Washroom solutions pass with Honours at university
10 August 2017
University of Plymouth Students’ Union (UPSU) is an independent registered charity that seeks to represent all the students of Plymouth University.
They host the sports clubs and societies, manage campus sport facilities and provide volunteering opportunities, independent advice, entertainment, shop, accommodation, catering and bars.
Facilities supervisor Richard Hicks said: “With 75 permanent staff and around 200 casual student staff, we do make a small surplus (profit) but our principal funding is an annual grant from the University, of around £1.7million, so maximising, and being accountable for this budget is key, and facilities is obviously a significant spend from this pot."
Addressing high levels of waste
There are approximately 30 toilets across the UPSU estate and they were using a single sheet centre feeding style device throughout these facilities.
Richard said: “We found these devices were not really working for us. Firstly, once the roll is three quarters used up, it dropped and got stuck – meaning that we were wasting the last quarter of the roll. This level of waste soon mounts up.
“Secondly, the devices do not look like traditional dispensers. Students had a tendency to push the paper back through the small, round, dispenser opening (either by mistake or “for fun”), meaning the next user has no access to paper. The net result was students trying to force the dispenser open – and actually pulling the dispensers off the wall. We were losing three dispensers per week because of this problem, and we knew we had to look for an alternative solution."
A local distributor recommended Metsa Tissue's products for use in high traffic areas. Their new range of Katrin Inclusive dispensers, which come with a wide range of accessibility features, are also suitable for an educational environment.
The new Katrin Inclusive Dispenser range includes 10 dispenser types, all available in either black or white. The paper is designed to be easy to remove, can be pulled out with one hand and large “push faces” for the soap dispensers require no effort to use. Contrasting colours make the dispenser openings easy to see and braille text where relevant, also helps the visually impaired. Dispensers that open upwards make it much easier for people of all heights to fill and simple graphical signage shows how they should be used and maintained. All of the dispensers are easy to disassemble and are made from durable ABS and Polycarbonate plastic, both of which are totally reusable.
UPSU installed white Katrin Inclusive System Toilet Dispensers, with Katrin Classic ECO System Toilet 800 sheet paper.
Richard said: “A full dispenser holds 2 rolls of 800 sheets each (1600 sheets of paper) – which lasts a good length of time, even during high usage periods. The clear sides of the dispenser mean that cleaning staff can see at a glance if a new roll is required, and each roll is used right to the end. So we have totally eliminated our waste problem, reduced the work load for our cleaners and we are making considerable savings on our paper."
The Katrin product is manufactured by Metsa Tissue, part of Metsa Group. Recycled fibre accounts for 60% of the fibre used, and all primary fibre suppliers are chain-of-custody certified, ensuring sustainable forest management.
Mark Dewick, MD for Metsa Tissue in the UK, said: “This sustainable approach helps to explain the thinking behind the product recomendations for USPU.
“The Katrin Inclusive dispensers are completely recyclable and the Katrin Classic Eco System Toilet roll is made from 100% recycled fibre, but is an excellent quality – and feels very soft. It carries both the Nordic and the EU Ecolabel – so is environmentally friendly as well."
Confidence in conventional design
USPU also believe that the students easily recognise the Katrin Systems as toilet systems – something that wasn’t always true with the original solution. They are a more conventional design and student feedback has shown that they understand them and like them a lot better.
Richard also implemented new Katrin Inclusive hand towel dispensers, and a Blue Katrin Zig Zag hand towel.
“We were using a rough brown c-fold towel, and these have considerable opportunity for wastage as well. When you try to grab towels, there is nothing to really take hold of. As a result, students take many more than they need, and often, some drop on the floor. In addition, people never open out the towel, to enable them to use the full surface area – so again, need more towels to dry their hands.
He continued: “The Katrin Blue Zig Zag towels are always self presenting, so “you pull one and you get one” which from a usage point of view is perfect. And because the sheet is already opened out, we get better value for the surface area, so we are also saving approximately 8% on our budget here as well."
Katrin is a win - win
The washrooms were completed with the Katrin Inclusive soap dispensers.
Richard said: “A total Katrin Inclusive solution gave the washrooms a consistent, stylish feel, whilst overcoming a host of problems that we were experiencing. It was a really good fit.
“The users appreciate it, the washrooms add to the ambience of the University environment and UPSU is saving money and supporting its Corporate & Social Responsibility goals – Katrin was a real win/win for everyone."