Helping hand

The Rapid City, SD, Post Office is saving money and promoting sustainability by using electric hand dryers like this one.

Paper or air?

At the Rapid City, SD, Post Office, it’s a question of cost versus benefits.

For years, the office stocked its seven restrooms with paper towels for employees to dry their hands.

This added up to 240,000 paper towels a year — or the equivalent of 2,010 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions, 20 downed trees, 3.5 cubic meters of landfill, more than 23,000 gallons of water and 22.6 gallons of gasoline emissions.

Employees realized there must be a more financially and environmentally beneficial way to dry hands, so a team researched the matter and determined electric dryers are the most cost-effective method for facilities with 25 or more employees.

The Post Office bought seven high-performance hand dryers for about $4,000, which equated to $24 per year in electrical costs.

Rapid City’s success earned the office a Postmaster General Sustainability Excellence Award, which honors facilities that help USPS become more sustainable. The office is one of 10 recipients this year.

“We take pride in receiving the award,” said Maintenance Operations Supervisor Wayne Pedersen. “Above all, we take pride in knowing we’re saving our office money while lending the environment a beneficial helping hand.”