It's Hand Sanitizer Season, but did you know. . .?
Hand sanitizers have been an effective and popular promotional product for a few years. Our customers have used them to put their names in front of their customers in all kinds of different situations, in every shape and form imaginable. There are pens, sprayers, squeeze bottles, pump bottles, wipes, and more. The positive association with good health can be great for branding. Naturally, we've seen greatly increased interest the past few months due to the very real concern about the H1N1 flu virus. But there may be a few things you don't know.
There are many different formulations for sanitizers, but they break down into two categories: alcohol and SAB. According to the CDC, alcohol-based sanitizers can be as effective as hand washing with soap and water in killing germs and protecting against bacterial infection. (Yes, hand washing is considered the best option, but sometimes it is not convenient.) Concentrations of alcohol in products on the market can vary from 65% down to as little as 40%. The CDC has concluded from its tests that a minimum of 60% alcohol is required for a sanitizer to be effective in killing germs. It's important to check what you're buying to be sure. Discount products may be too weak to do any good.
Another concern is that alcohol-based sanitizers are highly flammable. Those with a concentration over 62% cannot be shipped by UPS or FedEx, due to their safety regulations. Therefore, there are few products on the market for promotional purposes that exceed 62%, though they are occasionally seen. This is because the higher concentrations, sometimes used in hospitals, must be shipped by truck, which requires large quantities to keep costs down.
The CDC recommends using enough sanitizer that it takes 15 seconds of rubbing to evaporate. (Once they evaporate, they've done their job.) That is generally a dime-sized dollop, more than many people use. Less than that is considered ineffective. Also, with prolonged use, alcohol-based sanitizers tend to dry out the skin. Some formulations offset this with the addition of moisturizers. You may see aloe and other additives advertised, but be careful as these are often found in products with less than 60% alcohol.
Rather than risk exposure to children, flammability, or drying of the skin, some people may prefer to use SAB-based sanitizers. Never heard of that? Well, probably not by that name. But it's actually the most common over-the-counter antiseptic sold. SAB (Surfactant, Allantoin, Benzalkonium Chloride) is the active ingredient in Bactine. Hand sanitizers made with SAB are not flammable, and offer 2-4 hours of protection after application. In contrast to alcohol-based products, they actually become more effective with repeated use.
There are appropriate situations for using both types. To make sure your marketing works best for you, call us to discuss your needs. We're happy to advise you.
$440 Million in Wasted Printing
A study by Lexmark and O'Keeffe & Company says that of the nearly $1.3 billion the federal government spends on printing every year, almost one-third--$440 million--is waste. The “2009 Government Printing Report” is based on a survey of federal employees conducted in March. Federal employees on average print 30 pages every work day, totaling 7,200 pages printed per employee per year, and 92 percent say they print more than they need. On average, federal workers discard 35 percent of the paper they print out every day. The numbers hold true across various federal agencies and across all age ranges. The report says the trouble stems from the fact that 89 percent of federal agencies don't have formal printing policies in place, 91 percent have yet to adopt automatic duplex printing, and 95 percent don't require employees to enter personal codes to print. When employees work from their home offices, they print only one-third as much paper as they do in federal buildings.
What would you do?