Q: Zero waste is a new buzzword in the industry. How should distributors pitch hand dryers as part of the movement?

Pesch: Zero waste is indefinite. All products have a footprint and if there’s a footprint, there’s waste.

Modern hand dryers save considerable energy when compared to older models. If you’re pitching hand dryers as part of the zero waste movement, it’s important to distinguish between older models and the latest in high-speed hand dryers. The older models use up to 2,300 watts of electricity and take 30 seconds to dry hands. On the other hand, newer high-speed hand dryers only use about 950 watts and dry hands in under 12 seconds. The result is that high-speed dryers consume 88 percent less energy than traditional hand dryers.

Hand dryers compared to paper towels save lots of energy and, well, lots and lots of everything. One ton of paper consumes 17 trees, three cubic yards of landfill space and 20,000 gallons of water. If you’re trying to reach zero waste, paper towels are on the far opposite end of being environmentally responsible. 

Gagnon: Paper towel waste is the cause of many, if not most, conditions that make a restroom visibly unclean. Simply put, hand dryers eliminate this waste altogether. The fact is, used paper towels are often found everywhere but the trash bin. They’re thrown on the floor (especially if the bin is already overflowing) or worse, into the toilet. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency paper towels are the most common cause for clogged toilets which can create a lasting source of bacterial exposure if dirty water gets on the floor. 

By losing the costs associated with the maintenance, removal and endless restocking of paper towels, facilities that switch to high-efficiency hand dryers enjoy a 95 percent savings versus paper towels. The switch can also reduce a facility’s carbon footprint by 70 percent, a tremendous achievement toward its corporate sustainability goals.

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