Clean air

Clean air

Reducing waste and saving money starts in the washroom

Businesses across the economy are feeling the squeeze of rapidly rising prices – while also racing to reduce their carbon footprint.1

In the wake of COP26 and the implementation of the Government’s Net Zero strategy, sustainability is high on the agenda for every business. .[1] In fact, almost two-thirds of companies in the UK and northern Europe cite sustainability as a key part of their success strategies for the years ahead.[2] But change isn’t just about looking at how the business functions—it can start with the core facilities and products found in our commercial spaces. But many are put off by the misconception that going green will be expensive when they’re already struggling with inflated costs.

However, saving money and the environment are not mutually exclusive goals – a focus on sustainability can actually impact your bottom line.

Our past experiences are changing the future of key amenities, and pushing us to implement more innovative, environmentally-friendly solutions throughout. One of the key areas within a business’ space that can reap the rewards of this is the washroom. Experiencing high volumes of traffic, the washroom must be made as hygienic and sustainable as possible, both for user confidence and to help businesses lower their carbon footprint. In fact, Dyson’s 2021 Washroom Attitudes Survey showed that 75% of respondents are washing their hands five or more times a day, illustrating the importance of clean washroom facilities.[3] Yet are some practices as beneficial for people and the planet as they seem?

The paper towel problem

At a time where 75% of people are concerned about the use of single-use consumables, it’s clear that using paper towels is an unsustainable solution to an ongoing problem.[4] But with research showing that damp hands can transfer up to 1,000 times more bacteria than dry hands, facilities managers need to provide a way for users to dry their hands thoroughly and sustainably.[5] Many businesses may install a cheaper solution like a paper towel dispenser, but its impact on the environment can be detrimental. Globally, millions of tonnes of paper towels are used every year, with most going into landfill since they cannot be recycled.[6] What’s more, the manufacturing process for paper towels includes transportation of products, leading to further CO₂ emissions, and involves a large amount of water; it takes over 20,000 gallons to make one ton of paper towels.[7]

Sustainability is not just a business goal, but one that translates to consumer values too.  Fortunately, businesses can upgrade their washrooms with more innovative and reusable hand drying solutions, without compromising on hygiene or quality.

Swap costly, unsustainable paper towels for pioneering technology

Paper towels, on the other hand, in general don’t cause hygiene concerns but they can come with environmental issues that can’t be overlooked in today’s world. To create, transport and dispose them at scale requires processes with higher CO2 emissions. With society becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues and the sustainability of the products they use; we need to create hand drying solutions that address them.

Single-use paper towels are notoriously bad for the environment. Their production contributes to deforestation and wildlife destruction, and demands large amounts of energy and water. Then the majority end up on landfill or in an incinerator since they cannot be recycled.2 They create a lot of in-house work and cost, too – requiring a relentless cycle of purchasing, delivering, storing, disposing and restocking.

Despite all this, billions of tonnes are still used globally every year. This is because people are often reluctant to adapt to new technologies and can be deceived by the cheaper upfront costs. Some also still think that paper towels are more hygienic than hand dryers or that hand dryers spread bacteria. But this couldn't be further from the truth.

Dyson hand dryers are just as hygienic as using paper towels, capturing 99.95% of particles, including bacteria and viruses, through their HEPA filter.3 And they’re independently proven to aerosolise no more than paper towels, too.4

In a time when businesses are embedding sustainability at their core and using Corporate Social Responsibility teams to showcase progress, there’s a real opportunity to standout and make washrooms a point of differentiation.

The cost and energy efficiency gains of Airblade™ hand dryers

At Dyson, our innovative technologies negate these concerns. All Dyson hand dryers include air-cleaning HEPA filters and touchless activation as standard. What’s more, Dyson hand dryers are just as hygienic as using a paper towel.[8]

Dyson hand dryers are significantly more sustainable and cheaper than paper towels. It’s one of the simplest ways you can reduce paper and energy waste – and save money.

Firstly, it creates no waste. Secondly, it produces up to 88% less CO2 than paper towels5 and uses only a sixth of the energy of conventional dryers. And thirdly, it’s cheaper to run.

What’s more, it’s certified by the Carbon Trust, BREEAM, WELL Building Standard, LEED and Quiet Mark.

Improvements for hygiene, business and environmental needs

It’s clear that the hand drying solutions often available in workplaces, educational settings, hospitality – we could go on – are in need of an upgrade.

Dyson Airblade™ hand drying technology places hand hygiene, the reduction of CO2 emissions, and cost efficiency at the forefront of its design.

Dyson hand dryers are also engineered to alleviate the public’s key washroom concerns and prioritise hygiene through touch-free design and HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters capturing 99.95% of particles as small as 0.1 microns.

Effective hand drying is a key part of effective hand hygiene, but the options too often in use are problematic. We need raise awareness about the importance of effective hand drying, and promote hand drying solutions that improve hygiene, reduce business costs and CO2 emissions.

As organisations continue to drive their sustainability agendas forward, they must not forget the core facilities within their commercial spaces. In the race to Net Zero, facilities managers must work with business leaders to change the narrative surrounding single-use products like paper towels and upgrade to innovative technology solutions, which support sustainability goals and protect the future of our planet

[1] Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener, HM Government,

[2] Frost & Sullivan, Digital Sustainability: The Path to Net Zero for Design & Manufacturing and Architecture, Engineering, & Construction (AEC) Industries,

[3] Survey conducted in the UK in July 2021 with 2,000 respondents, aged 18 years-old or above. This is part of a global survey done across 20 countries comprising of 15,100 respondents in total.

[4] As above

[5] Epidemiology & Infection, Residual moisture determines the level of touch-contact-associated bacterial transfer following hand washing, December 1997

[6] Read more here:

[7] Creighton University, Forests or paper towels?

[8] Frontiers in Public Health, Aerosols and Bacteria From Hand Washing and Drying in Indoor Air, February 2022

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