New Product Awards Blog

How New Product Award Winner Developed First Antibacterial Hand Towel

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Apr 11, 2012 @ 03:05 PM

Cascades Tissue Group of Candiac, Canada, won a Stevie® Award for Best New Product or Service of the Year in the new product awards categories of 2011 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards  program. (The 2012 IBAs are now open for entries. All organizations and individuals worldwide are eligible to submit entries. The entry deadline is 16 May, request your entry kit today.) Here Cascades Tissue shares their best new product story.

Intelligent Inspiration
In 2004, after the outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) had nearly became a worldwide pandemic, the marketing department at Cascades Tissue Group developed an idea for a paper tissue product that would provide additional protection from contamination by hand contact.

Intelligent Facts
While it is well known that good hand hygiene is the best way to reduce the spread of bacteria, research shows that 50% of people still do not wash their hands after visiting the bathroom. Of those who do, most don’t wash their hands for the recommended 20 to 30 seconds and don’t dry them thoroughly for an extra 10-20 seconds.

Since 80% of infections are transmitted by hand contact, the Cascades project aimed to introduce an antimicrobial agent to dry-paper hand towels that would only be released when it came into contact with wet hands.  And so Intelligent Paper® was created.

Intelligent LaunchNathalie Comeau
It took five years of R&D and several third-party tests by experts at universities in Ontario and Quebec, and at external labs in the United States, before the emerging technology, Cascades Intelligent® antibacterial hand towel, could be launched on May 18th, 2010, a world first.

Cascades describes their product of the year as Intelligent™ because it compensates for people’s improper hand hygiene habits without changing their way of doing things. When in contact with wet hands, the Intelligent Paper® releases and transfers to hands an active ingredient, benzalkonium chloride, which is also found in other products in similar concentrations such as eye drops. Almost instantly, it significantly reduces bacteria left on hands and provides an antibacterial protection for more than 30 minutes, something that no other hand hygiene products, such as alcohol-based hand sanitizers, offer. The product is effective even in areas with limited water supply since it requires only 3 to 5 ml of water to activate the antibacterial ingredient.

The environmentally preferable Cascades Intelligent® antibacterial hand towel is made with 100% recycled fibers, and is recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable. Its green color makes it easy to identify from regular paper hand towels. The technology innovation is also safe, odorless, and non-irritating for skin.

Intelligent Benefits
Cascades Intelligent® antibacterial hand towel offers many benefits for the consumer; for industries such as food services, food processing, healthcare, and transportation; and for education markets.

  • First, paper towels are already regularly used during hand washing. Consequently, users of the Intelligent® antibacterial paper towel don’t have to change their habits or add a step during the hand washing process and will stay protected against subsequent bacterial contamination for a significant time period.
  • Secondly, by reducing the quantity of residual bacteria on hands, the Intelligent® paper reduces the risk of contamination. Companies using this product enhance the importance of hygiene for their employees.
  • Finally, there is no expiration date, so storage procedures do not have to be changed.

Intelligent Approval
Cascades Tissue Group holds a patent pending on the manufacturing process and the product, as well as a trademark on its green color. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a letter of non-objection for the Intelligent® hand towel paper and considers that there is no risk in handling food after its use. The Cascades Intelligent® antibacterial hand towel is currently available in Canada.

Intelligent Awards
The Cascades Intelligent® antibacterial hand towel recently received a Stevie Award for Best New Product or Service of the Year at the 8th International Business Awards ceremony which took place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, last October.

“We are proud to have been recognized by this prestigious award for our new antibacterial hand towel,” said Nathalie Comeau, Innovation Director for the Cascades Tissue Group’s Away-from-Home division in North America and the person who initiated the creation of the Intelligent® antibacterial paper. “Cascades has invested more than five years in R&D for its antibacterial paper hand towel and this new award confirms the need and the great market potential for this major innovation.”

About Nathalie Comeau:
Nathalie Comeau is Innovation Director for the Away-from-Home division in North America and is the person behind the concept for Intelligent Antibacterial Paper. She has been with Cascades for over 20 years, first working in sales and marketing. Her experience in the paper industry, combined with her creative ideas, led her to see the potential of such a product and to convince the company to invest in this project.

About Cascades Tissue Group:
Founded in 1964, Cascades produces, converts, and markets packaging and tissue products composed mainly of recycled fiber. Cascades employs more than 11,000 employees who work in over 100 production units located in North America and Europe. Cascades' management philosophy, its more than 45 years of experience in recycling, and its continued efforts in research and development are strengths which enable the company to create new products for its customers. The Cascades shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol CAS.

Tags: business awards, International business awards, product of the year, new product awards, technology innovation, emerging technology, best new product, Cascades Tissue Group, Nathalie Comeau