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Research reveals most sustainable way to dry hands


Tomorrow’s Cleaning reports on a leading research university study, which has determined that the Dyson Airblade™ is the most environmentally responsible way to dry hands.


A leading Massachusetts-based research university used a scientific method known as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to measure the overall environmental impact of seven hand drying systems including cotton towels, virgin and recycled paper towels and hand dryers – both conventional warm air and high speed dryers. Researchers considered all life cycle stages from manufacturing to end of life and calculated findings based on the system’s impact on CO₂ emissions, ecosystem quality, land and water use, human health and resource intensity. An increasing number of companies including Apple, Walmart and Google have also performed life cycle analysis.


The report – a major step forward for Life Cycle Assessment – could be applied to other industries to help quash inaccurate ‘green’


claims by making it simpler to compare the environmental impact of day-to-day products, helping to answer questions such as paper or plastic.


This LCA report is one of the most robust reports to date and looks beyond all current international standards by considering current and hypothetical scenarios that could impact the environment. It’s a first step in developing a gold standard for comparing the environmental impact of products – helping consumers interpret the growing number of environmental claims.


The study was done in accordance with ISO standards 14040 and 14044 and relied upon all available data from current and relevant LCA research by paper towel, hand dryer and roller towel manufacturers to ensure the impartiality


Life Cycle Assessment of Hand Drying Systems Results


and accuracy of the peer-reviewed research.


The study found that the Dyson Airblade™ hand dryer is the most sustainable way to completely dry hands. Paper towels and warm air hand dryers have the highest environmental toll according to this comprehensive lifecycle analysis (LCA), generating 70% or more carbon emissions than the Dyson Airblade™ hand dryer. Rather than warm air, the Dyson Airblade™ hand dryer uses sheets of cool, clean air to literally scrape water from hands.


Virgin or recycled paper? People perceive recycled paper towels to always be better for the environment. Wrong. The report’s researchers found that the environmental impact of recycled towels equals that of virgin paper towels in a number of environmental measures, including CO₂ emissions and water consumption. Recycled and virgin towels both generate over three times more carbon emissions than the Dyson Airblade™ hand dryer – creating waste, consuming more energy and using more water.


TOMORROW’S CLEANING | The future of our cleaning industry | 53 WASHROOM HYGIENE


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