Reaching Net Zero is a major priority for every organisation as they strive to meet global environmental objectives, and as such, each change to a building needs to be considered in terms of its impact on sustainability and carbon emissions. One key area that needs to be considered is the amount of waste that is generated, and how that can be balanced against alternatives.

When planning changes to bathroom facilities in a building, there are three main options available when it comes to hand drying:

  • Warm Air Hand Dryers
  • Jet Hand Dryers
  • Paper Towels

Some organisations may look toward choosing paper towels over electrical appliances as they do not directly use energy and may be viewed as carbon neutral, however this is not the case, and in fact paper towels have a much larger impact on the environment than you may immediately think

The carbon footprint of paper towels

The significant environmental impact of paper towels comes from their production and disposal.

Manufacturing any type of paper requires raw materials. The type of absorbent paper used in disposable hand towels typically uses wood pulp as a raw material. In fact, for every tonne of paper used to manufacture paper towels, a total of seventeen trees are cut down and processed. Even though these trees are typically grown specifically for the paper industry and are replaced, this takes many years, and results in managed forests which are less successful as carbon sinks than more established woodland.

The manufacturing process for paper towels is also heavily dependent on energy use. Paper mills use significant amounts of electricity to heat the wood pulp to turn it into paper, and the logistics network that distributes the towels around the world also releases massive amounts of CO2.

The total amount of carbon dioxide that is released because of paper towel usage in a typical school or office building is surprising. For every five hundred daily uses, more than three tonnes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere each year.

Another environmental impact of paper towels is their disposal. As a hygiene product, paper towels are not typically recycled, instead they are sent to landfill or incinerated. Each year, a total of more than 254 million tonnes of landfill are generated in this way.

By comparison, a modern, efficient jet hand dryer such as the Mitsubishi Electric Wave u02 in the same circumstances will generate just 160KG of CO2 thanks to its low energy use.

Reducing Costs with Hand Dryers

Energy costs remain at high levels, however using hand dryers is much more cost effective than paper towels.

The cost of supplying one hundred paper towels per day in an office builds up over a year to around £292. By comparison, an energy efficient hand dryer that only uses electricity sparingly will cost just £10 in the same period – a saving of more than 95%!

Can We Help?

If you are in the process of renewing the bathrooms in your building and want to find a more cost effective and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional hand dryers, the Mitsubishi Electric Wave range could be ideal. Contact us today to find out more about the full range and book a demonstration.

01707 288780