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When it comes to pollution, plastic and paper towels are big culprits as Viki Dringer finds out

We’re all aware of the backwards step that has been taken since COVID-19 when it comes to the environment.

Disposable face masks and gloves littering supermarket carparks and picking up the plastic covered veg for fear of contamination.

However, there is another culprit, the humble paper towel. But how could that possibly be a threat?

According to, the paper towel market has grown by 264%. This comes as no surprise as toilet roll and paper towels were likened to ‘gold dust’.

Photos of bare shelves flooded social media as much as the outrage against stock pilers. Coming out of Costco with 48 toilet rolls was the ultimate sin.

Cutting down on waste paper will also help reduce the number of trucks on our roads

Viki Dringer Viki Dringer Marketing Assistant for Jet Towels

The Environmental Impact

So what’s the big problem with paper towels?

Paper towels are contaminated waste therefore they have to go to landfill and in the USA alone, 6.5 million tons are sent to landfill each year.

Worse still paper products in landfill produce methane gas which is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Yes there really is something worse out there than CO2 and it is a leading cause of global warming.

The Paper Towel Lifecycle

Landfill is one big problem but it doesn’t stop there. Have a think about the whole cycle of the humble paper towel.

  1. The beautiful woodland you’ve relied on so much over lockdown well chop those down
  2. Transport them in big fuel guzzling lorries to the factory
  3. Manufacture them in factories
  4. Wrap them up in single use plastic packaging
  5. Get another lorry to transport them to the warehouse (oh and then all around the world)
  6. Now another lorry to collect all the paper towel waste and deliver it to landfill

Wow that’s a truck full of, well, trucks! You get my point.

What’s the alternative?

If only there was an amazing invention of a machine that could eliminate all this wastage.

Something that uses tiny miniscule amounts of energy.

It’s fresh air thinking.

Hang on fresh air, that’s an idea.

Modern electric AIR hand dryers that use filters, just like in your vacuum cleaner to filtrate or kill bacteria.


Are hand dryers hygienic enough in a pandemic?

Now I’m not going to say yes, all of them are.

Warm air dryers from the 80’s that take half an hour to dry your hands are unlikely to have a hygiene filter and frankly we all give up after 15 seconds.

However, modern electric air dryers are extremely hygienic and touch free. This is all backed up by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and the UK Government.

The Good News

Plastic and paper towel pollution is a real problem that we need to be aware of but paper towels can be eradicated if we want to.

Not only that, emissions by cars and other transport were at the lowest levels for years during lockdown which has undoubtedly been a blessing to the planet.

Now I’m not saying that eradicating paper towels is going to solve all our problems, but cutting down on waste paper in this way and moving to hand driers using increasingly renewable electric can not only help increase the levels of hygiene in our washrooms, it will also help reduce the number of trucks on our roads – And that has to be a good thing!

Viki Dringer is Marketing Assistant for Jet Towels