Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Case for Water Soluble Laundry Bags

A recent article in Clean Link discusses a largely unnoticed problem in hospitals; the spread of bacteria in laundered towels. The spread of dangerous bacteria and pathogens causes Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) which, according to the Center of Disease Control, account for approximately 99,000 unnecessary deaths and tens of billions of dollars in costs annually in the US alone. While Hospital acquired infections are well-known and heavily documented, it is a new revelation that they could potentially be spread by towels thought to be clean.

Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist from University of Arizona, conducted a study of 10 Arizona hospitals on the spread of harmful bacteria and pathogens. Dr. Gerba collected three “clean” cloth towels from each hospital and analyzed them for the presence of bacteria. His findings were alarming, 93% of the laundered towels tested positive for dangerous bacteria such as E. Coli and Klebsiella among others.

Gerba pointed to inadequate laundering practices as one of the main culprits. According to Dr. Gerba: “If they’re folding these [laundered] towels, they need to make sure they disinfect the tables first. They could be taking their dirty laundry down and piling it on the table before putting it in the machine.” Gerba also explained that if a janitor or custodian has dirty hands from handling dirty laundry, they could be spreading the bacteria to clean laundry. He further elaborated that a janitor’s hands could get tainted when putting dirty laundry in the washer and then putting wet laundry in the dryer, which could infect the clean laundry.

Water soluble laundry bags, combined with hand washing and other best practices, can drastically reduce the spread of harmful bacteria and pathogens. Water soluble bags are made from non-toxic polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) that will fully dissolve in water at temperatures at 140º F or above. They include dissolvable ties to seal the bags once the laundry is placed inside. When using water soluble bags, janitorial staff will not have to come in direct contact with dirty laundry and will be able to place the bag with the contaminated laundry directly in the washer, preventing the staff from becoming contaminated. The bags, which can hold wet or damp laundry for several hours, will not damage drains or sewer systems, and are environmentally friendly, leaving behind no residue. Water soluble bags, in combination with other best practices, are an inexpensive and logical product for any hospital or long term care clinic. They provide a low cost solution that will help reduce the spread of Hospital acquired infections, which results in healthier, happier patients and significantly lower costs.

Check out Elkay’s selection of Water Soluble Bags:

Item #       Product Name    Size

Gauge

Case Pack

  UOM
WSB2633 26 x 33 Water Soluble Bag 26 X 33 .8 mil         100    CS
WSB2839 28 x 39 Water Soluble Bag 28 X 39 .8 mil         100    CS
WSB3639 36 x 39″ Water Soluble Bag 36 X 39 .8 mil         100    CS

Selling Specimen Bags into Healthcare

The Laboratory environment within healthcare can be complex and constantly changing; however, the good news is that the lab specimen bags used within most medical facilities is quite commonplace. For most lab specimen bags used, there is a typical standardized mix as outlined below:

Key Lab Specimen Bags Used Within Healthcare Locations:

Part Number

Description

Quantity/Case

 LAB20609

 6 x 9 Standard Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

 LAB20810

8 x 10 Standard Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

 LAB211215

12 x 15 Standard Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

STAT Bags for Rush Situations

Part Number 

Description

Quantity/Case

LAB20609STAT

6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with red tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

Colored Bags for Sample Segmentation

Part Number

Description

Quantity/Case

LAB20609BE

 6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with blue tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

LAB20609GR

6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with green tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

LAB20609OE

6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with orange tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

LAB20609YE

6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with yellow tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

LAB20609ROP

 6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with red opaque tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

LAB20609RE

 6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with red tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

LAB20609AS

 6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bags with assorted colors and pockets for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

(200 bags each of red, blue, green, yellow, and orange tints)

Adhesive Seal Bags for Situations that Require Tamper Evidence (such as Drug Testing) 

Part Number

Description

Quantity/Case

 LABAC20610

 Standard 6 x 10 Biohazard Lab bag with security seal and pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

 LABAC21010

 Standard 10 x 10 Biohazard Lab bag with security seal and pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

 LABAC21517

 Standard 15 x 17 Biohazard Lab Bag with security seal and pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

Unprinted Lab Bags for General Purpose, Non-Biohazard Required Applications

Part Number

Description

Quantity/Case

LAB20609NP

Standard 6 x 9 clear Reclosable bag with pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

 

When working with Hospitals or Independent Reference Labs, below are key steps to follow that will make the sales process a smooth one:

1.  Always Start with the end user. Visit the Lab Department to identify the Lab Manager and speak with him or her to identify what types of products the Lab uses today in relation to Lab specimen bags. Be sure to ask about specimen bags and any other type of bags they may be using such as courier bags, etc. You may find that the account uses standard stock products or customized bags.

2.  After you identify WHAT they are using, ask WHO they are sourcing the product from today and if they are apart of any GPO program. The Lab may or may not know those answers, so you will need to find out who the Materials Manager in their Purchasing Department is. Also ask about HOW many bags are used either monthly or annually per SKU.

3.  THEN go to the Purchasing Department AFTER you are armed with the knowledge of what the facility is utilizing. Approach the Materials Manager and mention that you would like the opportunity to discuss specimen bags from Elkay Plastics. State that during one of your visits, you had met the Lab Manager and they shared information about what the facility is using today and that Elkay has a comparable product which may save the facility money.

4.  Once you have been able to contact the Materials Department, work with your distributor account manager to provide a quote and any samples that are required. If at any point along the sales process if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to any member of our Healthcare team. We are here to help and assist with any questions you may have.

5.  Convert that business and begin reaping the volume rewards of healthcare sales! Remember, it begins with YOU simply asking a few questions and leveraging your existing network to get the necessary introductions. Good luck!

Tips for Distributors Selling Poly Bags to Restaurants

Selling poly bags to restaurants can appear to be a daunting task, but don’t sweat it! The best way to resonate with restaurants is to focus on presenting solutions that increase their operational efficiencies that will, in turn, help them control waste and save in food and labor costs. Here are a few simple and effective tips, product recommendations, and solutions distributor sales reps can present during sales calls with restaurants:

Question to ask: Is there any pre-portioning of ingredients for any menu items?
Product Recommendations: Portion Control Bags
Solutions Provided: Less waste and consistent servings through tighter portioning.

Question to ask: Are any ingredients re-purposed for other recipes?
Product Recommendations: Reclosable Bags and Utility Bags on Rolls
Solutions Provided: Food cost savings through less waste.

Question to ask: How are perishables stored in refrigerators and freezers?
Product Recommendations: Reclosable Bags and Utility Bags on Rolls
Solutions Provided: Extended product life and less opportunity for cross-contamination in foods.

Question to ask: Are any menu items baked in hotel or steam table pans?
Product Recommendations: Ovenable Poly-Nylon Pan Liners and Value Plus PTL Pan Liners
Solutions Provided: Savings in labor, utilities, supplies, and clean up costs. Reduces food waste when unused product is stored in the same bag to be re-heated.

Question to ask: Are any soups, chilies, or sauces heated in crock pots?
Product Recommendations: Round Bottom Poly-Nylon Pan Liners and Value Plus PTL Pan Liners
Solutions Provided: Savings in labor, utilities, supplies and clean up costs. Reduces food waste when unused product is stored in the same bag to be re-heated.

Question to ask: Are any menu items or ingredients held in steam tables?
Product Recommendations: Steam Table Pan Liners
Solutions Provided: Savings in labor and clean up costs.

In summary, make a few key observations, ask the right questions, deliver a strong value proposition and you will consistently increase your sales numbers.