The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Better to use recycled paper towels or the hand dryer - for the environment  (Read 13504 times)

Offline laird rob

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Is it better for the environment after i have was my hands to use paper towels or use the 1.5kw hand dryer for 20-30 seconds.

Im guessing that recycled paper towels are not recycled again after they have been used to will eventually find there way to land fill.

Hmmmmmmm - this ones got me thinking.


 

Offline Batroost

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 276
  • There's no such thing as a dirty atom!
    • View Profile
I suspect that the paper towels use more raw materials and energy than using the handdryer.

Things to consider?

- Production, transport and raw materials for the dryer (one-off, well for a few years) versus for the towels (an on-going cost)
- Transport of waste towels
- Waste produced in generating the dryer's electricity - not much if low carbon e.g. renewables, nuclear
 

Offline that mad man

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 724
    • View Profile
    • My music
Although you didn't mention it I would say it would be best to use the old fashioned cotton towel.

Hand dryers are a legacy from when electricity was cheap and plentiful and paper towels were for cheapness and hygiene. At one time public toilets used to have cotton roller towels.
 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Is it better for the environment after i have was my hands to use paper towels or use the 1.5kw hand dryer for 20-30 seconds.

I'm guessing that recycled paper towels are not recycled again after they have been used to will eventually find there way to land fill.

Hmmmmmmm - this ones got me thinking.

Your paper towels would probably compost quite nicely in a compost pile in the garden and once again be reuseable in the soil it builds being returned back to the earth, Again you can also soak them pulverize them in a blender, adding a bit of glue to some water with the paper towels and blend away add some grass for a soft green paper, and pour evenly over screens and level! set in sun to dry and bleach out or just to dry in shade and retain the cool green color for paper.. You can add flower petals etc to the mix after blending to add texture and look to your paper. Just make sure it is smooth when poured onto screen. Try to spread evenly but not too thin so it does not tear when you remove it from the screen! You will be making lots of paper and good compost and soil!  No Washers, dryers, just a blender and your own energy! LOL ;D
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Although you didn't mention it I would say it would be best to use the old fashioned cotton towel.

But then you have to consider the power usage in laundering the towels.
 

Offline Jenguin

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 17
    • View Profile
I always prefer to use both a handtowel andthe hand dryer because the handryer never stays on for long enough for my hands to dry but I never like to press the button again because I only needed an extra couple of seconds.  Also if you just use handtowels, one is never enough.

So, I use one handtowel and dry my hands with it under one button-press of the hand dryer!

Is that weird?
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
It doesn't matter whether I use towels or a dryer. My hands never feel dry until I've wiped them on my jeans. Why is that?  ???
 

Offline Jenguin

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 17
    • View Profile
I'm the same - but never on any other kind of trousers - only jeans will do!  Although, actually skirts are even better because you can almost use them in the same way as a towel...
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
I tried wiping my hands on a skirt once but the owner slapped me & phoned the police  :(
 

Offline kdlynn

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2851
    • View Profile
 

Offline eric l

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 514
    • View Profile
What you seem to forget is that with the hand dryers you are bound to use more tapwater !!!  You would have to rinse your hands enough to leave a film of clean water on them, because otherwise they do not feel clean after evaporating the water.  With the hand towels (or with the cotton towel) you wipe off a film of more or less dirty water, and feel clean.  So you use more tap water and end up with more waste water. 
 

Offline dentstudent

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3146
  • FOGger to the unsuspecting
    • View Profile
What you seem to forget is that with the hand dryers you are bound to use more tapwater !!!  You would have to rinse your hands enough to leave a film of clean water on them, because otherwise they do not feel clean after evaporating the water.  With the hand towels (or with the cotton towel) you wipe off a film of more or less dirty water, and feel clean.  So you use more tap water and end up with more waste water. 

Doesn't this imply that your method of hand-drying is already decided before you wash your hands? In my case, I tend to be groping around for a drying facility which is often in a seperate area, and before I know what the options are. Also, I think that many of us have a rythm to hand washing that creates a physiological "cleanliness" and doesn't change a great deal, similar to the physiological "drying" of the hands on the trousers/skirt/kilt/lederhosen/lower thigh.......
« Last Edit: 11/06/2007 13:35:26 by dentstudent »
 

Offline laird rob

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
hmmm its all food for thought.

This just got me thinking when i was in the loos at work one day. Theres no chance that any employee is going to go to the trouble of poping those paper towels in the compost or anything like that. It's made me think though, we don't really need both options do we?

With all the hot weather we;ve been having over the past week or so i wonder if that might play a part in what we might choose. I know today i didnt want to be putting that hot drying on in my sweaty state. Strange.
 

Offline that mad man

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 724
    • View Profile
    • My music
Although you didn't mention it I would say it would be best to use the old fashioned cotton towel.

But then you have to consider the power usage in laundering the towels.

I thought that was why women had smaller feet................


Runs and hides.... ;D ;)
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Although you didn't mention it I would say it would be best to use the old fashioned cotton towel.

But then you have to consider the power usage in laundering the towels.

I thought that was why women had smaller feet................


Runs and hides.... ;D ;)

 [:0]
 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8644
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
While in principle, the cost of laundering the cotton roller towels ought to have been taken into account, this was not important in practice. In my recollection those towels were seldom washed. The practical outcome was that you washed your hands, looked at the grubby towel and wiped your hands on your trousers.
(and it will take someone braver than me to explain that "joke" to Karen.)
BTW, Eric I, I don't know about you but I wash my hands until they are clean however I plan to dry them.
« Last Edit: 11/06/2007 20:30:50 by Bored chemist »
 

Offline kdlynn

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2851
    • View Profile
i however have heard that joke, and you better watch it, doc!
 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
OK Kadie Do Tell? In a Pm Please???
 

Offline eric l

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 514
    • View Profile
While in principle, the cost of laundering the cotton roller towels ought to have been taken into account, this was not important in practice. In my recollection those towels were seldom washed. The practical outcome was that you washed your hands, looked at the grubby towel and wiped your hands on your trousers.
(and it will take someone braver than me to explain that "joke" to Karen.)
BTW, Eric I, I don't know about you but I wash my hands until they are clean however I plan to dry them.
And I know by experioence that they do not feel clean afterwards if I use only hot air for drying them.  They feel sweaty at least.  So I rinse them again, and they stop feeling sweaty only after the second or even third time.  Using towels (paper or cotton) I do not need that second or third time.
 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
I prefer a towel or paper towel over blowing my hands because it makes them feel over dry.. economically that's better for my hands..LOL Less hand cream and gunk on my hands!LOL
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
i however have heard that joke, and you better watch it, doc!

Me? What have I done?  ???
 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
LOL !!!
 

Offline kdlynn

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2851
    • View Profile
oh, you know what you've done. lol. and i explained it to karen... just be careful... women are secretly very powerful creatures. lol
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
oh, you know what you've done. lol. and i explained it to karen... just be careful... women are secretly very powerful creatures. lol

But I didn't do anything - this time  [:-'(]
 

The Naked Scientists Forum


 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums