What Is the Cost of Clean?

Retailers should consider more than the price of paper towels when looking at hand-drying options.

October 12, 2020

This article is brought to you by Excel Dryer. EXCEL-CMYK_WHITEBORDER-200.jpg

EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass.—With customers more concerned than ever about hand washing, convenience retailers are shouldering more costs to provide hand sanitizer, soap, water, hand dryers or paper towels. “The annual cost of paper towels can be high, but with COVID-19, many retailers are experiencing even higher costs this year,” said William Gagnon, vice president of marketing and sales for Excel Dryer.

Retailers often overlook some of the hidden expenses to using paper towels. “There’s more to consider than the amount of money paid for paper towels,” Gagnon said. Here are three additional reasons to consider replacing paper towels in restrooms.

1. Paper towels have to be restocked on a regular basis. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated that restocking because more people are washing their hands more frequently. “What used to be a once a shift check and restock now might need to be done twice a shift to avoid running out of paper towels,” Gagnon said.

2. Paper towels generate more trash. Many times, paper towels end up on the restroom floor or clogging sinks and toilets, creating more work for staff already tasked with extra cleaning because of the coronavirus. Not having paper towels as a drying option keeps the restrooms looking cleaner to customers.

3. Paper towels are not friendly to the environment. Paper towels are made from trees. While some are made from recycled paper, paper towels have a one-use life and can’t be recycled again. One ton of virgin paper towels consumes 17 trees, uses 20,000 gallons and pollutes 7,000 gallons of water, produces more than three tons of CO2 emissions and requires 40 cubic feet of landfill space.

Retailers should take into account these additional factors, along with the actual cost of the paper towels, when considering a switch to hand dryers. “Making an informed decision based on these cost factors will help ensure you are meeting the needs of your customers and staff at a time when cleanliness is so important,” Gagnon said.

This is the second installment of a four-part series about hand dryers at convenience stores. Read part 1 here and look for part 3 in the October 19 edition of NACS Daily to learn about the benefits of hand dryer filtration systems. Click here for Excel Dryer’s free cost savings and environmental calculator to help factor what you’re paying for paper towels.