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Hand Dryer Installed to Help Cut Waste

Hand Dryer at Livermore HighHand Dryer at Livermore HighPut your hands in, and this device blows air over your hands drying them off, as you pull your hands back out.

This $1800 device was donated to Livermore High School, and was recently installed in the girls bathroom in the 400 hall. If all works as planned, students will dry their washed hands using the AirBlade instead of using paper towels.

The production and disposal of paper towels is costly to our environment. Trees are cut from the Boreal Forest, and shipped to the paper mill. Paper is manufactured, and shipped to local distributors.

The school district purchases, warehouses, and distributes paper towels for the custodians. Custodians install rolls of paper towels, only to pick them up off the floor or from the waste bin at the end of the day. The used paper towels are then hauled off to the compactor, then to the landfill. All these steps, from cutting the trees, to burning fossil fuels for transportation, to hauling to the landfill can be eliminated by using the AirBlade.

There are natural questions about the AirBlade's use of electricity. The AirBlade does not heat the air, but rather propels air rapidly over your hands using very little electricity. It is like putting your hand in a windstorm. But the amount of electricity is similar to running your vacuum cleaner for twelve seconds. Not much.

According to Livermore High teacher, Stephen Bailey, the dryer should save two large rolls of paper towels each week which would have other wise cost the district about $450 per year. The manufacturer of the dryer estimates that it will consume about $30 worth of electricity per year, so the overall savings should add up quickly.

Bailey is excited about the possibility of installing more dryers across the campus, noting that there was a learning curve for district maintenance and operations staff who had to navigate ADA accessibility, wiring a dedicated circuit, and other code concerns. It took about seven months to clear all the hurdles, but the lessons learned from this installation will make the next ones easier.

The overall operating cost of the AirBlade will be much less than the cost of supplying paper towels. This will save trees, save money, and it will save time of the custodians. A win-win-win!

Republished from The LHS Recycling Blog

See a life cycle analysis summary comparing paper towels and electric dryers here: