Save more than water

26th of March 2018
Save more than water

In an average office-based business 65 per cent of water use occurs in the washroom. The advantages of foam soap are endorsed by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in the UK, which estimates water savings of up to 50 per cent can be made. Deb Group takes a closer look.

It’s easy to take the water you use for granted. However demand for natural resources is reaching unprecedented levels. Sustainability and environmental awareness are at the top of the agenda.
Scarcity of water is of global concern. Saving diminishing resources is a responsible strategy for every commercial organisation. It is also a strategy that can make sound economic sense.

Hand hygiene should be a key part of any company’s environmental audit. Making the change from liquid soap to a foam alternative for hand washing can deliver significant savings in water consumption. It might appear a simple change, but once implemented it can be the catalyst for significant environmental benefits. It can also potentially impact on your bottom line.

In an average office-based business without a canteen 65 per cent of water use occurs in the washroom. Independent industry studies have revealed people who wash their hands with foaming hand soap use 16 per cent less water to lather and rinse than those using a liquid soap counterpart. If you also educate your employees in the right handwashing technique of - dispense, lather, tap on, rinse - water consumption can be reduced by up to 45 per cent.   The efficiency of this method is clear - when the only water involved is used to rinse the soap away.

The advantages of foam soap are endorsed by the UK Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which estimates water savings can be achieved of up to 50 per cent. For every 100 people employed, this can equate to an annual water reduction of up to 56,000 litres.  As hand washing typically involves the choice of warm water, savings can also be achieved in energy use and CO2 emissions.

The consistency of foam soap delivers a range of benefits. Each hand wash requires 36 per cent less product on average. Foam soap is eight times more spreadable than lotion soap. It also spreads more rapidly which, when combined with the feel of the product, delivers a satisfying experience.  The bubbles of air forced into the product provide its softness and natural lathering, requiring less effort from the user. Less soap is used per wash, therefore less soap ends up in the environment. Also, because chemicals are not needed to thicken it, foaming soap biodegrades more easily.

The financial benefits are equally satisfying. If your current liquid soap order comprises three cases (six litres of product per case); how many individual hand washes might you expect before you need to order again? The total is an initially impressive18,000.

Order just two cases of foam soap instead and your employees will enjoy a total of 17,148 hand washes. For one third less product ordered, you will achieve almost the same total. With each hand wash requiring less soap, the same amount lasts longer, and at less cost.

The environmental impact reveals more than just numbers. If you order one less box this equates to six less cartridges - six less labels and six litres of chemicals less. It means a reduction in the diesel being used – and emissions produced – in transportation. Manufacturers need to make less soap per unit they sell. As for the distributor, there is less space taken up in warehousing.

Using a foam hand wash translates to approximately one-third more washes in the same amount of packaging - meaning the cartridge has to be replaced less often, which ultimately saves time and money. In contrast to bulk systems there are many sealed cartridge dispensers that are particularly robust and some manufacturers offer a guarantee for life.

Foaming soap dispensers release less soap than regular liquid soap dispensers. But does using less soap equate to less efficacy? Research shows there is no significant difference in the cleaning ability between 0.7ml of foam soap as compared to 1.1ml of lotion soap.

A range of foam formulations also carry the EU Ecolabel Certificate. This is good to know in terms of reduced environmental impact, but also underlines their continued efficiency and comfort in use. 
In a world where water restrictions are becoming commonplace, every business is feeling the pressure to respond responsibly. Switching to the use of foam soap is one key step you can take immediately. One where significant financial and environmental savings can also be achieved simultaneously.

Reductions in the use of soap and water for hand hygiene mirror the reduction of emissions in transportation; packaging for distribution and the chemicals involved in manufacture. For any commercial organisation this is a clean ethical choice.


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