Earlier this year, when COVID-19 first started to spread across the country, scientists knew very little about the emerging pathogen. As infections began to rise, experts went about to determine how exactly the disease was spreading. One aspect of transmission that became highly evident was the virus’s ability to spread so effectively in indoor environments.
As research continued and the potential for airborne transmission was realized, concerns arose in the business community on how to safely and effectively manage indoor air quality to protect the health of building occupants.
Coronavirus and the Indoor Workplace
As the threat of indoor air contamination was better understood, the CDC set up guidelines to help businesses modify indoor workspaces in an effort to reduce transmission.
Through the help of these guidelines, it is possible to safely reopen an office or indoor work environment at reduced capacity. Please note that this information is subject to change dependent on a region’s transmission rates.
The Importance of Ventilation and Filtration
One aspect of reducing indoor transmission of COVID-19 is the need for adequate ventilation and filtration. Businesses should consult with their HVAC contractor to ensure that air conditioners, heating systems, and ventilation fans are thoroughly cleaned and operating at maximum effectiveness.
Businesses should also review the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of all air filtration units operating at their facilities. The higher a MERV rating, the better potential for a filter to remove virus particles from the air. According to the CDC, MERV ≥13 filters are efficient at capturing airborne viruses and removing them from circulating air.
To ensure employees’ health and safety, business owners must make certain all the necessary measures are taken to thoroughly inspect and correct potential ventilation problems for an indoor workspace. This protocol, combined with social distancing measures and the frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces should help reduce the potential for viral contamination and spread in an office environment.
For over 85 years, Imperial Dade has been a leader in the distribution facilities maintenance supplies, chemicals, and cleaning equipment. For professional help in combatting the spread of COVID-19, you can count on Imperial Dade to offer both outstanding customer service and high-quality product solutions for your business. For more information about our products and consultative services, contact us today!
The secret war between paper towels and hand dryers needs to end in the COVID-19 era. The “health and wellness first” mindset that so many people have developed in the last year has everyone wondering: which product promotes superior hand drying that is both healthy and effective?
The answer may not surprise you if you have followed the news over the years.
You may recall a breakout news story that went viral in the early months of 2018, exhibiting the effects of a Petri dish left to incubate inside of a hand dryer for 48 hours. The student who performed the science experiment shared the photo of the unsightly bacterial colonies that had grown inside the Petri dish on her Facebook page, and the rest is history. The post was shared by 500,000+ people in just a matter of days and covered by local and national news channels and newspapers. This sparked a debate in the scientific community about whether hand dryers were as hygienic as their manufacturers claimed.
Although the news story received national coverage a few years ago, the implications of the experiment’s results have an even bigger impact now that we’re living through a pandemic.
Now more than ever, people everywhere are trying to limit their interaction with harmful germs and bacteria by wearing masks, constantly washing and sanitizing their hands, maintaining social distance guidelines, etc. So, let’s put an end to this debate once and for all. Are hand dryers unhygienic?
The simple answer is yes.
Numerous studies have shown that hand dryers contaminate the surrounding environment by dispersing harmful bacteria and pathogens in the air. The Journal of Applied Microbiology released a study that compared paper towels to warm air dryers and jet air dryers. The results showed that jet air dryers released 1,300 times more bacteria than hand towels. Another study conducted by Tork, an Essity brand, echoed similar results — jet air dryers spread 10 times more germs. A GP Pro infographic found here states that 70 percent of germs released by jet air dryers have a radius of at least four feet. Kimberly-Clark Professional also released an in-depth resource that compares jet air dryers and paper towels on quite a few different factors.
Let’s not forget that in today’s world, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The same study from Tork found that 80 percent of consumers don’t feel safe using unhygienic bathrooms in a COVID-19 world.
The best way to build trust with your customers is to make the switch to paper towels and touch-free towel dispensers. Take a look at these benefits that paper towels offer over hand dryers.
