How to implement Green Cleaning at commercial facilities – Part 2

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Last week we posted Part 1 of this two part series on Green Cleaning at commercial facilities, covering offices and schools. This part will set out some of the challenges faced with introducing a Green Cleaning program at two other common types of sites:

Green Cleaning in Retail

Introducing a Green Cleaning program in a retail space comes with a different set of challenges as, other than the shop staff, facilities or building managers and the landlord,  you are not dealing with the same group of individuals day in day out due to the high footfall of people on the premises. However, this does not detract from the need to effectively communicate the Green Cleaning program at the facility with those occupants who are at the premises every day so that they fully understand the benefits and advantages, as well as the different types of cleaning equipment and procedures that can be used in a retail space to ensure the least disturbance.

Green Cleaning in Healthcare Facilities

Cleaning for healthcare facilities requires a greater amount of attention to detail than any other form of commercial cleaning. Unfortunately, poor cleaning standards at healthcare facilities have led to a rise in MRSA and other harmful, and sometimes deadly, ‘superbugs’. A good cleaning program, however, can dramatically reduce the risk of these bugs spreading.

As hospitals are active throughout the day and night, the Green Cleaning program must be flexible and adaptable to the facility. Cleaning work will normally need to be scheduled to take place during quiet periods but there are often emergency situations which require a greater amount of flexibility. Working with medical staff to draw-up a list of priorities of the most crucial areas that need cleaning at a facility should be a priority for the cleaning company implementing the Green Cleaning program. Prioritising areas according to potential risks allows a cleaning program to target the most important locations. It also increases and improves the amount of cleaning in high-risk areas that require the most attention. This factor in itself is one of the key elemental differences between a Green Cleaning program and using standard cleaning methods, as it enables the efficient allocation of cleaning resources.

The fact that Green Cleaning products are used in healthcare facilities speaks volumes for the effectiveness when compared with standard cleaning products. Not only do they perform as well as standard cleaning products, but Green Cleaning products also have the overriding benefit of not being harmful to the health of patients at healthcare facilities.

There are clear advantages to implementing a Green Cleaning at commercial facilities as it benefits both the occupants, the business and the environment. If you have any questions about introducing a Green Cleaning program at your facility, contact  The Organised Cleaning Company on 020 74584433 and talk to one of our team who will be happy to help!

 

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How to implement Green Cleaning at commercial facilities – Part 1

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Welcome to Part 1 of this two part series on how to implement Green Cleaning at commercial facilities. One of the keys to successfully introducing  Green Cleaning program on site is to ensure that you have an effective & efficient team implementing the program. Your team should include not just the cleaning operatives but also include members from key stakeholder groups on site (i.e. a representation on behalf of the landlord, the facilities manager and the building occupants) as well as someone from your janitorial supply company.

Although the principles to implement Green Cleaning at commercial facilities are similar when applied to different sites, each type of facility that requires cleaning presents its own unique set of challenges:

Green Cleaning in Offices

The size of the facility determines the application of the cleaning operations. Cleaning a smaller office enables a cleaning company to get to know clients & building occupants quicker. This makes it easier to explain the advantages of Green Cleaning and how it benefits those affected by the cleaning regime.

With larger facilities, the personal touch is lost as often the cleaning company liaises with the facilities manager. A short presentations by the cleaning company to the building occupants (and in most cases the facilities manager, landlord and parties associated with the offices) of large office buildings, explaining the implementation of the Green Cleaning program and its advantages enables greater acceptance and understanding of what the Green Cleaning program is trying to achieve.

Every office will contain people with different sensitivities, allergies and illnesses and a Green Cleaning regime will cater for all individuals as there is no recourse to cleaning chemicals.  Throughout the life of a cleaning contract it is crucial that everybody is kept in the loop and is completely aware of the environmental, financial and health benefits of implementing a Green Cleaning program to ensure effective delivery.

