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Hand dryers life cycle analysis

Consumer demand for green or eco products increased rapidly during the last years. Luckily it did, as we are facing big environmental challenges and have to rethink our lifestyle and consumer behaviour. Life cycle analysis can help us to make the best desicions.

Changing small conducts in daily life can lead to big results. Using ecofriendly hand dryers in puplic bathrooms instead of wasting paper towels every time is that kind of change.  Unfortunately only few people are aware of that difference, except the producers. Whether the final hand dryer product is environmentally preferable has an increasing importance for design and production.

A general way to verify sustainability of products is the so called life cycle analysis (LCA). Life cycle analysis is a method used to identify life cycle environmental impacts of products, including materials, manufacturing, transport and life time. Normally we use hand dryer hardware several years, but everytime we dry our hands we consume energy. For that reason the innovative new products in the latest years first of all deal with a lower energy usage.

LCA offers a way to take into consideration the whole system of consume and production and in a second step empowers us to make informed desicions on how we want to act. To give you an insight on how LCA are working, we show you three popular and compehensive studies of the past years.

The studies examined the LCA of hand dryers compared to the LCA of paper towel dispensers. The results underline the evidenced superior sustainability of hand dryers. According to all the studies using high speed dryers has much less environmental impact than consuming paper towels.


  1. Margni, M./ Dettling, J. (2009): Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Hand Drying Systems: The XLERATOR Hand Dryer, Conventional Hand Dryers and Paper Towel Systems. Prepared by: Quantis US. Link
  2. Lockrey, Simon (2011): The Ecocraze, a Case Study: Negotiating a Greener Product Design Landscape. In: Design Principles and Practices, n.(4) Vol (5). Link
  3. Montalbo, T./ Gregory, J./ Kirchain, R. (2011): Life Cycle Assessment of Hand Drying System. Prepared by: Materials Systems Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Link


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