Imperial Dade carries a wide variety of paper towels and dispensers from the leading brands including Victoria Bay. Contact a location near you and request a consultation. View our COVID-19 resources for more tips on creating a healthy environment for all employees and guests at your place of business.
Tips from Mitch Irvine, VP of Sales, National Accounts – Imperial Dade
Buy concentrated chemicals which provide significant cost savings and reduce the need for chemical storage space. Our EDS (Easy Dilution System) or CMS (Chemical Management System) allow for super-concentrated formulas to be mixed by a wall-mounted dispensing system and the final product is only 10% of the RTU (Ready to Use) equivalent.
Invest in maintaining your floor cleaning equipment. Well maintained equipment avoids costly unexpected breakdowns which halt productivity.
Reduce labor costs by implementing robotic cleaning equipment into your operations. Autonomous floor cleaning can save as much as 4 hours a day compared to manual machines, delivering an excellent ROI.
Purchase matting rather than renting. Your establishment can own a custom-printed mat for the cost of about 10 weeks of rental fees. Use an outdoor scraper mat for the initial tough soils and then an olefin mat on the inside to capture the final debris. It can cost up to $500 to remove one pound of soil from a building. Matting is the first defense to reduce indoor floor soil.
Our experienced Chemical Managers and Floor Care Specialists are available to help you reduce costs and improve safety and cleanliness in your facility. Contact an Imperial Dade location near you to get started!
Tips from Andrew Paton, Regional Sales Director– Imperial Dade
Invest in takeout packaging. Save money on leftover packaging. Instead of buying a “middle of the road” vessel for both leftovers and takeout, use an inexpensive package like a paper food pail for customers’ leftovers and utilize a high-end package like a Cube container for takeout and delivery.
In coastal and high-tourism areas, timeshares and vacation rentals are common. Restaurants can create a takeout container or takeout cup that is dishwasher safe and will end up being reused in the kitchens of these rentals. Some examples are souvenir cups and dishwasher-safe takeout containers. Branding a cup or container with your logo and contact information is a great way to market to visitors that stay in these rentals.
Garbage bags and can liners are often misused. Take a look at the garbage bag in your trash can. If there is more than 6 inches of bag hanging off the side, you should be using a shorter, and less expensive, can liner. Try our Accufit liners. Each size of liner is designed to specifically fit the corresponding trash can.
The most common dispenser roll towel in the market is a 350ft roll. The Victoria Bay high capacity roll towel is 1150ft. That’s over three times the amount of paper on the roll. By using a high capacity roll, your staff will change out the towels less often and the cost in use is significantly less.
Handled paper bags are the most common takeout bags in the market due to customer preferences. A great option is a die-cut handle paper bag. These bags are less expensive than traditional rolled paper handled bags yet have the same useful features and benefits.
Our experienced consultants are available to help you streamline operations, save money, and improve customer satisfaction. Contact an Imperial Dade location near you to get started!
Sustainability, while currently in the shadow of the pandemic, will reemerge as a priority for many companies and consumers alike. For this issue of the Expert Interview, Laura Craven, Imperial Dade’s VP of Marketing, spoke with Richa Desai, Director, Sustainability for Sabert, a leading foodservice packaging manufacturer.
LC: Tell us about your role at Sabert?
RD: I have been in this role for just over a year and a half. I am responsible for collaborating with our internal functions to develop a coordinated sustainability road map to deliver Sabert’s sustainability commitments. I am also responsible for designing and executing a sustainability strategy to drive business performance and sustainable innovation across our company’s value chain.
LC: How did you become interested in this field of work?
RD: Sustainability has always been a very integral part of life. I grew up in a small town in the desert region on the west coast of India. The hardships brought by the extreme hot temperatures, followed by practically no rain and frequent power cuts inculcated a sense of value in me for natural resources like water, food, and energy very early on in my childhood. I started my career as an interior designer and always focused on merging modern day advancements in science and technology along with local craft and artisans in the design process to provide not only environmental, but also socially sustainable solutions. Further education, travel to different countries and interactions with national and international experts in the field of sustainability fueled my interest into a passion. Like so many others in the field, it was not a straight career path for me. Today, after a full day of work, I feel immensely satisfied and accomplished knowing that I am contributing, even if in a small way, to addressing some the biggest societal issues of our times. For me it is all about the sense of purpose.
