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.

Corporations are at the heart of sustainability dynamism

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Back in September, Matt Harris attended a waste awareness course at Bywaters, who provide recycling and resource management services. One of Matt’s fellow attendees that day was Yousuf Jamil, an Environmental Assessor and UK-based environmentalist. Over the last few weeks, Yousuf kindly agreed to prepare a guest post  for The Organised Cleaner regarding sustainability and corporations. Given that Matt only recently had his ‘Sustainability Driven Service’ article published in November’s edition of Tomorrow’s Sustainable Cleaning, I thought this would be a great follow-up post so enjoy!

“Sustainability may still be in its infancy in absolute terms, but the move towards building ethically sound businesses has steadily gained momentum to last many years. Protecting the brand values, producing environmentally responsible products, carbon neutrality and social responsibilities are the new challenges for board members. Many of these values have are embedded within the DNA of many new business organisations. In recent research carried out by edie.net (Sustainable Business magazine) and Temple Group in the UK found that almost seven in 10 businesses (69%) consider sustainability to be a priority business driver for success in 2012, 40% of those see it as a high priority, i.e. at the core of their business strategy. 

The rapid increase of sustainability into corporate culture obviously tells us something. First of all, corporation’s survival is at stake if they do not embed these above mentioned values within their overall mission and vision. Secondly, it is very logical to do so. The logic is to protect the triple bottom line (e.g. economic, social and environmental aspects) where all businesses are facing new environmental challenges, trying to achieve things that can make a difference to our society and planet, as well a to the business’ environmental performance and its productivity, efficiency and profits.

One of the biggest changes that has happened over the past two decades within the larger manufactures, is a holistic approach in thinking and planning all the way from digging the raw-materials from the earth to manufacture the products, distribution, selling and disposing the waste. Every step of the process touches the very core of three pillars of sustainability – the triple bottom line. Similar changes have happened also within the service sector organisations. They are very keenly following their economic, social and environmental performances of doing their business. They are also part of overall sustainability package. 

The strategies to achieving a sustainable business outcome is to first secure brand integrity, transparency and authenticity. It is easier & cost-effective for those businesses that have already received considerable attention for many years as an ethical business,  and have environmental sound practices & social obligations within their overall corporate strategy. I’m not suggesting that the new sustainability practitioners will have a hard time – not quiet, they will immediately be picked up by the customers, then the business organisation can further strengthen their brand reputation by engaging more on social and environmental obligations and the effect could be even stronger. 

Businesses need to drive the green tech innovation (sustainability through green innovation), which would touch the fundamentals of sustainable business practices and have the aim of reducing waste, require less water and energy, minimise greenhouse gas emissions and use more recycled and alternative materials to manufacture the same products. Also, it’s important to encourage the entire supply chain as well as their customers to drive the green technological innovation to achieve similar benefits. By doing this, it is possible to bring everyone on-board within the sustainability obligations. 

Sustainability doesn’t mean that it is all about cutting down CO2 emissions. It is in fact a tiny part of the whole sustainability dynamism. As our society is facing increasingly negative impacts of global warming from the green house effects, minimising CO2 emissions has now become a norm. Sustainability dynamism is obviously much bigger than this. It’s not only saving water, energy, wise and careful use of resources or eating organic foods, but also about social policies related to employees and their communities, which are equally important as driving the green technological innovation or any other aspects of business growth. Social policies such as equal opportunity and diversity, appropriate laws against discrimination, action against forced labour, health & safety, work-life balance, pension schemes, freedom of association and collective bargaining, possibilities of internal promotion for the employees are also very important. Likewise, policies related to communities such as human rights, job opportunity, infrastructure development, environmental protection and biodiversity conservation etc. are immensely important in achieving sustainability goals. They are two sides of the same coin and part and parcel of ‘the triple bottom line’. 

Larger business organisations are perhaps one of the biggest sectors in our society, employing millions of people and many cases operating almost every country in the world. Near sustainability is possible if every business organisation and their employees do their part towards shaping a better tomorrow. Successful businesses will be those who recognise sustainability issues and put into practice sustainable environmental management plans and consider the competitive advantage that greening their products & services and having clean technology in place can help bring them closer to a sustainable future.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yousuf Jamil is a UK-based environmentalist. He has extensive experience in working with business and environment sectors for many years. Climate change and sustainability issues are one of the main areas of his research interest.

