2020: The Year of Sustainable Hygiene

10 December 2020

At Papernet, the year started with a laser-like focus on sustainability and developing products to support the planet as the environmental crisis continues to grow. But by March, we began to shift to another crisis: the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, demand for hand hygiene solutions rose dramatically. Everything from paper towels and toilet tissue to hand sanitizer flew off shelves, straining both business and consumer supply chains.

Fortunately, we adapted by employing an agile work process, shifting resources flexibly to areas of the business that needed them. While doing so, we kept a high priority on sustainable hygiene, developing new solutions that enhance restroom hygiene without sacrificing sustainability.

Sticking to our Sustainable Values

Throughout 2020, we kept our attention on creating products to minimize environmental impact and helping others understand the importance of corporate sustainability efforts. In February,  Harris Poll conducted a survey on our behalf which found 77% of Americans would prefer to purchase from brands that make fighting global warming a priority, reflecting growing interest in sustainability during the purchase process.

To respond to increased online ordering and demand for sustainable solutions, we launched new plastic-free packaging for select Heavenly Soft products in October, which helps businesses like retail clubs and e-commerce operations reduce environmentally harmful plastic waste while saving storage space. And as the business case for sustainability got stronger, our Environmental Sustainability Manager, Phillip Malley, summarized the argument well in Cleaning & Maintenance Management magazine. “A carefully planned, well-rounded commitment to sustainability,” Malley wrote, “is a wise decision for the financial future of any organization on this rapidly warming planet.”

As the year neared its close, we participated in the 2020 ISSA Show North America Virtual Experience in November, where we unveiled our HyTech Ocean line of toilet paper and paper towel dispensers. Crafted from a mix of 30% plastics recovered from the ocean and 70% recycled industrial and post-consumer materials, HyTech Ocean dispensers feature high-impact strength and a sleek design. Though the COVID-19 pandemic dominated much of the conversation in 2020, we continued our efforts to create a more sustainable future.

Maximizing Hand Hygiene during a Pandemic

When dealing with any infectious pathogen, including a respiratory virus like SARS-CoV-2, proper and frequent hand hygiene is essential.

To promote hand hygiene, we first published a series of five best practices to help facilities limit the spread of pathogens and support occupant well-being. We also released Heavenly Soft Special Door Tissue to reduce contamination of touchpoints like elevator buttons or restroom door handles. The corresponding Defend Tech dispensers utilize silver-ion technology to repel germs and further support hand hygiene.

To protect the health of occupants in the facilities we serve, releasing new hygienic solutions was crucial during this pandemic year.

The Future of Sustainable Hygiene

Our efforts in the realm of sustainable hygiene will continue. As the most recent Sofidel Integrated Report shows, we have improved our efforts to protect the planet by promoting sustainable forestry and waste reduction. In addition, we have increased our capacity to manufacture high-quality, hygienic paper products by opening a sprawling new plant in Inola, Oklahoma. After 2020, the future of sustainable hygiene – and the future of Papernet – is bright.