“Sustainability may have taken a back seat, but climate change and packaging waste will still be here with us when we come out of this pandemic.”
LC: What is Sabert’s position on sustainable products and business practices?
RD: Sabert’s commitment to sustainability has been an ongoing effort dating back over 36 years. It is in our DNA to be sustainable. Sustainability is very well integrated into our business strategy which is evident through our Global Strategic Commitment. The commitment, to increase our share of sales from sustainable products, is supported in part by our fully owned plastics recycling facility – Nuvida and investments in local sourcing and manufacturing of all three – paper, plastics and pulp packaging.
LC: Tell us more about Nuvida.
RD: Nuvida is Sabert’s full-service, stand-alone recycling plant, recognized as one of the world’s leading processors and suppliers of food-grade recycled plastic resins. Nuvida has obtained a letter of compliance from the Food & Drug Administration, allowing post-consumer plastic beverage caps to be used in highly regulated packaging applications with direct food contact. Nuvida’s mission is to reduce plastic’s impact on the planet by transforming waste into the highest quality recycled resins.
LC: Has COVID-19 impacted the sustainability movement in foodservice?
RD: Absolutely! We just don’t know how long the shadow will persist. Disposability, which was once a dirty word, has now become a selling point as it offered safety and hygiene. Municipalities paused on recycling and bottle redemption, we experienced a budget deficit, lower oil prices, and changes in regulatory priorities and disruptions in supply chain. All of these factors contributed to a setback in the sustainability movement. Sustainability may have taken a back seat, but climate change and packaging waste will still be here with us when we come out of this pandemic. So, brands that keep their commitments to sustainability will emerge stronger on the other side.
“If there is one thing that is very well evident, it is that take-out and delivery is here to stay along with an increase in e-commerce demand.”
LC: How does packaging fit into sustainability programs in the foodservice industry?
RD: We all know that food packaging delivers many benefits such as food safety, portion control and extended shelf life that prevents food from going to waste. However, the increase in use of packaging has contributed to the waste issue that we are dealing with as a society today.
As a packaging company, we play a key role in being a part of the solution to this single use packaging waste problem. At Sabert, we recognize the importance of moving towards a circular economy where waste is designed out of the process. Following the circular economy principle, we have defined our sustainable products as products that are either compostable or are recyclable with an average of more than or equal to 25% recycled or bio-based content. Through this definition, we are not only addressing the problem of packaging waste, but are also reducing our dependence on virgin fossil fuel based raw materials.
LC: In addition to compostability and recyclability, are there other important attributes of sustainable packaging?
RD: To transition towards a circular economy, we will need multiple materials. It is not about selecting one material over the other. We need to consider the full life cycle impacts of a package. What is important is that we keep our packaging from ending up as waste by designing for recyclability or compostability at the end of their useful life by using recycled, recyclable, bio based or renewable raw materials. For us, it is absolutely imperative to ensure that we are sourcing materials ethically and responsibly, and that we are minimizing GHG emissions, water consumption and waste generation throughout our processes.
LC: How does sustainable packaging fit into certification systems such as LEED or GRA?
RD: Both LEED and GRA encourage sustainable purchasing and waste diversion out of landfill. They grant points/credits for using packaging that contains recycled content and/or is recyclable or compostable. Sabert offers a wide variety of products across its plastics, paper and pulp portfolio to help customers achieve and/or maintain LEED, TRUE ZERO waste certification and GRA.