You can follow Yousuf’s blog, Environmental Affairs, and find out more information and insightful posts on sustainability by following the link. You can also connect with Yousuf via LinkedIn.

Sustainability Driven Service

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Both Matt Harris and I have been canvasing a cleaning publication called Tomorrow’s Cleaning via twitter to spread the word about sustainable cleaning and have a regular content about the sustainable cleaning industry in the magazine.

At the moment, Tomorrow’s Cleaning is the only publication that has a dedicated sustainable cleaning supplement, which is issued quarterly. We’ve asked for it to be issued monthly and this is something which the magazine will consider once the profile of sustainable cleaning has been raised sufficiently enough. A bit of a chicken and egg situation because without regular press it takes longer to raise the profile! In any event, Charlotte asked Matt to contribute to this quarter’s edition of the Tomorrow’s Cleaning Sustainable Supplement which was issued yesterday.

Tomorrow’s Cleaning has a readership of 58,000 people and gets distributed to those in the property, retail, leisure, government, transport and manufacturing sectors. November’s supplement will be circulated weekly through the month of November, so having  contributed to the supplement means The Organised Cleaning Company will have its profile raised significantly.

You can read the full edition of Tomorrow’s Cleaning Sustainable Supplement right here, and I’m also re-blogging it below for the benefit of my readers. Check out the cheesy photo of Matt Harris at the end! We’re interested in your comments on the article so like The Organised Cleaning Company’s Facebook page and let us know what you think, or comment on this blog post right here!

“Sustainability driven service 

Matt Harris, owner of The Organised Cleaning Company, explains the positive effects a sustainability driven cleaning service has on people, the planet and profits.

It’s safe to say that green cleaning is no longer regarded as a passing fad. The advancement of ecological cleaning products, cleaning technology such as microfiber and different energy efficient & water saving equipment has made the concept of green cleaning more commonplace at facilities throughout the UK.

Nowadays, however, clients are demanding more sustainable practices from their service providers to ensure that they’re wasting less, reusing more and reducing their harmful effects on the environment. Recent survey results revealed that sustainability may be the deciding factor in more than 40% of business negotiations.

In order to provide a sustainable cleaning service, cleaning companies have to do more than simply using ecological products and innovative technology, and adopt the triple bottom line at the core of their business – People, Planet, Profit:

People: This element is often considered in terms of stakeholders who have an interest in how the business is run. Often, the three main stakeholder groups are shareholders, employees and customers.

A sustainable cleaning service will add value to shareholders by enhancing stakeholder value, which includes making the role of a cleaning operative more satisfying for greater job satisfaction in order to maintain high levels of performance. Recruiting staff within close proximity of facilities, cutting traveling time, costs and CO2 emissions, whilst enabling staff to take on more work or a second job. Daytime cleaning also allows staff to engage with customers during regular working hours, which helps build rapport and develops their inter-personal skills.

From a customer perspective, they have to satisfy their own stakeholders by taking active steps to embrace sustainability. Employing a sustainable cleaning company will be a contributing factor to their ‘green’ credentials and can add a certain amount of environmental kudos.

Planet: One of the challenges faced by today’s society is taking responsibility for the environment for future generations.

A sustainable cleaning service minimises its impact on the environment not just by using less toxic, ecological products or reusable cleaning materials, but by providing a service that increases energy efficiency & encourages a waste hierarchy (Reduce/Reuse/Recycle), in order to reduce a facility’s carbon footprint and the amount of waste it sends to landfill. Carrying out a lifecycle analysis, implementing a daytime cleaning regime and identifying & effectively managing processes that produce the most waste all contribute to a facility functioning more sustainably.

Profit: A key advantage of a sustainable cleaning service is that its operational efficiency enables cost savings at facilities.

Today’s ecological cleaning products require smaller inventories of stock to clean facilities, and by training staff to products & equipment correctly ensures that there’s less wastage so that inventories last longer. Buying concentrated products in bulk and decanting them reduces transport costs and emissions, whilst producing less packaging waste. Using an electric fleet of vehicles when staff, products and equipment need to be moved from different facilities, produce zero emissions, save on road tax and are up to seven times cheaper per mile than diesel vehicles.

