Hand dryers greener but paper towels more hygienic
Dhofar comments on study; says MENA region prefer paper towels
A study of all surveys over the past 40 years suggests that the use of paper towels is more hygienic than hand dryers.
In June 2012, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in the US published a comprehensive study of every known hand-washing survey conducted since 1970.
The authors concluded that drying skin is essential to staving off bacteria, and that paper towels were superior to driers.
UAE-based Dhofar, which sells a 98% versus 2% ratio between paper towel dispensers and hand dryers, supported the claims of the study. According to the firm, people, when offered a choice between the two, preferred paper towels.
"Psychologically people prefer paper towels. I think it’s a combination of two aspects. Drying your hands on paper can be much quicker than rubbing them in blowing air.
"Also the hygiene angle is very important especially in the Middle East, with so many different nationalities living here with different cultural approaches to washroom hygiene," said Chandan Singh, deputy general manager at Dhofar Global Trading.
However, in terms of sustainability, hand dryers were found to be superior.
Research conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), looked at seven hand-drying methods commonly used in public bathrooms and found that the Airblade, (part of a new generation of hand dryers using a 12-second drying cycle) had the lowest environmental impact.
The new generation of dryers such as the Airblade, have no spin-down time and even lower environmental impact due to its reduced drying cycle.
The greatest environmental impact of paper towels is due mainly to their disposability. Reusable cotton roll towels have a short life so thousands of towels are manufactured and shipped during the five-year lifecycle of a typical hand dryer. Added to that the packaging, dispensers, waste bins and bin liners can account for up to 10% of the environmental burden.
Dhofar’s organic tissue paper dispensers are modified to dispense a single sheet of pre-perforated tissue. "We have continued with our commitment to product innovation and have helped our clients cut back on their paper consumption by 22% last year, which not only means cost savings for businesses but reduces the environmental impact during the manufacturing process," added Singh.