Are Restrooms a Litmus Test for School Quality?

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From holding it in to drinking the hand sanitizer, Cascades Tissue
Group asks current and recent students to evaluate their school lavatory
perceptions, experiences

WATERFORD, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The hallmarks of a good school: brilliant professors, rich traditions,
strong job placement rates – and clean, well-stocked restrooms?
According to a new survey commissioned by Cascades Tissue Group in
advance of Global
Handwashing Day
(October 15) and the upcoming cold and flu season,
65 percent somewhat or strongly agree that restrooms help shape the
perception of the quality of schools they’ve attended over the past 15
years. In fact, 60 percent of those participating in the Cascades 2015
U.S. School Restroom Survey recommend prospective students inspect
restroom quality at schools they’re visiting before making decisions to
enroll.

Ninety percent of those polled agree hygiene was important to them as a
student, and 93 percent say they washed and dried their hands every time
they used the restroom. And while students generally gave their schools
high marks for cleanliness (73 percent said the lavatories were at least
somewhat clean), the majority – 57 percent – felt their schools didn’t
do enough overall to support on-campus restroom hygiene.

Still, the respondents weren’t exactly paragons of sanitation and
wellness themselves. More than 57 percent admitted to using mobile
devices in the bathroom, and 6 percent said they’d worked on their
laptops there. More than 14 percent had studied or read in their
restroom while nearly 12 percent say they’d eaten in the bathroom. In
fact, a notable 7 percent of recent students said they’d knowingly drank
hand sanitizer when attending schools, corroborating with recent reports
of increased calls to U.S. Poison Control Centers over fears of alcohol
poisoning.

“The data suggests that restrooms are really important parts of school
experience,” said Thierry Trudel, Cascades Tissue Group vice president
of marketing and communications. “If people don’t feel the restrooms
they’re in are clean and healthy, their natural tendency is to cut their
cleaning time short – yet that’s precisely when they ought to be
spending more time on hygiene.”

Other key findings of Cascades’ 2015 U.S. School Restroom Survey:

  • More than six out of every ten survey takers reported having at some
    point avoided school restrooms altogether despite needing to use the
    facilities.
  • More than 14 percent went so far as to clean a restroom at a school
    themselves because it wasn’t up to their standards.
  • When asked to cite their top complaint of restrooms at the schools
    they’d attended, the number one gripe was restrooms being out of hand
    towels or toilet paper – 39 percent indicated such.
  • More than two thirds of the former or current students said they
    prefer paper towels to air dryers.

Environmentally preferable products mattered as well; 88 percent of
students agreed it was important to them while enrolled. In fact, 84
percent said they’d be okay with using beige-colored toilet paper if
they knew if was perfectly hygienic and environmentally friendly.
Selling to schools and other away-from-home locations, Cascades Tissue
Group introduced an unbleached, 100 percent recycled bathroom tissue in
2011. The product has earned multiple product and innovation awards for
its ability to eliminate chemical whitening and reduces environmental
impact by 25 percent in comparison to the next most sustainable option.

“It’s validating to see that students value single-use paper products in
the restrooms,” said Trudel. “We’re constantly educating people on the
benefits of paper towels, which are efficiently made from recycled
contents and remain the World Health Organization’s recommended tool for
drying hands.”

Cascades’ 2015 U.S. School Restroom Survey was conducted in early
October 2015, leading up to Global Handwashing Day on October 15. The
survey polled 1,010 students in the U.S. who’ve taken some combination
of on-campus courses at the K-12, college and/or graduate level within
the past 15 years. Cascades Tissue Group sells single-use paper products
such as hand towels, bathroom tissue, facial tissue, napkins, perforated
roll towels, wipers and dispensers to schools and other away-from-home
customers. Individuals interested in learning more about Cascades Tissue
Group’s solutions can visit www.afh.cascades.com.
To receive a free Smart Hygiene School Supply Kit, please visit http://germ-freeschools.com.
Any questions about the survey can be directed to question@cascades.com.

About Cascades Tissue Group

Cascades Tissue Group, a division of Cascades Canada ULC, is the fourth
largest manufacturer of tissue paper in North America. Founded in
1964, Cascades produces, converts and markets packaging and tissue
products that are composed mainly of recycled fiber. The company employs
close to 12,000 men and women, who work in more than 100 units located
in North America and Europe. With its management philosophy, half a
century of experience in recycling, and continuous efforts in research
and development as driving forces, Cascades continues to serve its
clients with innovative products. Cascades’ shares trade on the Toronto
Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol CAS.

Contacts

Kohnstamm Communications
Aaron Berstler, 651-789-1264
aaron@kohnstamm.com