Over the last 3 years of the Urban Country’s existence, I have often pondered whether hand dryers are better for the environment than paper towels for drying your hands in the bathroom.
Well leave it to the smartest man in the world Cecil Adams from the Straight Dope to confirm this theory or to provide evidence to the contrary.
Cecil has done his own objective investigation and found that although there are various types of hand dryers and various methods of recycling paper towels, he has concluded that in general hot-air dryers use approximately 5-percent less energy than paper towels and about 20-percent less over 5 years. He also notes that if high-efficiency dryers really provided acceptable drying in ten seconds, then they’d use 80 percent less energy.
This energy savings doesn’t even account for the other environmental benefits of not using paper towels such as saving trees, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing acid rain, and reducing solid waste.