Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blow me

There's a sign above the electric hand dryers at work encouraging employees to skip the paper towels and use the blowers instead, stating that bathroom paper towel usage equates to twice as much greenhouse gas emissions as using the air dryers.

I don't mind using them these days, mostly because it's been so cold and having the hot air blow on my hands has been pleasant, helping me warm up, particularly after being outside when it's sub-20 degrees out. I'd use them more often if it were a force of habit. I'm so used to washing my hands and then grabbing the paper towels that half the time I'm just not thinking about it.

The dryers we have at work are the old school, wave your hand underneath and dry your hands kind. When we were in New York we experienced these phenomenally cool Dyson Airblade driers that you "insert" your hands into and draw them slowly out. They dry your hands in rapid time, although you feel like your skin is being stretched out in a wind tunnel. It is a 400 MPH blast of air, so that shouldn't come as a surprise. And, not too surprisingly, I made my husband take pictures of them in the bathroom at The Met.

The Dyson high-speed jet air dryer is supposed to use 80% less energy than the kind we have at work, but I'm sure they are more expensive. Hopefully, at some point, our work blowers can be replaced with a similar jet air dryer.

One thing to also consider is that our energy in Seattle comes from mostly green sources. So, not only do the dryers beat the pants (greenhouse gases-wise) off the paper towels, but since the electricity is most likely generated from wind or the like, it's a win-win hand-drying situation.

A while back, I got in the habit of either air drying my hands or using a handkerchief that I kept in my office for drying my hands. Sometime along the way, I stopped doing that and reverted back to paper towels - mostly out of habit. So, now I'm trying to make a concerted effort to use the blowers.

What about you? Do you air dry, blow dry or use paper towels when using a public restroom?

30 comments:

Laura said...

I usually air dry. To me it feels like my hands dry just as fast in the air as the do using a blower. And the blowers are usually SO LOUD.

Midnightsky Fibers said...

Wet hands? Is why I haven't chopped all my hair off. Ok, only partly kidding, but I don't usually use paper towels, and I find the dryers to not always do that great a job.

(the starbucks in uvillage also has these handdryers I think)

novemberjuliet said...

Have you seen the dryers at Blue C? They're shaped like a taco and so powerful they make the skin on your hands push back. way fun!

Sometimes I use paper towels so I have something to grab the door handle with.

Robj98168 said...

"Blow Me"

You know how to get my attention to your posts;P (A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste)

I prefer to air dry not possible at work- would be more sanitary too but bad choice for the Bulgarian Electrician I work with- of course, now they put in those auto paper towel dispensers so he has to work on them anyway

Anyway- I prefer air, as I am getting older and you have me lowering the thermometer so I need a blast of warm air now and then

Vern said...

At my workplace, I've recently started keeping a washcloth in my office, and use it as a small towel. I'll take it to the restroom with me, or if I forget it, return to the office with damp hands and dry in the office.

Elizabeth said...

We don't have blowers at work. I've learned how to use one paper towel to dry my hands to where they air dry in a couple of seconds when I'm done. It makes up for the freak from IT who uses three paper towels to dry her hands. One of these days I'm going to haul off and snark at her when I catch her.

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi folks - sorry, I typo'd in my comment. Here's the correction:

While I was working at a hospital they did a study of the difference between paper towels and air dryers - as fas as germs are concerned. Their results found that as long as you make sure your hands are completely dry, the germs will have a smaller chance to grow. The residual moisture on your hands is where they multiply.

Also, if you turn the doorknob with wet hands, you're creating a breeding ground that's waiting for the next person.

Because of that study, I dry my hands, then use a paper towel to turn the doorknob. Wasteful, but we all know there are people out there who don't even wash.... ugh!

Johanna said...

I keep a small hankerchief in my pocket to dry my hands (my body heat dries it out in my pocket again!).

At work we have the Dyson Airblade & I HATE it (I use it when I forget the hankerchief or don't have pockets). It doesn't dry as quickly as it's supposed to & it seems like just such a germ haven (for all those people who don't wash properly) because of the way you stick your hands in.

greeen sheeep said...

You were at The Met?! I'm so jealous!

Unless I am away from home for days, I do not use public restrooms. They freak me out.

*~*Laura*~* said...

I use paper towels.. I need something to open the dirty bathroom doors with! I dont like to touch anything in restrooms so paper towels come in handy!

Kate said...

