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Sustainable Supplies Of Sanitisers To Schools

A pioneering new system of supplying sanitising products to Dundee schools is already cutting down on tonnes of plastic waste and the carbon footprint of the hygiene operation.

When pupils and staff returned to the classroom last year after the first lockdown, the urgent need to supply sanitiser for hand hygiene and surface cleaning resulted in tonnes of plastic waste and increased delivery journeys to replenish stocks.

However, following a review by the city council, a new operation to supply sanitisers in refillable containers will result in savings of around £4,000 a month alongside plastic waste reductions of around 1.2 tonnes per school year compared to the previous process.

And the product which is being used in refillable containers is environmentally-friendly electrolysed water. This has the same sanitising properties as chemical sprays and alcohol hand gels, but without harsh active ingredients.

City council children and families convener Councillor Stewart Hunter visited St Paul’s Academy to talk to senior pupils with an interest in climate and environment issues about success of the project.

He said: “There was very valuable input from St Paul’s Academy pupils to this effort last year and we now have a system in place that helps in keeping keep everyone safe while delivering environmental benefits.

“Our initial sanitiser supply reaction to the reopening of schools created a problem of waste, and what the council has been able to achieve through the procurement process is a much more sustainable way forward.

“This solution not only assists our efforts in fighting the spread of coronavirus, but does so in a way to limit the environmental impact.”

Cllr Hunter will be joined by Keith Goodwin from supply firm Instock, which is working with the city council through the national procurement process, and Erik Smyth from electrolysed water sanitiser company Dew.

The system uses coded containers, to allow for monitoring of supplies. Empty reusables are only picked up when supplies are being delivered to a school, to cut down on the number of journeys undertaken.

The system uses coded containers, to allow for monitoring of supplies. Empty reusables are only picked up when supplies are being delivered to a school, to cut down on the number of journeys undertaken.

More and more of the reusable containers used in the supply chain are made from recycled material themselves.

Keith Goodwin, of Instock, explained: “We have been working hard with Dundee City Council to provide a sustainable solution to the demands that have been caused by the pandemic for sanitiser supplies.

“We were delighted to be able to start a partnership with Dew products, a Scottish independent manufacturer to supply a cleaning solution that ticked all the boxes for being environmentally friendly and safe to use.

“With instock and Dew products both being Scottish, this allowed us to set up a recycling solution with the empty containers. We collect when they are emptied and arrange to deliver back to Dew products and they are then cleaned and reused again helping to reduce the carbon footprint further.

“We have had interest from other Scottish councils and are in the process of arranging various trials. Dundee city council has been at the forefront of pushing to change to the electrolysed water cleaning system to help the environment and to implement a cleaning solution that is completely safe for the staff to use without the worry or risk in using harsh chemicals.”

Erik Smyth, CEO Dew, said: “The Dew Products team is proud and excited to be part of the success of the carbon-saving effort by Dundee City Council, which was made possible through close cooperation with Instock.

"Delivering carbon reductions on this magnitude while utilising the existing cleaning regimes was an ambitious task that demonstrates the commitment of all key players to lowering our carbon footprint. This trial establishes a cleaning and sanitising standard that we are confident others will want to follow.”

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