RD: Earthtelligent is our comprehensive approach to sustainability. Through Earthtelligent, we are collaborating across our value chain, from our suppliers to end consumers, to advance waste reduction, energy efficiency, smart sourcing, education & advocacy and research & reinvention. Each of these pillars have specific goals and metrics. We share our progress on these pillars with our stakeholders through our annual sustainability report.
LC: What other practices can manufacturers employ to reduce their impact on the environment?
RD: When I joined Sabert, the message from our CEO, Albert Salama was very clear – “let’s lead by doing the right thing”. We have been putting a lot of resources towards making our operations sustainable through energy and water efficiency, reducing waste and diverting it away from landfill, carbon reduction through renewable energy, energy efficient fleet and responsible sourcing. In short, we are “walking the talk” by developing sustainable products sustainably.
LC: How does changing legislation pose challenges and how can Sabert help operators navigate and comply with those rules?
RD: With rising awareness around climate change and single use packaging waste, consumers have become increasingly aware of the effects of non-sustainable products on the environment and governments are starting to act. With lack of national consensus around the issue, understanding these policies at a state, city or county level can get complex. We track the regulatory environment on a regular basis and can help operators via sharing a bill tracker that we update every quarter. We also work together with operators to address their specific needs.
LC: What do you see for the future when it comes to consumer preferences?
RD: If there is one thing that is very well evident, it is that take-out and delivery is here to stay along with an increase in e-commerce demand. People have realized the value packaging provides in safety, hygiene and preventing food waste. As per a study conducted by AMERIPEN, packaging is one of the three strategies to prevent food waste and related GHG emissions. Consumers will demand transparency more than ever. Sustainability is on the cusp of becoming a given in any product, right up there with quality and performance. So, I would like to encourage operators to demand sustainability performance in their purchases because it is only through our collaboration that we will create a better tomorrow!
LC: Thank you, Richa! This has been very informative and inspiring!
Contact your Imperial Dade representative today for a review of your foodservice packaging and other supplies. Our experts will help you identify more sustainable options that meet your needs. Visit http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.
Despite different backgrounds, life experiences and age, a common educational experience exists – school foodservice. Whether a student eats in the lunchroom, classroom or simply stops by a grab-and-go kiosk, safety for students is top of mind this fall.
Changing to distance or hybrid learning has changed the way schools provide meals to students, too. Depending on state-by-state regulations, many schools across the nation have not fully returned to in-person instruction. Some schools are providing both to-go bag lunches for home and meals for classrooms. While there are many variables to how schools are managing this, one thing is for sure: School lunches are very important for many students.
Each day, 30 million students are served by the National School Lunch Program, many of whom rely on this offering as a means for nutritious, healthy food.
Automated Labeling for School Meal Programs
This year it is much harder to maintain safety standards with a traditional lunchroom format of service. Schools have adapted by mobilizing staff to bring lunches to classrooms or team up with bus drivers on their routes to deliver to students at home.This delivery style lunch continues coverage, but also increases the importance of proper labeling. Allergies, dietary restrictions and nutrition regulations must continue to be considered – printing these crucial pieces of information clearly on labels makes assessment easy and ensures a safe meal for every student.
Utilizing Clear Labeling for Prep & Food Packaging
Operators are also still focused on serving healthy student meals while taking food allergies and sensitivities into consideration. Changing dietary needs and regulations, compounded with allergies, means school foodservice operators are hypersensitive when it comes to protecting students. The DateCodeGenie® system prints labels for grab-and-go, prep, allergens and more at the touch of a button – and can be customized for your school’s unique needs. Meals can even be individually labeled with student names to ensure safety and prevent mix-ups. Plus, this intuitive system can be controlled from a centralized district or campus location to streamline and save time. Labeling becomes easy, safe and efficient so that you can focus on keeping students safe.
With the Date Code Genie®, school foodservice operators can:
Quick-print labels for frequently prepped items
Label entire meals or individual portions made for grab-and-go
Easily customize labels with school logo, branding and even student names
Display ingredients, allergens & nutrition information clearly on labels
Control multiple district schools in one place
Multiple label adhesives are available, including a tamper-evident style that assures delivered meals have not been compromised. Date Code Genie systems provide benefits to school foodservice operations both immediately and well into the future.