I don't like public restrooms either. At home I'm not especially germophobic, but out and about where I have to rub shoulders with those of dubious habits? I want to know my hands are clean, and I don't want to touch a doorknob on the way out. A few places are arranged such that there is no door to deal with after hands are washed, and I like that. In those cases I'm happy to use a blower. Everywhere else and ESPECIALLY in restaurants, I'm using a towel between my clean hands and the doorknob. I HATE it when restaurants have doors and no towels. In those cases I'll go back in the stall to get TP. Fortunately I very rarely dine out.

ruchi said...

Usually air dry. Sometimes blow. Paper as last resort.

Kim from Milwaukee said...

I wipe my clean hands on my pants, or my pockets. It dries so quickly that it only makes sense to me to do it that way. It took awhile to get into the habit of NOT grabbing a paper towel, though.

Rosemary said...

I definitely use the dryers, and I really like the dyson ones, I've used them in a few places. I saw a little video online that compared the carbon footprint of using dryers v. paper towels, and somehow they claim that it was nearly the same, but that dryers came out ahead only when you used 2 towels. I just don't see how that is possible, when you must need nearly the same energy to dry the water out of the pulp to make a paper towel as it takes to dry your hands. I GUESS it has to do with the manufacturing of the dryer. But all the various stages of transportation, manufacturing, storage, and then disposal (as well as the fact that paper towels take up landfill space) of the paper towels? Well I just don't see that it comes out in favor of the paper towels in any way. I do like the cloth rolls, but don't know what their footprint would be like.

It's me ...Mavis said...

Air dry... and then open the door with my coat sleeve.

Anonymous said...

The Southcenter Costco has those Dyson driers. I was talking about the dryer for days, it is so cool!

Erika said...

When given the option (that is, when not at work and required to use the, albeit, recycled paper towels), I shake my hands off, and use the dampness left on my hands to tame my crazy hair. Anything leftover either air-dries or is dried by the inside of my bag (jersey cotton).

I used those crazy wind-tunnel driers one time, though. What fun that was! I want one on my shower door - I hate getting out of the bathroom slightly damp and freezing because our house is at 61 degrees...

--Erika

Farmer's Daughter said...

We only have paper towels at school, so that's what I use. At least they're recycled and unbleached paper.

As for home, I use a regular towel. I heard somewhere that the blowers were breeding grounds for bacteria, but I have no idea if that's true or not.

Farmer's Daughter said...

Just another note: I always open the door with my bare hand, not a paper towel. And I even sit on the toilet seat! (I think we had that discussion here before). I'm building immunity and I rarely get sick.

spirit said...
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spirit said...

Ug, typos!

Ever since the swine flu scare they've been putting out alot of hand sanitizer (I live in Texas), so I usually use that. I really don't like getting my hands wet, especially when it's so cold out! I did a study abroad in Japan recently and most bathrooms had no hand dryers or paper towels. It's common that most people carry a hand towel with them and use that. When I was in bigger areas it was usually the dryers and alot of the time it was the high power dryers like the one you described. I thought they were so much fun to use!

Jen said...

We have those amazing driers at the ferries here. I love them. But for everyday, I definitely skip the paper towels - what a waste of paper. I air dry or use my pants. I figure the microbes I pick up on the doorknob are just going to make me stronger.

Anonymous said...

I am in the habit of using paper towels since I work in a hospital. I actually prefer blow dry when in a public forum. As germs, it's all about soap, water and scrubbing. I also use tp or something when grabbing the door. Can't someone see the door handles are a huge source of germ transfer?

Erika said...

Dude! I went to Costco yesterday, and guess what!?!?! They had these exact same nifty driers there!!! My germ-a-phobe hubby even went in to check 'em out! He gives them his seal of approval too.

--Erika

Manda said...

We have these hand dryers at my work! Even more surprising is that it is in a Supermarket in New Zealand and I think they are fantastic (although some people are worried bout germs blowing up into their faces, I love the germs) but most places I'm a dry my hands on my skirt/pants kind of girl

The Raven said...

Until I cut my hair short, I dried my hands on my locks. I have to admit that I am very pleased to learn I am not the only one! Wish I had thought about it before my haircut...

And I too am "building immunity" as Farmer's Daughter says.

Condo Blues said...

I used one of the Dyson dryers at the mall yesteday. It was the first time ever that I didn't have to dry my hands off by wiping them on my pants after using the hand dryer.

Allie said...

I use paper towels, as they're more sanitary than the blowers. However, I use a minimal amount. I always saw using gobs of paper as being unnecessary and wasteful.

If there are no towels but there are blowers, I use my jeans.

Brad K. said...

Crunchy,

I figure that any electricity that comes from the national grid is either coal or oil generated - or consumed capacity to require coal and oil generation to make up the difference.

In once sense or another, until the last coal and oil fired utility is retired, all electricity bears the burden of keeping them on line.

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