Is Mitsubishi's Jet Towel the most eco-friendly hand dryer?
The debate over which is better for the environment - paper towels of hand dryers - continues to be debated, but a recent peer-reviewed study of seven hand drying systems found that high speed hand dryers posses a significantly smaller impact over any other drying system. After studying everything from 100% recycled paper towels to high-speed hands-in dryers, this study found that hand dryers easily represent the lowest Global Warming Potential (GWP) of any hand drying system.
The environmental impact of hand dryers is "dominated by use.." with other factors playing a minimal role in GWP, between 4% and 13%. Since other factors contribute a small percentage of a hand dryer's GWP, dryers with similar power ratings and dry times will have similar impacts on our planet, though as long as dry time is similar the dryer with the lower electrical requirement will impact the planet the least.
The current benchmark for hand dryers was set at 12 seconds in 1993 when Mitsubishi introduced the Jet Towel and this study used two dry times for analysis: manufacturer dry times as published on respective websites and those tested by Dyson, Ltd. At 12 seconds and 1060 watts, the Jet Towel requires 3.5 watts to dry a pair of hands, 20% less than any dryer considered in this study.
To bring every drying system to the same level for comparison, GWP was set to grams of CO2 per use, finding the following for electrical use contributions to GWP, based on dry times as measured by Dyson, Ltd. (Jet Towel number not included in the study but included for reference):
Standard dryer - 17.2
Virgin Paper Towels - 14.6
100% Recycled Paper Towels - 14.8
Cotton Roll Towels - 10.2
Excel Xlerator - 7.85
Dyson Airblade, Aluminium - 4.44
Dyson Airblade, ABS Plastic - 4.19
Mitsubishi Jet Towel - 2.95
When packaging, production, transportation, and other non-electric contributions were factored in, the Jet Towel still represented a lower GWP than any other drying system in this study. As the GWP of non-use factors represents between 4% and 13% of the total, each of the above numbers was taken to represent 96% or 87% of the total GWP and then compared in different situations with the Jet Towel at 96% electrical use or 87% electrical use. Even when the Jet Towel's additional GWP contributions were set to 13% and other drying methods set to 4%, the Jet Towel still represented the lowest GWP of any system examined in this study.
Since other dual-jet hand dryers are on the market as well, the Jet Towel was also compared to every comparable dryer in its class (12 second dry time, two jets of air to dry hands). When the same calculations were performed on dryers in its category, the Jet Towel represented the least GWP in seven of eight comparisons.
"This is precisely why Mitsubishi originally invented the Jet Towel and continues as the environmental leader." says James Allard, CEO of Pacarc, US distributor of the Mitsubishi Jet Towel. "Since introducing the Jet Towel in 1993 Mitsubishi has gone back time and again to improve design and electrical use. It is another study that simply validates Mitsubishi's efforts to create the most environmentally friendly hand dryer on the planet."
To see calculations, get more information and follow source material, visit the Jet Towel website.
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