Visit our website and speak with your Imperial Dade representative about purchasing a Date Code Genie for your school or other foodservice operation.
As the economy starts its slow path to recovery and employees return to the workforce, many are wondering what the future workplace will look like after COVID-19. Organizations across the world have reassessed and revamped sanitation practices, furniture layouts, and protective measures. Still, it’s difficult to determine whether these changes will be effective in creating a safe and healthy work environment without outside professionals’ help. That’s why so many business owners elect to utilize safety rating systems to prepare their establishment in the post-COVID world.
At its core, a safety rating system is designed to help an organization cultivate and maintain a workplace that enhances its occupants’ health and wellness. Take a look at some of the benefits offered by these programs.
No two safety rating systems are the same. Below, we will outline some the differences between the GBAC STAR Facility Rating System and the WELL Health and Safety Rating System to help you make the best choice.
GBAC STAR Facility Rating System
The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) rating system, better known as the STAR Facility Accreditation program, is designed to help organizations establish a comprehensive plan for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention. Successful completion of the program requires organizations to demonstrate they can prepare, respond, and recover from biological threats, such as the coronavirus.
To earn this accreditation, organizations must meet the 20 different criteria listed in the STAR Program Elements. Organizations that acquire this accreditation meet the gold-standard of cleanliness and safety in their industry. Furthermore, their staff has the knowledge and tools to provide a safe environment for employees and customers alike.
The GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation program is available for organizations across a list of industries — daycares, restaurants, hotels, schools, stadiums, doctor’s offices, etc.
The WELL Health and Safety rating system focuses on workplace well-being as opposed to strict infectious disease prevention. They take a holistic approach to health and safety by encompassing factors such as comfort and resiliency when developing an effective program.
To earn this rating, organizations must meet 15 out of the 21 possible criteria across five categories:
Cleaning and sanitation procedures
Health service resources
Stakeholder engagement and communication
Air and water quality management
Once certified, organizations must uphold the strict quality standards year after year to qualify for the rating system’s renewal.
Summer is coming to a close and fall will be here sooner than you know it, as will the holiday season. According the National Retail Federation about 40% of consumers begin their holiday shopping in October. And, this year with Covid-related travel and event restrictions, more gifts will be shipped in advance of the holidays than ever before.
If you have not started to plan your holiday marketing strategy, you may already be running late. But don’t worry, Imperial Dade is here to help with a dozen tips on how incorporating packaging into your marketing plan will help you design Instagrammable products that will delight your customers and increase sales. Whether you are a small artisanal food producer or a restaurant with a retail outlet, Imperial Dade has innovative options for you.
Consider your product offering and decide which items are ideal for holiday gift giving. Do you have items that can be packaged in small “stocking stuffer” sizes? Do you have products that can be bundled together to create a gift set? Once you determine your holiday line-up, it’s time to get creative with packaging.
Package your products with gifting in mind. In today’s convenience culture, items that do not require additional gift wrap are more popular and consumers are willing to pay a premium.
Use the correct size package for each product. Too large a package will increase shipping costs and may cause the contents to shift and become damaged. Too small a package may prevent proper closure. Just like Goldilocks, you need to find packaging that is just right.
Consumers today are concerned with safety and sanitation. You may want to consider tamper-evident containers, labels, or wrap-around bands to demonstrate security. The labels and bands can be custom-printed and increase your brand recognition while protecting the contents.
Package items in surprising ways. Bento boxes, wire-handle food pails, and tin-tie window bags are interesting options for items other than sushi, take-out lo mein, or coffee beans. Wood trays and cheeseboards are a great substitute for traditional wicker gift baskets and can be reused. Cardboard pop-up drink carriers can be used to hold products sold in bottles and jars. Get creative and think out of the box, literally!
