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.