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Manufacturer Roundtable
part 1: Hand Sanitizer: What Makes It Green?
part 2: Hand Washing: How To Encourage Restroom Users
part 3: Should Hand Sanitizer Be Placed In Schools, Prisons and Restrooms?
part 4: Tips To Minimize Soap Waste

Hand Sanitizer: What Makes It Green?

By CP Editorial Staff
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In this article, industry manufacturers answer common questions asked by building service contractors

How can hand sanitizer be considered green?


Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be looked at as green based on their two primary components: Ethanol or Ethyl alcohol is the primary ingredient and is typically biobased (as an example, derived from corn), and typically the number two ingredient is water. Both plant-based ethanol and water are considered renewable, therefore the product can be considered green.

— Ron Shuster, product line director, STOKO Skin Care by Evonik, Greensboro, N.C.

 

EcoLogo developed the standard for certifying hand sanitizers based on a combination of factors, including the use of less intrusive raw materials, a reduction of environmental hazards and an increase of product recyclability.  


Formulation highlights include:

•    Cannot use raw materials like Quats and triclosan, which are on the “prohibited substances” list;

•    Must use biobased content;

•    Must be readily biodegradable; and

•    Must be fragrance- and dye-free.


Packaging highlights include:

•    Bulk is excluded;

•    Bottle size minimum is 8 fluid ounces;

•    Shippers must contain minimum 20 percent PCR;

•    Primary packaging must be recyclable; and

•    No secondary packaging.

— Joe Drenik, marketing communications and services senior director, GOJO Industries, Akron, Ohio


Hand sanitizers are considered green because most of the active ingredients are derived from natural sources. A majority of hand sanitizers do not contain fragrances or dyes, which adds to the “environmentally-friendly” position.

— Ronald Lewis, associate brand manager, Henkel - Diversified Markets Division, Scottsdale, Ariz.

 

There’s nothing particularly green about an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Some companies make a green “claim” for using alcohol from “renewable resources.” In North America this usually means alcohol derived from corn. Countries like Brazil use sugar cane to produce alcohol.

— Greg Hill, product manager, hand care, Zep Sales & Service, Atlanta

 

 

Why does hand sanitizer expire and what is its typical shelf life?

All drug products have to have expiration dates. These dates are established based on stability testing of the active ingredients of the drug product over a certain period of time.

— Ron Shuster, product line director, STOKO Skin Care by Evonik, Greensboro, N.C.

 

Hand sanitizers, both alcohol and non-alcohol versions, expire because the active ingredient that provides the germ-killing action is reduced over time due to evaporation or chemical degradation. Hand sanitizers should not be used past their expiration without a confirmatory lab test to accurately measure if the active levels still meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Monograph has been performed.


Most hand sanitizers have a three-year shelf life. The FDA requires that an alcohol-based hand sanitizer maintain a minimum alcohol level of 62 percent to be considered 99.99 percent effective. Some alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain more than 62 percent alcohol to achieve a longer shelf life. Contrary to popular belief, those hand sanitizers with more than 62 percent alcohol are not more effective because they have higher levels of alcohol. They just simply have a longer shelf life. Non-alcohol hand sanitizer containing Benzalkonium Chloride (BZC) must not exceed 0.13 percent BZC.

— Ronald Lewis, associate brand manager, Henkel - Diversified Markets Division, Scottsdale, Ariz.

 

Alcohol sanitizers are regulated by the FDA’s Tentative Final Monograph (TFM). It states they must contain at least 60 percent alcohol to kill germs. Most manufacturers put expiration dates on their products because there is chance that the alcohol level may drop below 60 percent, with time. For example, if the bottle cap is left open there could be some alcohol evaporation, due to contact with air.


In theory, if a bottle is kept tightly closed between uses, the product could be effective for several years.


Typically, manufacturers will state a two-year “shelf life” although the product may be effective longer than that.


As long as the level of alcohol remains at or above 60 percent, the product will work as advertised. Since the FDA is very strict with the claims that can be made for products like hand sanitizers, most companies prefer to state a shelf life since they cannot control how the end user or customer uses the product.

— Greg Hill, product manager, hand care, Zep Sales & Service, Atlanta

 

 

posted on: 2/22/2012


Manufacturer Roundtable
part 1: Hand Sanitizer: What Makes It Green?
part 2: Hand Washing: How To Encourage Restroom Users
part 3: Should Hand Sanitizer Be Placed In Schools, Prisons and Restrooms?
part 4: Tips To Minimize Soap Waste




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