Green Cleaning in Schools

At schools, it is important to engage with all stakeholders – that is everybody at the school from the governs and teachers to the parents and children. All of those affected by a Green Cleaning program (either directly or indirectly) need to have a clear understanding of the new cleaning strategy being implemented at the school and the reasoning behind it.

Parents have their child’s best interests at heart so by understanding the school’s decisions to change to a Green Cleaning program and how this will benefit their child’s health (both in the short and long-term) makes parents feel that the school is mindful of their child’s health and  welfare.

One initiative which has been successfully introduced at schools in South London is Delphis Eco’s The Eco Turtle Project. The project aims to aid education surrounding sustainability in schools and also includes fundraising revenue for the school, enables pupils to learn business skills and gives the school a chance to uphold their environmental aims.

Part 2 of this series will be posted next Friday and will cover implementing Green Cleaning at Retail and Healthcare Facilities. Make sure you subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss it!

If you have any questions about introducing a Green Cleaning program at your facility, contact  The Organised Cleaning Company on 020 74584433 and talk to one of our team who will be happy to help!

Want to stay up to date with the latest news from The Organised Cleaning Company?  Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter.

Secrets to waste reduction in the office!

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When it comes to waste reduction, the challenge must be overcome both at home or in the office. In an office setting, waste usually comes in the form of paper. There are some useful hacks when it comes to effective waste management, which not everyone is aware of. So, in the spirit of starting 2017 with one eye on sustainability, here are some awesome secrets to help with your waste reduction and waste management in the office:

  • Engage Employees, Clients and Communities – Probably the hardest tip to follow through on but if you want to be successful with your waste reduction strategy, you’ll need to cast the vision and ensure the buy in of your team. You might need to carry out training on waste management, take suggestions from your employees, clients and the community at large and then involve them in creating incentives for waste reduction. Your social media page and signage at the office should share information on your efforts and where possible, have a take-back program and implement recycling. You should also consider providing water bottles and mugs that are reusable.
  • Recycling with Other Businesses – A really effective approach to waste reduction is by sharing equipment with other businesses close to you. If you have recyclables, you can sell them off as one. It may be possible to work together to host a recycling event for e-waste (discarded electronic appliances) as well!
  • Commercial Interchange Participation – Did you know that you’re able to exchange materials that you don’t want or may have in excess, for other things that you do need. You will find a wide variety of materials here, some that may be at no cost, while others will be available for a small fee. Either way, you will be recycling some of the things you no longer use including old computers and other electronics.
  • Donations – If you have old office supplies and old furniture, you should consider donating them. Non-profit organisations would benefit as well as cooperatives that would make use of craft supplies, binders, stationary, electronics and more.
  • Reduce the Use of Paper – One of the best efforts at waste reduction is to use the “print on both sides” feature on your computer. Ensure that this is the default setting. Additionally, try to fit more words per page by changing the margins to 0.75 instead of 1.25.
  • Audit your Waste – The motto for productive waste management is reduce, reuse and recycle. Start the waste reduction process by making sure you know just what it is that gets thrown away so that you can have an idea where you need to cut back on.
  • Minimise Lunch Waste – Ask staff to consider eating in by bringing their own packed lunch (in a re-usable lunchbox) vs. ordering out or picking lunch up and eating at their desks.
  • Email Newsletters – Instead of circulating paper newsletters, create a regular mail shoot and send out email newsletters. You’ll be saving trees and reducing advertising spend at the same time! You will definitely be contributing to waste reduction and the environment will thank you for it.

Sustainable business operations are becoming more common place and everybody needs to play their part  in saving the environment. You can start with effective waste reduction and waste management and by getting the message across to your employees you can amplify the impact. As staff learn they will form good habits and spread the information on recycling, waste reduction and waste management to their friends, family members and more!

If you have any questions about effective waste reduction and waste management for your office, call The Organised Cleaning Company on 020 74584433 and talk to one of our team today!

