Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ireland: Interlude

Written Thursday, February 28 at 9:34 pm, Killarney (upstairs at the cottage)

An unusual thing I’ve noticed here in Ireland is that hot air hand dryers are everywhere in toilets.  I have only seen a single paper towel dispenser all week.  In part, I suppose that this is a marker of how much forest (and thus paper products) we have in the States, vs. how little they have in Ireland.

But I also wonder if hot air hand dryers are more “green” (as they have always claimed to be).  There would be a larger overhead in the creation of each dryer vs. that of a paper towel dispenser, and there are ongoing electricity costs and higher maintenance costs of the physical device.  But on the other hand, day to day usage is just electricity.  No need to stock and load paper towels, no need to truck in paper towels, no need to do everything required to create paper towels, and no need to dispose of paper towels (and I bet relatively few are recycled).  When you think about it, there are a lot of costs involved in the day-to-day “maintenance” of the towel dispenser.

Oops, out of time to write of today’s trip now, will have to do that first thing on Friday.

Updated on January 8, 2010
Here is a Wikipedia page which pretty much confirms the idea I wrote above.  On the other hand, it also says that (a) people prefer to use paper towels, (b) hand dryers are less nygenic, and (c) hand dryers may actually blow germs off your hands and around the restroom.

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