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Environmental Impact of electric Hand Dryers vs. Paper Towels

Water Conservation

  1. Paper Towel Production Water Usage: The production of paper towels is highly water-intensive. It involves not only the water used directly in the manufacturing process but also the water consumed in growing the trees and processing the pulp. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it takes about 3 gallons of water to produce a single roll of paper towels. Considering the vast usage of paper towels in public and commercial restrooms, this adds up to an enormous volume of water.
  2. Water Savings with electric Hand Dryers: In contrast, electric hand dryers use no water in their operation. Their water footprint is confined to the manufacturing process, which is significantly lower than the ongoing water usage required for producing paper towels. Over time, the switch from paper towels to electric hand dryers can result in substantial water savings.

Tree Conservation

  1. Trees Cut for Paper Towel Production: Trees are the primary raw material for paper towel manufacturing. The impact on forests is considerable. It’s estimated that to make one ton of paper towels, 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water are required. The demand for paper towels leads to deforestation and the associated negative impacts on biodiversity, soil erosion, and carbon capture.
  2. Trees Saved by Using electric Hand Dryers: By using electric hand dryers, the demand for paper towels decreases, directly contributing to the reduction in tree cutting for paper production. This not only helps in preserving forests but also supports the ecosystems that depend on these forests.


The environmental benefits of electric hand dryers in terms of water and tree conservation are clear. By reducing the reliance on paper towels, significant amounts of water can be saved, and the pressure on forests can be alleviated. When considering the broader environmental impacts, including lifecycle analysis, carbon footprint, and waste reduction, electric hand dryers emerge as a more sustainable option compared to paper towels, aligning with global efforts towards environmental conservation and sustainability.

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