The Role of Paper Towels in the Growing Landfill Crisis

Here’s a startling statistic: humans discard enough solid waste to fill more than 800,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools every year. To make matters worse, global waste is expected to grow to 3.75 billion tons by 2050, according to the World Bank. This expanding landfill crisis demands immediate attention; businesses must adopt eco-friendly practices. In this blog, we explore the effects of landfills on the environment and, more specifically, the environmental impact of widespread paper towel usage. We will shed light on how hand dryers can help alleviate the problem.

The Environmental Impact of Paper Towels

The production of paper towels relies heavily on the consumption of natural resources. Shockingly, it takes approximately seventeen trees to produce just one ton of virgin paper. This leads to deforestation, contributing to the loss of valuable ecosystems and habitats for countless species. Moreover, that same production requires a staggering 20,000 gallons of water while polluting another 7,000 gallons. This significant water usage puts a strain on freshwater resources, exacerbating water scarcity and releasing harmful chemicals and pollutants into our waterways.

Those statistics only represent the production side; the reality is even more frightening once you incorporate end-of-life waste removal. One ton of paper fills approximately 40 cubic feet in a landfill. As landfills reach their maximum capacity, the associated environmental problems, including air and water pollution, worsen. 

Handling the Environmental Crisis

Hand dryers offer a sustainable alternative to paper towels and have numerous environmental benefits. By deciding to go green with hand dryers, businesses can actively participate in preserving critical ecosystems while lessening the burden of physical waste in landfills.

One of the most impactful benefits of our products is their potential to reduce carbon emissions. If one person chooses to use a hand dryer instead of a paper towel just once per day, they can save approximately 572 pounds of carbon emissions annually. The reduction can make a huge difference when scaled up across a facility or an entire organization. 

Graph showing carbon footprint of Excel hand dryers vs. paper towelsTo support our sustainability claims with the latest available information, we recently commissioned TrueNorth Collective to conduct a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment Study and create an Environmental Product Declaration on each of our products. The results aren’t surprising: our hand dryers are still the most eco-friendly way to dry hands. The cradle-to-grave global warming potential of dryers can be 83% less than that of the paper towel baseline.

Hand Dryers: A Sustainable Solution

The landfill crisis is a pressing environmental issue that demands our immediate attention. The adoption of touchless hand dryers offers a sustainable solution, conserving trees, water resources, and landfill space while significantly reducing carbon emissions.

Restroom with paper towel trash all over the floorIf you’re seeking an environmentally conscious product, we are here to support you with our complete line of high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers. We can help you achieve your goals by providing a hygienic, cost-effective, and long-lasting restroom solution to fit your facility’s needs. Excel can also help you determine how much you will save with hand dryers vs. paper towels.  Contact us to learn more.