Tork Aims To Make Hygiene More Inclusive In The Busiest Public Spaces In America – The Restroom

Tork is sharing the real experiences of those experiencing barriers to hand hygiene, using the brand’s paper towel as a medium through its “paper towel plea.” (Photo: Business Wire)

Tork, an Essity brand and global leader in professional hygiene, has launched its commitment to advancing hygiene inclusivity in public restrooms by ensuring all individuals are able to pursue proper hygiene in these settings.

To bring awareness to one aspect of the issue, the brand is spotlighting stories of Americans who face barriers to washing their hands in public restrooms, showing how this negatively impacts the hygiene and well-being of individuals.

New research shows that:

  • Almost 1 in 3 Americans face barriers to washing their hands in public restrooms.1
  • Around 1 in 5 Americans experience difficulties using soap or hand towel dispensers due to an injury, health condition, physical capability or as a parent with a child. 1
  • 1 in 7 Americans cited loud noises as a source of difficulty, either personally or when assisting a child using public restrooms.1
  • More than 1 in 3 Americans cite lack of cleanliness as a barrier to using workplace or public restrooms.1

Tork is sharing the real experiences of those experiencing barriers to hand hygiene, using the brand’s paper towel as a medium through its “paper towel plea.” Unique, printed Tork paper towels feature hand-written notes from individuals who face barriers related to age, neurodiversity, skin sensitivities and hygiene-related concerns. The towels will be installed in select restrooms at business and industry conferences to educate leaders where they are most captive to the message: the busy restroom.

“Many people around the world experience barriers, discomfort, or anxiety when they try to properly wash and dry their hands in a public or workplace restroom,” Ron Clemmer, Secretariat Director of the Global Handwashing Partnership, said. “We know that hand washing is critical for reducing the spread of disease and having the integrity of good hygiene, but it isn’t easily accessible for everyone. We applaud Tork for leading the charge on this important initiative and continuing to push for attention and improvement of the accessibility of hand washing in public and workplace restrooms. Through these efforts, they are paving the way to make it easier for everyone to be able to wash their hands properly in public and workplace settings.”

“We’re spotlighting these hand hygiene barriers because they can lead to restroom avoidance and can go largely unobserved,” Amie Kromis, DEI director, Essity North America, said. “Our ultimate ambition is to explore — and solve for — the ways that the restroom experience could be improved for everyone. Not only is this important for the individual’s ability to use the restroom and wash their hands, but a negative experience in the restroom can impact a businesses’ revenue, as well.”

More than 60 percent of people have a lesser opinion of businesses or venues that provide hand hygiene facilities that are challenging to use.2 Almost one-third of guests at high-traffic venues (such as sport stadiums) who avoid going to the restroom (in high-traffic venue) limit how much they eat and drink to do so.3

Tork recently announced its goal to advance hygiene inclusivity in the restroom at Reuters Responsible Business USA, where the brand joined leaders from around the world to explore how organizations can improve the environmental and societal sustainability of their operations and solutions.

Demonstrating its commitment to enacting and driving change, Tork is starting the journey to engage business leaders and change agents in a range of capacities — from research, training to concepting and development — to create more inclusive restroom designs and facilities. Businesses can visit a new Tork website that features videos of those impacted by these invisible barriers alongside practical steps for businesses to make their restroom more inclusive.

To learn more about barriers to hand hygiene and to join Tork on the journey to a more inclusive restroom, visit: Tork paper towel plea.

1 Survey among nationally representative group, barriers faced personally or in assisting others, 2024

2 Market research survey conducted in North America and Europe with offices, 2022

3 Market research survey conducted in North America and Europe with visitors of high-traffic venues

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