Washrooms, the environment and big data

As you can imagine, we spend a lot of our time talking about the bathroom (or washroom, as our friends across the pond say) but probably not as long as you guys spend in it. Did you know that the average person will spend one and a half years of their lifetime in the washroom? 62 of those days are spent just on drying ourselves!

But while stats on personal washroom time are interesting, it’s actually the impact on the environment that should be grabbing the headlines.

There are 70 million washrooms across the world, which are responsible for a big chunk of our water use. When it comes to being wasteful washrooms are a biggie – a broken toilet can misuse up to 200 gallons of water in a single day.

For businesses, the damage is often greater – the average person uses up to 3,000 paper towels at work in one year. Until last month, RBS were spending huge amounts per building per year on maintaining their washrooms. Their paper towel usage was staggering and in terms of waste, it equated to 14 tonnes of waste per building, per year.

Globally, over 1 trillion paper towels are used each year, producing 3 million tonnes of waste and costing a whopping £10.5 billion. The cost to the environment is even greater. In terms of trees 54 million of our leafy-green friends end up in landfills every year.

As the Cleantech revolution takes off and businesses start to take sustainability and environmental issues more seriously, the energy-hungry washroom is becoming a hot topic.

Washrooms are guzzlers of energy, especially when it comes to hand drying. Workplace handdryers are used on average 150 times every working day (and there are 260 of them!). 20% of washrooms use ‘energy-hungry’ hand dryers – greedy, energy-inefficient brutes which should be ashamed of themselves.

But above all, washrooms are a drain on costs for businesses. Not only do they need daily monitoring and cleaning by personnel, but businesses spend £1000s per year in paper towels alone, which can cost as much as 2p per dry. For a washroom that sees 200 hand-dries a day, that’s £1,460 a year per washroom!

And luckily we now have the tools to make a real impact. The rise of big data technologies mean that monitoring washroom-based activity and statistics provides a huge opportunity for businesses to better manage their energy usage, human resources and, more importantly, reduce costs.

So what does this actually mean in real terms? Well, remember RBS? Since the bank installed our EcoCurve handdryers in 50 sites, not only has it reduced its paper towel waste, but it’s saved a staggering £30k saved per year, per building.

Here’s one building’s 5-day paper towel usage…

Paper Towel Waste with Perspective1-1 copy (1)

For more on EcoCurve and to calculate how much your business could save, head to our cost calculator.