Letter to the editor: Hand dryers vs. hand towels

Cameron Perkins


My name is Cameron Perkins, and I am an economics major here at Troy University.

During my three years here at Troy University, I have seen the overall desire for change and improvement from students and faculty members grow substantially.

After seeing so many positive changes occurring on the campus, I couldn’t help but discuss a small idea that has the potential to make Troy University even better than it already is.

I have an idea that I hope will create numerous positive benefits for students and faculty members alike. I am suggesting that Troy University eliminates the use of paper towel dispensers in campus restrooms and implement electric hand dryers instead.

Did you know that it takes less energy to dry your hands with a hand dryer than the energy that goes into making the paper towels you would have used?

A typical electric hand dryer uses about 0.03 kwh of electricity per use. At an average cost of $0.0995 per kwh, the cost for using an electric dryer averages out to about $14.58 per month, a savings of more than $60 per month over using paper towels.

The initial price of a paper towel dispenser is usually around $40 to $50, but the ongoing expenses quickly surpass that. Many of us are blind to the numerous costs that are associated with the use of paper towels in public restrooms.

The cost of production, shipping and disposing are just a few of the costs that can accumulate rather quickly. By implementing the electric dryers in the university restrooms, we can help Troy save money, which as a result can be directed in the use of many other renovations on campus.

This means the initial higher cost of purchasing the electric dryers is repaid within about seven months, making an electric dryer a far more economical choice than paper towels.

Not only will this simple change save money for Troy University, but it could also have a few health benefits for students and faculty members.

A recent study conducted by Laval University finds bacteria thrive on the paper products found in public restrooms, even on the unused paper towels.

The new study by researchers at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada, was published in the American Journal of Infection Control. It says some of those germs could be transferred to people even after they’ve washed their hands.

I think that it is very clear that electric hand dryers are a far better alternative to paper towel dispensers.

By making this simple change, Troy University can help not only its students and faculty, but the environment as well. Recent studies show that 3,000 tons of paper towel waste are produced every day in the United States alone.

It is my hope that, upon reading the negative effects correlated with the use of paper towels in public restrooms, you will become an advocate for the implementation of electric hand dryers in our campus facilities.

I hope to see Troy University continue to grow and expand by students speaking out about changes they hope to see on our beautiful campus.

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