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!

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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.

How to find a cleaning company for your workplace!

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Want to switch the cleaning company you currently use for your office? Or maybe you’ve only just got round to investing in a professional cleaning service. There are many types of services to choose from and it’s important to pick one that’s right for your company’s needs.

Carrying out a few simple steps before you make a decision will increase the chances of finding a cleaning service that meets all of your requirements without the hassle.

Assess your needs

What is it exactly that your office needs? Does it need a deep clean with tasks such as stain removal and carpet cleaning? Do you need cleaners to come in everyday or just once a week? How long do you need them to spend there? As well as the main office space, you’ll also need to think about additional rooms such as kitchens and washrooms that might need cleaning too. Make a list of all of the services that you need so that when you start approaching cleaning companies you are ready to state exactly what you want without getting sold any unnecessary extras.

Do your research

Research is key, not only for finding the best value services but also for reading online reviews and making sure that you’re choosing a reputable and reliable cleaning company. First of all, take a look at cleaning companies that are within a close proximity to your workplace and make sure that they serve your area. Next, check out what services they offer – do they match what you’re looking for? View the website and see how experienced they are and if they have a registered address and contact details. Another vital part of the process is reading online reviews and ratings to assess them on criteria such as if they’re efficient and thorough, if current customers would recommend them, and if the service was satisfactory and good value for money.

Get a quote

Most cleaning companies will offer quotes either on their website pricing page, by getting you to submit a form, or calling a contact number. You should always double check what the quote includes, e.g vacuuming and mopping, stain removal services, dusting around computers and telephones. Once you have a breakdown of cost, you can start to compare with other services to get the best deal.

Read the terms and conditions

It’s easy to get tied into contracts with cleaning companies so make sure you read the terms and conditions to see what happens if you want to cancel at any time. Also read the small print on last minute cancellations, what happens if you’re not satisfied with the service, and if there are any extra fees or charges that you need to be aware of. Having this covered will mean avoiding any nasty surprises down the line.

Once you’ve assessed your needs, carried out the research and received some quotes, all that’s left to do is choose the cleaning company. Carrying out these steps beforehand should help ensure that you make the right choice for your company.

Good luck!

15 Office Cleaning Ideas Every Clean Freak Needs To Know!

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Yeah you read right, for all you clean freaks out there intent on keeping your home office or work office nice and clean, follow these handy tips:

  1. First, do a little bit of paper organizing so the surfaces you need to clean aren’t covered in actual work.  Get the paper into  neat piles that you can easily move on and off your desk as needed.
  2. Use a solution of 70% alcohol and water to clean your phone and tablet.
  3. Take a magic eraser to your keyboard’s keys. Just make sure to squeeze any water out completely, so it doesn’t drip between your keys.

  4. Then run the sticky edge of a sticky note between the keys to pick up any crumbs.

  5. Wipe the grime off your earbuds, then disinfect them with rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball. Earbuds are gross. Read more about cleaning them here.

  6. Wipe all of the parts of your computer that aren’t screens (including your trackpad or mouse) with a lightly moistened microfiber cloth. Just make sure they’re not wet, because you don’t want to damage your electronics.

  7. AGAIN, be careful with water around your electronics, especially their screens. Here’s a thorough guide that will help you clean your screen properly (guess what? It calls for microfiber cloths).

  8. Literally vacuum the tops of your books. Chances are, they’re pretty dusty, but it takes forever to thoroughly dust each one individually.

  9. Use a dusting spray to wipe down all of your wood furniture, like your bookshelves and your desk. You can just use a store-bought one, like Pledge, or you make make your own with this handy guide.

  10. Wipe down your air vent with the help of a butter knife or a ruler. Don’t forget to wipe down the walls around it too, if they’re dusty. (Obviously this is just for your home office. You probably don’t want to try this at work.)

  11. Clean your windows and the glass in any picture frames you have hanging on the walls. Here’s a DIY glass cleaner recipe — use it alongside a clean microfiber cloth.

  12. Scrub out stains in your office chair using dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Just dab the formula gently until the stains are gone — here’s the cleaning recipe and tutorial.

  13. If you have a chair mat, make sure to at least sweep it, if not wipe it down with a damp cloth.

  14. Make the whole room smell good while you vacuum by sprinkling DIY carpet refresher. Here are a bunch of ideas.

  15. If you have indoor plants in your office, gently wipe off their leaves with a damp cloth. Dusty plants = sad plants.

Now enjoy your super clean work space and get stuff done!

Greasy floors, filthy toilets & unhygienic kitchens – which is your favourite?

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We have come across research carried out by personal injury solicitors Hayward Baker, who carried out an in-depth study into the conditions of Britain’s offices, shops, factories, warehouses and building sites. The research discovered a staggering 69% of British workers claim their workplace to be a health hazard.

The study of over 1000 staff revealed 35% of working Brits have picked up an illness from their place of work – with 18% claiming to have been struck down with food poisoning or caught a stomach bug because of dirty conditions.

A further 39% have even suffered an injury at work – with 20% of Brits having been to hospital due to a work-related illness or injury.

Complaints to emerge from the study regarding the workplace include:

• Greasy and slippery floors (16%)

• Unhygienic work colleagues (13%)

• Unsanitary toilet facilities (11%)

• Cluttered floors (10%)

Dirty kitchens also pose a problem for 10 per cent of the nation’s workforce – as do ripped carpets (9%), broken chairs (8%) and unsafe wiring (6%).

Almost half (46%) of those polled have complained to their bosses about the state of their place of work, with a further 21% saying their manager did nothing to rectify the situation.

The bottom line – Going to work could seriously damage your health if businesses don’t take working conditions seriously enough.

Five things you didn’t know about toilet paper….

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Although National Toilet Paper day was last month, we thought we’d pass on some useful facts about toilet paper that you can use for your next pub quiz!

Useful Toilet Paper Fact #1

Toilet paper is really, really old – like 6th century AD old. It was also recored as being used in medieval China!

Useful Toilet Paper Fact #2

By the early 14th century, in the modern day Chinese province of Zhejiang alone, ten million packs of toilet paper were being produced.

Useful Toilet Paper Fact #3

Marketing changed the game and Joseph Gayetty (an inventor) is widely credited with the invention of modern commercially available toilet paper, which was introduced in 1857.

Useful Toilet Paper Fact #4

Toilet paper is big business. Today, more than seven billions rolls of toilet paper are sold yearly in the US alone.

Useful Toilet Paper Fact #5

Toilet paper is prone to innovation, with a toilet paper available that is made from rapidly renewable plant-based fibres such as wheat and bamboo!