When equipping the washrooms of a public sector facility, cost is always a key consideration – but sustainability will also play a part in the purchasing decision and of course, hygiene should never be overlooked. Charlotte Branwhite of Tork manufacturer SCA considers how to tick all the right boxes when equipping a public sector washroom.
It is taken as read that cost will always be a major consideration when stocking a facility funded by taxpayers’ money.
So managers of council buildings and government departments have to be as cost-conscious as possible when making any purchasing decisions.
However in recent years, sustainability has become an essential part of the equation when making public sector purchases. Suppliers these days are increasingly finding that they need to demonstrate a robust sustainability policy in order to be eligible for the tender process.
So cost and sustainability are both key elements in any public sector purchasing decision. But the term: “public sector” does not only refer to offices where state-controlled administration is carried out. It also covers facilities such as state schools and NHS hospitals – both environments in which hygiene is of paramount importance.
And of course, hygiene should not be overlooked in an office washroom, either, since an unhygienic workplace washroom could lead to the spread of infections and consequently absenteeism among staff. This would not only lead to a loss of productivity, it would also have a detrimental effect on staff morale.
So the “brief” when equipping any public sector washroom is to come up with systems that minimise cost in use while controlling consumption and preventing cross-contamination – and that also offer a sustainable solution. And this is potentially a tall order.
However, we at Tork can offer a range of solutions that are ideal for public sector washrooms. The new Tork SmartOne® toilet tissue system, for example, offers single-sheet dispensing which can help to cut consumption by up to 40 per cent*. This not only reduces waste and product costs, it also cuts down on the amount of time spent refilling dispensers which reduces labour costs as well.
Also highly suitable for public sector washrooms or wash stations are two-ply white Tork Singlefold Hand Towels. These 100 recycled, food contact-approved towels are sufficiently large and absorbent to dry the hands effectively, and are housed in a dispenser that gives out towels one at a time to avoid cross-contamination and over-consumption. Tork Singlefold Hand Towels are the most popular choice within NHS hospitals since they combine economy in use with softness and high absorption.
The one-ply blue version of the Tork Singlefold Hand Towel, meanwhile, is particularly suitable for use in schools. Their smaller size makes these towels ideal for children’s hands and they are housed in a dispenser that can be topped up at any time. This avoids the risk of the towels running out between maintenance checks, an issue that could compromise hygiene standards.
An economical and effective soap solution for public sector washrooms is Tork Spray Soap. This is a hygienic alternative to bar soaps and bulk-fill containers since it is housed in a closed cartridge. The fact that each refill contains up to 3,200 shots of soap means that the number of maintenance checks required is reduced, and this saves time and labour costs. Tork Spray Soap is currently one of the best-selling soap systems in UK schools.
Another good solution for schools is Tork Reflex™ Wiping Paper Plus, which is particularly suitable for wiping up spills and paint in the classroom and for drying the hands in the washroom. The paper is housed in the Tork Reflex™ Single Sheet Centrefeed Dispenser which controls consumption and can reduce paper usage by up to 37** per cent compared with equivalent systems. The paper roll is fully enclosed inside the unit to reduce cross-contamination.
A large number of Tork washroom products are available in Tork Easy Handling™ packaging which is designed to save labour time in the facilities sector while also easing the burden of cleaning staff.
Both the Tork Easy Handling™ Carry Pack and Carry Box have comfortable handles allowing staff to carry two packs at a time, one in each hand. The containers are easy to open without the use of sharp tools such as scissors or knives and have features adapted to different finger sizes.
The Tork Carry Box folds completely flat when empty and its integral handles allow the cleaner to carry several empty boxes at a time to the recycling facility. All Tork Easy Handling™ functions have been designed to be as intuitive as possible so that cleaners can easily see and understand them.
While sustainability has become a key driver in any public sector purchase, it is becoming increasingly difficult to recognise a truly sustainable product or company today. A product may be recycled and have minimum packaging, but if that product has had to be shipped from the other side of the world – or if it has been made using high levels of energy – it may not be as sustainable as it would first appear.
One way of assessing an organisation’s true sustainability is not by listening to the company’s own claims, but by checking for accreditations from experts in the field.
For example, SCA has just been included once again in the Dow Jones Sustainability Europe Index - one of the world’s most prestigious sustainability listings – for the fifth time in eight years. The company has also been listed on the FTSE4Good global sustainability index every year since 2001 and in March this year appeared in the list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for a sixth consecutive year.
So, cost-effective products that have been designed to reduce consumption while also maximising hygiene are the best possible choice for a public sector facility. And by purchasing such products from a sustainable company, the facilities manager can tick all the right boxes – while also keeping an eye on the bottom line.
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