Reducing the amount of energy consumed (lighting accounts for 16% of the UK’s total energy use, with commercial properties accounting for 43% of this usage) & the amount of waste produced (waste accounts for 4-5% of a company’s operating costs) at facilities will also have a significant impact on a customer’s bottom line, especially with rising energy costs and landfill tax.

In short, a sustainable cleaning service has a positive effect not just on the bottom line of businesses by having a positive effect on profits, but also a wider reaching effect of protecting the two other “Ps” that constitute the triple bottom line – people and planet.”

 

Waste Awareness Part 1 – What is Waste?

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As a business owner or operator, can you honestly answer this question?

If no, don’t fret! Over the few weeks I’ll be posting a four part series on waste awareness. This all stemmed from our director Matt Harris attending a waste awareness course last week. He brought back some interesting notes and a couple of booklets waste, so I thought I’d enlighten those of you who know as little about waste as I did.

1. Introduction

The management of waste is often seen as an unimportant task which doesn’t require any knowledge about health and safety, protection of the environment or statutory obligation. However, failure to deal with waste effectively can have serious consequences for a business, whilst dealing with it effectively & in a sustainable manner can provide real and tangible benefits.

Businesses can make significant cost savings by reducing their waste (which on average accounts for 4-5% of a company’s operating costs). They can also contribute towards improving their local and national environment, which in turn helps to improve a company’s reputation with its stakeholders.

Research conducted by the Environment Agency points to  SME’s having a lack of knowledge of both environmental legislation and their responsibilities when it comes to waste. As the SME sector is responsible for more than half of the commercial waste produced in the UK, this is a serious cause for concern.

England & Wales produces approximately 430 million tonnes of waste a year (250 million tonnes of waste from household, commerce & industry, 90 million tonnes from agriculture and 95 million tonnes from mining & quarrying). As you can see, this is not an inconsiderable amount of waste that needs to be disposed of.

The cost of dealing with waste is generally underestimated, however, to work out the true cost of waste, you need to consider the following:

  • Raw material wastage;
  • Waste collection and transport;
  • Quality losses (i.e. rejects);
  • Energy, water and other material losses;
  • Handling and storage of waste;
  • Effluent/air emissions abatement plan;
  • Protective equipment and workplace monitoring;
  • Spillages, leaks and contamination;
  • Licensing; and
  • Liability insurance.

By SME’s looking at waste as a resource rather than a problem, they are able to significantly reduce the impact and cost of waste.

2. What is waste?

There are two ways of defining waste:

  1. The process analysis definition – “Anything which doesn’t make it to the final product is waste”; and
  2. The legal definition – Waste is ‘any substance or object…whicht he holder discards or intends or is required to discard’.

With the legal definition, it is important to understand what waste is because once it’s legally defined as waste, it requires the producer to take care of it and keep records and documents differently than if it is not waste.

The different types of waste that can be produced are legally defined by the process or premises from which they’re produced:

  • Household waste arises from dwellings of various types;
  • Municipal waste is collected by or on behalf of the local council and includes household waste, market waste, street sweepings & some commercial waste;
  • Commercial waste comes from premises wholly or mainly used by trade, business, sport, recreation or entertainment; and
  • Industrial waste comes from any factory or industrial process.

Controlled WasteAll of the above classifications are called controlled waste, i.e. the storage, handling, transportation and disposal is controlled by legislation and must meat certain legal requirements. Controlled waste must be handled by competent people regulated by the relevant regulatory agency.

Some controlled wastes have additional classifications and are subject to further regulation because of their nature and the need to handle them differently:

  • Hazardous waste need particular handling and additional controls from the point of waste production to final disposal. Business premises producing hazardous waste may have to register with the Environment Agency; and
  • Clinical waste comes from hospitals, nursing homes, dentists, surgeries and the like but can also include some waste from dwellings. Waste that carries infection shouldn’t be put into normal household waste but needs to be handled differently, and not all clinical waste can be disposed of immediately.

As you can see, there’s more to waste than initially meets the eye, and we’ve only really established what waste really is and its different classifications! For further information on waste & waste management, go to the Chartered Institute of Waste Management’s website.

Just so you know, Matt has gained certification from the Chartered Institute of Waste Management thanks to attending the course last week. As a result, The Organised Cleaning Company can not only provide an organised cleaning service, but we can also carry out waste audit at your premises and help with your waste management requirements. For further details, contact The Organised Cleaning Company on 020 7458 4433.