Elimination Room Values #2: Wipe or Blow?

February 1, 2008

When I was a high school teacher in the 1970s, I helped teach a half-day alternative school program based on environmentalism and futurology called “Alternative Futures.” Even then, some bathrooms used paper towels and some used blowers. I remember one of my fellow teachers and I having a whimsical discussion about which option was more energy efficient and environmentally compatible.

I still wonder about these two options.

It takes a lot of energy and a lot of trees to make paper towels. Also, many people toss them on the floor, so paper towels tend to lead to more of a mess.

On the other hand, with a blower, it takes the a lot of energy for the little dwarf inside the dryer to huff in such a heated manner, and it’s harder (or at least it takes longer) to get my hands dry, and I can’t use a paper towel to open and close a door and turn off a faucet, so it’s harder to avoid other people’s germs.

Naturally, Google reveals that this issue has been well discussed on the World Wide Web.

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4 Responses to “Elimination Room Values #2: Wipe or Blow?”

  1. Vanni B Says:

    I also “use a paper towel to open and close a door and turn off a faucet,” but as for it being “harder to avoid other people’s germs”, think again. The air that is warmed up and blown onto your hands is coming from the whole bathroom. See those intake vents usually covered with a layer of fuzz on the sides? Yuck!

  2. modestypress Says:

    That’s true. Somehow or other, we need to redesign each public bathroom to follow standards and procedures similar to an Intel “clean room” where they build microprocessors.

    It would work something like this: only one person at a time will be allowed to enter an elimination room. They will remove all clothes and take a sterilizing shower on entry and on exit. After each person exits the entire room will be fumigated, sterilized, and washed with steam and other germicidal and viricidal and preoncidal not to mention suicidal solutions. The line forms at the right, and then the next person gets to enter.


  3. Restrooms without paper towels completely freak me out. I usually have clean tissues in my pockets for situations such as these; I might dry my hands with the dryer, but I’ll use the tissue to shut off the faucet and open the door.

  4. pmousse Says:

    I like best the kind of restrooms where there is no door to open and close after washing hands… where you kind of go around a winding corner, so that there is still privacy. Those ones generally have faucets that go on and off automatically with sensors, and either blowers or paper towel dispensers that work the same way. My favourite one is doorless like that, but also has actual real handtowels rolled in baskets on the counter. It’s probably incredibly inefficient energy-wise, since each is single use then gets put in a hamper under the counter for laundering. It just feels so nice, though. And clean.


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