I’ve waited a whole month for this Saturday to roll around. For weeks, I’ve been rinsing, drying, crushing, and collecting our cans, bottles, and boxes in anticipation. This Saturday is the day the county picks up our recycling. I have to drive my tubs to the library parking lot, but I don’t mind. I’m happy to be counted among those who choose to waste less. This reflects one particular side of my personality.
Another side is evident when I wash my hands: I soap up my palms and fingertips. I get between my fingers and up my wrists. After I rinse away the soap, I dry them thoroughly.
And this is the point where the two collide: When I go to dry my hands (and am not at home where clean cloth towels are available), I always reach for the paper towels over a blow dryer.
I know many trees are felled in the making of single-use paper towels, but blow dryers are disgusting: They collect microbes that may have been aerosolized when the toilet was flushed and then blow them onto your hands.
At least, most blow dryers do. HACCP Australia thinks the Dyson Airblade hand dryer can effectively dry hands without recontamination.
Australia Food News reports that the Dyson Airblade is the first hand dryer to be approved for use in food handling areas. AFN explains,
“Using high velocity sheets of unheated air, hands are dried in just ten seconds while, at the same time, 99.9% of bacteria and mould is removed from the air using HEPA filtration…The dryer, unlike conventional warm air hand dryers, does not blow bacteria back onto freshly washed hands nor use a heating element that can induce bacterial growth.”
As an added ecological bonus, the Dyson Airblade uses up to 80 per cent less energy compared with conventional hand dryers.
“Recently unveiled in Australia, the Dyson Airblade hand dryer has already had local success by receiving a New Product Award at its first public launch. It has now been introduced in food manufacturing areas at Cargill’s, Kellogg’s, Fletcher’s International, KFC, Tabro Meats, Wingham Beef and George Weston Food’s Tip Top bakeries, as well as a number of kitchens at McDonalds Restaurants.”
Until these are available in all the kitchens and public bathrooms I visit (and the data shows up on their microbial safety), I try to strike a balance between food safety and eco-friendliness: I use one paper towel to its fullest (two, if necessary), and avoid grabbing a handful out of assumption that they’ll be needed.
I hate assumptions.