Containers and cartons are available in hundreds of shapes, materials, colors, and sizes. Find options that reflect your brand image and appeal to your customers’ preferences. Do you sell organic foods? If so, use packages and trays made from rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo or palm leaves. Does your target customer love luxury? If so, select designer boxes with magnetic closures and built-in ribbons. Do you create miniature works of edible art? Choose clear or window packaging to showcase your talent.
If your budget is small, use colorful raffia ribbon to tie up a standard kraft paper carton, add a pretty “produced locally” label with your logo and voila, your product is ready to gift!
If your products naturally go with fun activities, such as popcorn and movies, create themed bundles. Use a large movie-style popcorn tub, include a bag of your gourmet popcorn and a gift code for a movie download from a streaming service. Instant date night!
Incorporate QR codes using labels that, once scanned, will link customers to your website or social media channels where they can learn more about your products.
Shopping local and shopping small are growing trends. Share your story as a small business by including an “About Us” card or a newsletter with each purchase. This will help you engage with your customer on a personal level and may even help spread the word, growing your fan base.
Order your holiday packaging as early as possible (now). This will give you time to photograph your products for your website, social media posts, email campaigns, printed flyers, etc.
If you ship your products, secondary or outer packaging is also important. Choose adjustable shipping cartons that can be configured for a variety of sizes to minimize your inventory. Use dunnage or void fill stuffing to protect the contents, avoiding foam peanuts which tend to make a mess and annoy customers. Use custom-printed carton-sealing tape to promote your brand. Printed tape is much less expensive than custom-printed boxes and can be ordered in small quantities.
Imperial Dade has been helping food processors, farmers, and artisanal producers source packaging products and sanitation supplies for over 85 years. Our experts will help you discover unique packaging options from hundreds of manufactures that meet your specific needs and budget. Contact a packaging specialist for a complimentary consultation. Visit www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.
As schools start to reopen, the health and safety of the children have become a top priority. Many schools are starting back up virtually, but plan to bring students back into buildings soon. However, parents are concerned about sending their children to school during a pandemic and want to know what changes will be made to ensure their safety. Teaching kids about healthy habits starts at home, but it doesn’t have to end there. Schools play an important role in educating students as well. By promoting good hygiene, providing hand washing programs and installing proper cleaning supplies, schools can educate and equip children for healthier habits.
Schools must prove they are doing everything they can to keep students safe and healthy while in their care.
40% of parents worry their children will suffer from a lack of hygiene at school. Their parental concerns are based on their children’s experience. 86% of school children avoid using the toilets at school, and nearly half of all parents point to unhygienic conditions at the cause. As the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Schools must prove they are doing everything they can to keep students safe and healthy while in their care. By insisting that school bathrooms and individual classrooms be properly cleaned and sufficiently supplied with soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer, parents can allay their children’s fears, reduce health-related absenteeism, and create a more relaxed, confident and productive learning environment.
People are aware that handwashing is important, but they don’t make it a habit. It’s time to start teaching students how to wash their hands. Fortunately, teaching handwashing isn’t something schools need to take on alone. There are many programs to help educate children about hand hygiene, from Global Handwashing Day to handwashing programs pointed out by the Center for Disease Control.
Fewer illnesses mean fewer trips to the doctor, less use of antibiotics, and more time in class.
Handwashing can reduce illnesses and keep kids in school. A recent study shows that kindergartners and first graders in the U.S. are chronically absent more than 10% of days within a school year. The report goes on to say that “students who are chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade are much less likely to read at a grade level by third grade – which makes them four times more likely to drop out of school.” When children are taught how to properly wash their hands, fewer illnesses will occur. Fewer illnesses mean fewer trips to the doctor, less use of antibiotics, and more time in class.
Imperial Dade offers quality hand hygiene and restroom supplies from top manufactures including Essity, creators of this infographic available for download. Contact your Imperial Dade Representative today for a restroom site survey and product recommendations. Visit http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.