Almost two years after the WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic, the world has gradually started to get back to business as usual. Meanwhile, the continued importance of protection against the virus has led to the increased need for a 100% clinically tested and reliable foam hand sanitizer made with ingredients sourced from nature. Advocating for this, Environmental Science Hygiene LTD Nigeria recently launched PalmTree Hygiene Foaming Hand Sanitizer, a first all-natural foaming hand sanitizer made from palm wine, locally produced, manufactured and distributed in Nigeria. In this conversation with Sam Awolesi, the Managing Director, he discusses the efficacy of the product and its importance in the fight against zoonotic germs, Chiamaka Ozulumba brings excerpts:
Environmental science hygiene is relatively new in Nigeria. Tell us about your business and PalmTree Hygiene Foaming Hand Sanitizers?
Environmental Science Hygiene (ESH) Nigeria is a subsidiary of Environmental Science Group (ESG) established in 1994 in the United Kingdom. ESG is an industry leader in health and safety, workplace risk assessment, air quality monitoring and hygiene improvement personal. . In 2020, with the help of experienced physicists, chemists and engineers, we have developed a unique and effective premium hygiene product from an untapped natural source with the main purpose of combating the spread of zoonotic viruses, namely SARS-CoV. ESH Nigeria was incorporated in August 2020 as a production hub for PalmTree Hygiene product lines and commenced operations in the last quarter of 2021.
The Coronavirus has been around for a while. What inspired the creation of this foaming hand sanitizer and why is it special?
The recent pandemic has created tremendous global demand for effective and high quality hand sanitizer products. Experts predict that COVID-19 will remain active in populations around the world for a few more years. Therefore, the demand for hand sanitizers and virus sanitizers may increase to a consistently high level.
When the pandemic took effect, we were approached by several companies asking us to help them produce a highly effective hand sanitizer. When we started this experiment, we leveraged our knowledge of the market which told us that over 80% of users prefer foaming hand sanitizers over gel or liquid variants. We have learned from the medical industry that most people prefer foaming hand sanitizers because they do not irritate the skin or cause any reactions. We decided to take this knowledge and combine it with the expertise we have acquired over the years; we produced the foaming hand sanitizer.
In addition, more and more consumers are looking for sustainable and environmentally friendly products. Many companies around the world are already investing in the development of herbal products. Our product is the first hand sanitizer whose active ingredient (alcohol) comes from nature, i.e. from local palm trees. The product is proven to be allergy-free and has a pleasant coconut scent that helps decongest the nasal passages.
Unlike what is available on the market, the active palm ingredient in your product comes from palm trees. What inspired the decision to source alcohol from palm trees?
The WHO says disinfectants must contain at least 60% ethanol. While everyone uses ethanol from corn, cassava, etc., which destroys crops and reduces supply. So we decided to use palms sourced locally from Nigeria. This is the first time you have a naturally sourced, sustainable source of ethanol that does not harm the plant or the environment. This has never been done before. We created the world’s first foaming hand sanitizer from sustainable natural sources.
For many years, Africa has been adorned with so many natural resources. The palm tree is one of them and now is the time for us to show what nature has given us and share it with the rest of the world. That’s why our slogan is “From nature’s palm to yours”. That is, from the palm of Africa to the palm of everyone in the world.
Since the active ingredient in Foaming Hand Sanitizer comes from nature, can you explain how the product and the production process are environmentally friendly?
Unlike other sources of ethanol, palm is environmentally friendly. In addition, other sources of ethanol are harmful to crops and can impact food scarcity. The uniqueness of PalmTree Hygiene Hand Sanitizer comes from the process of extracting alcohol which is naturally sourced and distilled from the sap of the palm tree. This is done without damaging the tree and has no adverse impact on the environment.
Explanation of your slogan signifies your plan to supply sanitizers beyond Nigeria and Africa. Can you talk about it?
Although the product is already supplied to the international market from our UK hub, we are considering using the factory in Nigeria to increase the availability of the product internationally. This is necessary because the key ingredients are sourced here in Nigeria and so we have set up a factory here.
Is the product certified by health organizations?
PalmTree Hygiene Foaming Hand Sanitizer contains over 60% alcohol as recommended by WHO and is certified to kill 99.999% of bacteria and germs. The product has also been tested and passed the evaluation of the European standard EN 1276 of chemical disinfectant or antiseptic for bactericidal activity. The disinfectant is also deemed fit for use in Nigeria if it has passed the local regulator’s (NAFDAC) test as an effective disinfectant to combat the spread of zoonotic viruses.
You described a unique foaming hand sanitizer. How affordable are they in the local market and how are the products accessible?
Even though our product is a premium product, we have worked very hard to make it affordable. Compared with other products, our price is the most affordable, especially in Nigeria. We have priced the product so that the average Nigerian can afford it. This product could cost three times as much in the UK. In Nigeria, our smallest range, 60ml, can cost as little as N1,200. In comparison to similar products, this is less than 50% of their selling price. The product is affordable because we manufacture locally, which creates jobs for our people.
PalmTree Hygiene Foaming Hand Sanitizer is available in supermarkets in Lagos. To place an order or for more information, one can visit our website at www.palmtreehygiene.com.
“For many years, Africa has been adorned with so many natural resources. The palm tree is one of them and now is the time for us to show what nature has given us and share it with the rest of the world. That’s why our slogan is “From nature’s palm to yours”. That is, from the palm of Africa to the palm of everyone in the world”