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Why change to foam soap?

24 September 2017

Saving water is a responsible strategy for every company in the food industry. It can also make sound economic sense. A switch to foam soap can offer significant savings… and not just water. 

Staff hand hygiene should form a key part of any environmental audit. Making the change from liquid soap to a foam alternative for hand washing can help a company to deliver significant savings in water consumption. It might not appear to be a hugely significant change, but once implemented it can be the catalyst for significant environmental benefits. As well as enhancing sustainability, it can also offer cost savings. 

Independent industry studies have revealed that people who wash their hands with foaming hand soap use 16% less water to lather and rinse than those using a liquid soap counterpart. If employees are also educated about the right hand washing technique – dispense, lather, tap on, rinse – water consumption can be reduced by up to 45%. 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 also endorsed by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which estimates that water savings of up to 50% can be achieved. 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. 

Environmental benefits 
The consistency of foam soap also delivers a range of benefits. Each hand wash requires 36% less product on average. Foam soap is eight times more spreadable than lotion soap. It also spreads more rapidly. 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 the product, foaming soap biodegrades more easily. 

There are financial benefits too. 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 impressive – 18,000.

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.
 
Less is more
So, if you order one less box this equates to six less cartridges; six less labels and six less litres of chemicals. It means a reduction in the diesel being used – and emissions produced – in transportation. Manufacturers also need to make less soap per unit they sell. As for the distributor; there is less space taken up in warehouse.  

Using a foam hand wash translates to approximately one-third more washes in the same amount of packaging—meaning that the cartridge has to be replaced less often, which ultimately saves time and money.
 
At no cost to hygiene 
Foaming soap dispensers release less soap than regular liquid soap dispensers. But does using less soap equate to less efficacy? Again, independent research, carried out on behalf of the Deb Group, shows that 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 European Union Ecolabel Certificate. This is good to know in terms of reduced environmental impact, but also underlines their continued efficiency and comfort in use.  

A sustainable case 
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 a step that can be quickly and easily taken. It is also a where financial and environmental savings can also be achieved. 


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