Hand dryer

Paper towels VS hand dryers

Did you know that drying your hands with a modern unheated air dryer can save the environment 16g of CO2 each time, compared to using paper towels? That’s an almost 80% improvement.

Whilst air dryers use electricity for each hand dry, paper towels consume larger amounts in their sourcing, manufacture and distribution. Heated air dryers perform worse than unheated ones, but still favourably to paper towels.

Objective/ Goal

  1. Dry your hands with minimum carbon emissions: modern air dryers are often less carbon intensive than paper towels.
  2. Reduce waste from paper towels: whether recycled, composted or sent to landfill, waste has its own carbon footprint. Waste sent to landfill has the highest impact, generating about 1kg of carbon per tonne of waste paper.


  1. Gagnon and Panertos (2009). Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Hand Drying Systems
  2. UK Government GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/greenhouse-gas-reporting-conversion-factors-2019

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