While most students are settling into the new semester, Alanna Olear, an environmental engineering major, will be in campus bathrooms measuring the amount of paper towels that were used that day.
Olear is attempting to answer an age-old question that has frustrated most who have ventured into a loo: Is it better to use a hand-dryer or paper towels?
But she is not concerned with which option dries one’s hands quicker.
One of many students taking advantage of UB’s undergraduate research opportunities, Olear is studying which alternative leaves a smaller environmental footprint throughout the life of the product. To accomplish this, she will measure the amount of money and energy used through manufacturing, production and regular use to determine which is more wasteful.