Want to stay up to date with the latest news from The Organised Cleaning Company?  Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to The Organised Cleaner for regular updates 

The effect of cleaning products and how to reduce indoor air pollution

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Many commonplace cleaning products that are used at home or in the work place are thought to contribute to poor indoor air quality and health problems, with a high cost to people who already suffer from illness, to our health services and to businesses.

Indoor air pollution has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and to changes related to dementia. A recent Royal College of Physicians report, Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution,examined the impact of exposure to air pollution across the course of a lifetime and highlighted an often-neglected source of air pollution –  our indoor spaces. The report specifically mentioned the following air pollutants:

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are commonly found in cleaning products as solids or liquids, but readily evaporate and could contaminate an indoor atmosphere. VOCs can include, terpenes associated with fragrances; hydrocarbons, glycols, and glycol ethers associated with solvents; and chlorinated hydrocarbons associated with spot cleaners, degreasers and disinfectants. Breathing low levels of VOCs for long periods of time may increase some people’s risk of health problems.
  • Formaldehyde vapour is a colourless gas with a pungent, irritating odour used in the production of resins acting as glues for wood products, pulp and paper. It is also found in some plastics, coatings, paints and varnishes, and in textile finishings and can cause irritation of the lungs when breathed in a confined indoor space.

So how can these potentially harmful indoor air pollutants be avoided? One way is to carefully select the products we use, including our cleaning products, and a simple way to do this is to choose EU Ecolabel products, denoted by the recognisable flower logo.

A cleaning product awarded the EU Ecolabel logo has passed 11 stringent environmental, fitness-for-use, waste and health criteria, that incorporate the entire life cycle of the product. Importantly, VOCs are strictly limited to a maximum of 6% (by weight of the final product) and formaldehyde is excluded completely.

The EU Ecolabel criteria for cleaning products also restrict any ingredient that is REACH classified as having the potential to cause an allergy or allergic skin reactions, asthma or breathing difficulties if inhaled, and cancer. The competent body for the EU Ecolabel in the UK is Defra and the scheme is delivered by UK EU Ecolabel Delivery (UKED).

How to stay safe using when using cleaning chemicals

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When you’re cleaning professionally, you need to carefully consider your chemical and product choices. We’ve created a useful guide of things to consider and how to stay safe when using cleaning chemicals:

The myth of pH scales

Chemicals have a scale that tells you their qualities called the pH scale rating. The scale, which runs from 0-14, tells you how acidic a chemical is (0), whether it is neutral (7) or an alkaline (14).

Although the pH scale on commercial cleaning products will be displayed, they don’t determine whether you’ve got the right product for your needs. Instead, use the labels and pictograms on the bottles.

Know your labels and pictograms

Knowing your pictograms and labels is essential, as using products incorrectly can lead to accidents.

The labels

Sounds simple, but always read the label before use of a product. By EU law there will be information there about how hazardous the chemicals are, and suggestions of how you can use them safely. If there is nothing hazardous about the product, its supplier must still provide information about if the product can cause harm.

Pictograms

Pictograms on the cleaning product container are symbols, designed to indicate any potentially harmful or hazardous substances within the bottle. The full list of symbols can be found in the original article, taken from the Nisbets site.

How to stay safe

There are a number of ways you can stay safe when using cleaning chemicals and products, and all of them include using the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Make sure you have the following on hand…

Gloves

A simple pair of rubber gloves can stand effectively between the corrosive, harmful products you’re using and your skin. This type of substance can cause irritation and burns, so these are essential items.

Footwear

Wearing the right footwear should be another high priority when you’re cleaning with potentially dangerous chemicals. Make sure they are both water-resistant and slip-proof, to protect from the products penetrating your clothing.

Protective eyewear

Protective eyewear should be worn when you’re using chemicals like bleach, to ensure you have good vision and your eyes are protected from any splashbacks.

With the above points, you should be able to make more considered choices when you are working with cleaning chemicals in the commercial cleaning process.

