Hand Dryers: A Load of Hot Air?


By Rebecca MacKay

(As seen in Pegasus Pages, December 2013.)

Some of you are going to dislike this article. Why?

I’m going to advocate the use of paper. I know. Global Warming, the polar bears, the melting ice, the toxins in our atmosphere that will all ultimately result in the total destruction of society as we know it within the next week.

The only thing I can recommend to combat this impending doom is that we should all simply lie down and put paper bags over our heads.

OR, we could stop using hand dryers.

Think about it: you’re in the bathroom and you’ve exited your stall. You’ve asked to be excused from your lesson and let’s all be honest here, you didn’t really need this loo trip, you just really couldn’t be bothered with those eight mark questions on Vietnam you’ve been doing for the past 40 minutes which feels like five hours.

So you retreat to the lavatory. You want to take up the most time possible and you quickly assess your options: you could dry your hands under the electronic dryer for an unnecessary length of time or you could use the paper towels which soak up water effectively in one sheet, but you’d take an infinite amount to do so anyway.  It’s a pretty equal match up.

BUT WAIT. You’re also part of Green Society, hoping to be the Environmental Prefect and since everyone cares about those polar bears whom they make us ‘awwww’ about in Prayers, you consider which of the two proffered options saves the environment. It seems pretty obvious: the dryer.


You whip out your definitely-not-illegal iPhone and open up the calculator app to do some quick arithmetic: one sheet of paper for 20 minutes vs. 250 volts of electricity generated by burning quite a bit (a highly scientific scale) of coal releasing a high concentration of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That’s quite a bit of ecological damage right there. Clearly paper towels are superior.

Not only that, but they’re less frustrating, not as noisy and there’s never that awkward situation in which you have to share hot air with complete stranger that inevitably results in infinitely more awkward hand touching.

So not only are they environmentally friendlier but they’re more efficient and ultimately the better option in life. And that is why I advocate paper towel use. Efficiency is key, students.


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