As we enter the new year, more facilities are looking to adopt sustainable practices. Eliminating waste in the restroom is a good place to start.
A 2018 survey conducted on behalf of paper towel and toilet paper manufacturer Sofidel America Corp. found approximately one-in-four Americans admitted to taking more paper towels than they needed to dry their hands in a public restroom. More than half (57 percent) believe towel dispensers waste more product than necessary.
“With restroom guests admitting to overusing paper towels, it’s possible they also overuse toilet paper,” said Giorgia Giove, marketing manager with Sofidel.
Manufacturers are taking note of this waste and creating dispensers that provide a specific length of product and limit the amount restroom users can receive in a “second helping.” According to Bill Hemann, vice president of sales and marketing for restroom supply manufacturer HOSPECO, limiting this waste can help facility managers drive a much larger agenda.
“Dispensers should minimize product waste as a part of sustainability efforts. There is much incentive today for buildings to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification,” Hemann said. “Everything adds up to creating a sustainable, environmentally friendly, efficient operation, and the restrooms need to be a part of that.”
Here’s how facility managers can make that happen.
Smarter Waste Management
Dispensers are using smart technology to prevent product waste. Sensors inside the dispensers connect wirelessly to a dashboard that facility managers and cleaning staff can access via a mobile device or computer to keep track of product levels.
“The sensors monitor the dispensers for toilet paper, towel, and soap levels to prevent partial rolls or bottles from being discarded too early, and to ensure empty rolls and bottles are replaced promptly,” said Mike Slawson, vie president and general manager of the internet-of-things-enabled dispenser business at Georgia Pacific (GP) Pro.
The smart technology not only has the benefit of reducing product waste, it also reduces labor costs due to inefficient restroom cleaning schedules. Many dispenser manufacturers are on board with this technology, and if they’re not implementing it now, they will in the near future. “We believe integration of dispenser technology with cell phones, apps, and software to help save labor dollars associated with more predictive scheduling of restroom cleaning will continue to escalate,” said Phil Hart, vice president of revenue management at Morcon Tissue, a manufacturer of restroom paper products.
Dispenser innovations do more than help save time and money; they protect health by providing a hygienic method for restroom patrons to receive towels and tissue. Even toilet paper dispensers are making it easier to for guests to access tissue. Similar to touchless paper towel rolls, some toilet paper dispensers automatically distribute precut tissue, preventing guests from having to stick their hands into a large unit to find the tail end of the roll. This minimizes patron exposure to bacteria and germs.
Look to a Touch-Free Future
Some manufactures envision a fully sustainable and touch-free restroom, encompassing all areas of the environment from toilet seat covers to feminine hygiene products, and even air care. “The most advanced smart restroom technologies will offer an open architecture platform that allows them to communicate with all restroom fixtures—from dispensers and faucets to flush valves, lighting, and HVAC systems—and, ultimately, any system within the entire building,” Slawson said.