5 ways to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning

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A recent survey by npower has revealed that only one in 20 parents know the symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and the more than a third of UK homes aren’t fitted with a CO alarm. In order to raise awareness following Carbon Monoxide week (21-25 November), we’ve put together five ways in which you can protect you and your family from the dangers of CO poisoning:

1. Know the most common symptoms

Only 6% of people in the UK can spot the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which means that possible cases can be missed. Dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, tiredness and confusion, stomach pain, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing are all symptoms of CO poisoning. If you notice any of these, make sure to seek medical help.

2. Fit CO alarms in your home

The only way to detect a CO leak is with a CO alarm, it’s a simple and relatively cheap way to make sure you’re protecting your family from potential CO leaks.

3. Get your appliances serviced regularly by registered engineers

Whether you’re getting new appliances fitted or you’ve had them for a while, regular services by registered engineers are necessary to ensure that everything is working correctly and any malfunctions that could cause CO leaks are picked up.

4. Make sure your kitchen is fitted with an extractor fan and do not block air vents

It’s really important to make sure all your rooms are properly ventilated, if you have air vents in any of your rooms make sure that items of furniture are not covering them.

5. Ensure your chimneys and flues are swept regularly by qualified sweeps

Blocked flues and chimneys mean that carbon monoxide can’t escape, it’s a good idea to schedule in inspections once a year to make sure they are working correctly.

Time to fight the flu!

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Seasonal influenza (the flu) is a serious and contagious respiratory infection, generally transmitted through human to human contact. People who have the flu often present with fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. The impact on public health and businesses due to seasonal flu can be significant. Fortunately, there are a number of important measures that can help reduce the risk of spreading the seasonal flu.

Wash your hands frequently

Proper hand hygiene / hand-washing is essential to preventing an influenza contamination. Proper hand-washing helps remove most bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, so they can’t be spread to others. The European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) recommends the following:

  • Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water
  • After washing with soap and water, dry hands thoroughly with single-use paper towels. Hand-washing with drying of hands should last for at least 40-60 seconds each time
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitisers reduce the amount of influenza virus on contaminated hands. When hand-washing is not possible, alcohol-based hand sanitisers are an option

Avoid others that are sick & stay home yourself when sick

For the flu to be transmitted the virus must go from an individual who has contracted the flu virus to another person, who can then become infected. Individuals who have contracted the flu virus are contagious at least one day prior to displaying symptoms, and up to seven days after they first appear. You can reduce the risk of this sort of transmission through social distancing by avoiding others who are sick and staying home yourself if sick.

Clean & disinfectant surfaces

The flu virus can survive up to 48 hours on stainless steel and plastic surfaces, and up to 12 hours on cloth, paper and tissues. Proper cleaning and disinfecting can minimise the chances of individuals contracting the virus from a contaminated surface. To properly clean, disinfect and protect your environment:

  • Clean any visible soil from surfaces before disinfecting. When cleaning and disinfecting, work from top to bottom and from cleaner to more heavily soiled surfaces.
  • Thoroughly wet the surface with a BPD-registered disinfectant with claims for Influenza A and follow label instructions.
  • Disinfect frequently touched hard surfaces often, including tables, chairs, light switches, door handles and restroom facilities.
  • Give special attention to frequently touched surfaces in food preparation areas, as well as the restroom, including light switches, taps, toilet flush levers, door knobs and handrails.

Get the flu vaccination

Getting a flu vaccine and taking antiviral medications as prescribed if you do contract the flu are two ways the ECDC advocates stopping the spread of flu germs. The flu vaccine is one of the most effective forms of protection against seasonal flu.

Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing 

Coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue helps protect others. If you do have seasonal flu and do not cover your nose or mouth a person or persons within two metres can be infected.

Wash your tableware thoroughly

Eating utensils, dishes and glasses should all be thoroughly washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and dishwashing detergent.