September 10, 2015
As technology has developed in offices, the benefits have been reaped via all the gadgets on at our desks – and elsewhere! Advances have been steadily appearing in the lesser talked about areas of our work environments – namely the office toilets!
I am sure we all have memories of yanking on the roller towels trying to find the dry patch and standing for what seems like hours under a slow flowing warm air dryer whilst flicking water on the walls, floor and anyone standing a little too close.
Today the means for us to wash and dry our hands in the bathroom seem to be quite plentiful, and thankfully (for the most part) more effective than back in the day, however, there is still debate on the most hygienic options versus the most environmental – let alone which gets the job done best!
There have been a number of studies on this topic across the years and just when we thought we’d got it good, huge advances in hand drying technology came from the likes of mega-brand Dyson and the ‘Airblade’.
One of the most recent studies by the University of Westminster, commissioned by the ETS (European Tissue Symposium), compares paper towels, textile roller towels, warm air dryers and jet air dryers. These four different hand drying methods and three different test models (acid indicator, yeast, bacterial transmission) were used to determine the differences between drying methods and potential spread of bacteria.
In summary, the jet air dryer projected water the furthest – up to 1.5m and also led to the greatest dispersal of microbes into the air with an average of 59.5 colonies of yeast being recorded at the jet dryer compared to just 2.2 colonies for paper towels. The clear result from this study is that paper towels are the more hygienic choice.
On the contrary to this, research from the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA Germany) has ranked the Dyson Airblade hand dryer as the most environmental friendly way to dry your hands with paper towels being reported to have the biggest environmental impact. The study took into account the emission of greenhouse gases, the noise level, the consumption of raw materials and fossil fuels as well as potential human health impacts. The Dyson Airblade hand dryers produce up to 79% less CO2 than other hand dryers and are able to dry 18 pairs of hands for the price of a single paper towel.
So it would seem that office managers need to make a choice between hygiene and the environment and our ‘toilet talk’ in the office needs to continue to be taken seriously so an optimal method can be found. Our money is on Dyson…