WIT Press


A METHODOLOGY TO SUPPORT DECISIONS TOWARDS ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY IN PUBLIC CONTEXTS: APPLICATION TO HAND-DRYING OPTIONS

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/EQ180061

Volume

222

Pages

13

Page Range

59 - 71

Published

2019

Author(s)

MARCO SCHIAVON, MARCO RAGAZZI, GRAZIANO COLLER, NAVARRO FERRONATO, VINCENZO TORRETTA, ELENA CRISTINA RADA

Abstract

Different hand-drying methods entail different costs and impacts on humans and the environment. This paper presents a methodology to facilitate the decision on the convenience of installing electrical hand driers in place of the conventional toilet paper towels in the restrooms of public places. Specifically, a procedure including both economic and environmental aspects is proposed and the Monte Carlo method is employed to account for the several uncertainties of all the variables involved. From the economic point of view, the number of daily usages of restrooms results as the key variable determining if one option is preferable to the other. From the environmental point of view, the carbon footprint was calculated for four scenarios considering two options for the electric energy grid mix and two options for waste treatment. The comparison between the four scenarios revealed that hand driers may be preferable to paper towels when the waste treatment alternative is landfilling. The results are more uncertain when the waste treatment option is incineration. The integration of economic and environmental aspects reveals as a useful strategy to fully assess the convenience of choosing one option rather than another, without limiting the decision to only one aspect. Additional information on processes and logistics are anyway necessary to reduce the uncertainties of the results.

Keywords

paper towels, hand driers, Monte Carlo method, carbon footprint, energy consumption, waste management, greenhouse gases, road transport, incineration, landfilling