are you still in the process of looking for the best hand drying solution for your bathroom? Check out Alsco’s washroom services now.

Guest blog kindly contributed by Alsco Group Australia

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