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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Fancy using less stuff in your workplace?

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logoEven in this digital age, the average UK office worker uses around 45 pieces of paper every day, which means in an office of 25 people, 261,000 pieces of paper are used in just one year (that’s a lot of paper). To encourage people to use less we have put together a few hints and tips for using less stuff in the workplace…

Think Before You Print

Think twice if you really need to print – and if you do need to print, think about printing on both sides. This is an easy way to reduce paper usage by half.

Work As a Team

Put a new system in place that encourages recycling in the workplace – even something as simple as putting in a few recycling bins or creating a system that allows staff to measure how many print copies they are personally responsible for each month will get everyone working together on reducing their personal footprint.

Switch it Off

Have a ‘switch it off’ checklist that needs to be completed before the last person leaves at the end of the day. Apparently, £227 million worth of energy is wasted on appliances that are left on standby every year. Not only will this help to save money, it will also reduce your risk of a fire and help the environment too – it’s a triple win!

Think Small

Big change comes from small actions – it all adds up! You could do your part with anything – use a tupperware dish instead of tin foil for your packed lunch, think twice about printing, turn off your charger when it’s not needed: If we all did these little actions, it would make a big difference.

If you would like any help on waste management in your workplace, why not give The Organised Cleaning Company a call on 020 7458 4433 and they’d be happy to help!

Do you encourage recycling in your office?

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cropped-occ-logo-white-background2.jpgHigh quality office cleaning is crucial to guarantee productivity & good working environments for your staff – it lets your employees get on with what they’re great at. However mixing high quality of cleaning with good standards of recycling can sometimes be hard to accomplish within an office environment.

In order to develop and encourage recycling in your office, we thought we’d provide you with a handy guide, which can save money, help you become a ‘greener’ company and protect the environment in the long term.

The why: Protects the environment & builds reputation

By recycling paper and cardboard to other office waste your company can help to protect the environment and reduce dependency on fossil fuels. Recycling has many other positive factors; from reducing waste to landfill, categorising your waste, and making it easier for your cleaning team to sort.

It also builds your business reputation, as you are seen as a company that cares about the wider environment, and gives your office environment a boost in appearance.

The How: Remove under desk bins

Under desks bins can have a negative impact on recycling, as employees can become lazy and throw everything and anything in their own bins.

One way you can change this bad habit is to remove all under desks bins, and have several bigger bins in the middle of the office. Categorise these bins for recycling and general waste. This forces (and of course inspires) your employees to get up from their desks, and categorise their own waste into the correct bins.

If some of your employees don’t particularly like this, make sure you point out the positives. Sitting down for too long can be bad for health, which this recycling scheme actively discourages. As a result you will be recycling and improving your health at the same time!

Encourage senior management

To persuade your employees to recycle, encourage your senior management to recycle themselves. If employees see the senior staff going out of their way to recycle, this will spur other employees to recycle too.

Others have to set good examples for others to follow, and if you can be consistent with this, it can become a main ethos within your company. Embedding recycling into your company’s culture is the first step to recycling success.

The How: Communicate to your employees about your new scheme

To make recycling a key policy of your company, your staff and cleaners need to know about it! You may place recycling points in your office, encourage senior management to recycle themselves, but if you don’t actively communicate to your employees about your new recycling scheme, they may simply ignore it.

To avoid this, send an email newsletter to your employees, place a notice on the noticeboard or even send a letter. This can make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to recycling goals.

Encouraging recycling in the office requires persistence in getting the message across to staff, as well as making sure that the waste disposal requirements in the office are properly set up to enable recycling to take place. Your cleaning service provider or a waste management company should be able to help you in this regard.

 

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 2 – Waste Minimisation

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Following on from the first part of this four part series on waste awareness (Part 1 – What is Waste?), I thought it useful to provide some information on the waste hierarchy and how your business (or your home) can go about reducing the amount of waste it produces.

Waste can be expensive to manage and the costs are only going to increase until the Government is satisfied that a number of targets on waste minimisation are met. If businesses can minimise the amount of waste they produce in the first place, it will save them, and local councils, money and make businesses more competitive.

The Waste Hierarchy

The waste hierarchy shows the options for businesses to deal with waste they produce. In the UK, disposal has been the most common option for most businesses. However, as taxes and the cost of waste disposal increases annually & legislation changes, businesses should consider other options.

Best practice for businesses involves starting at the top of the waste hierarchy and examining opportunities for prevention and reduction when carrying out  a waste audit.

1. Prevention/Reduction

Waste reduction concentrates on not producing waste in the first place and will require businesses to review & analyse their processes & inputs. This will often include a review of the design of the products or services a business offers and the processes it uses to produce them. Waste reduction includes:

  • Prevention/reduction of waste generated;
  • efficient use of raw materials; and
  • process analysis.

In this context, waste reduction will cover pollution prevention, resource efficiency, clean production and clean or cleaner technology. Waste typically costs business 4.5% of their turnover for most businesses a saving of 1% of turnover or more may be made through waste reduction.

With the amount of waste and environmental legislation increasing, by reducing waste businesses are better able to comply  with legislation and avoid the amount of expensive fines they can incur, as well as reducing environmental risks and liabilities.

2. Reuse

Reuse differs from recycling as it does not involve a process which changes the original item in order to make it usable. Even the simplest office can have scope for savings from reuse, such as using refillable ink cartridges or using the back of a single sided copies as office scrap paper.

In more complex industrial settings there will be a whole range of inputs and related process where a waste audit will need to identify all inputs, possible wastages in the process and how they impact on each other to determine how items can be reused . By closely examining inputs, it may be possible to link processes and reduce waste.

The 2002/2003 Commercial and Industrial Waste Production Survey carried out by the Environment Agency identified that 44% of industrial and commercial wastes are being reused or recycled in England and Wales. The practice is being encouraged and there are an increasing number of waste clubs or waste directories available to enable businesses to exchange packaging or other materials between themselves to prevent materials entering the waste stream.

3. Recycle

Recycling enables waste materials to be used again after they have been put through a process, rather than using virgin, mostly limited, raw materials. The opportunity for recycling materials that would otherwise be sent for disposal is growing all the time as new markets and re-processors are being established to accept materials and convert them to second and further uses.

Waste materials are more effectively recycled if they’re segregated and clean and the segregation of raw materials is best carried out as near as possible to the point of production. This is an important rule when setting up a system for recycling.

The most common materials suitable for recycling are paper, metals, organic wastes, plastics, construction,demolition and inert waste, oils, glass and wood.

4. Recovery

Where materials cannot be re-used or recycled to make another product, the final option prior to disposal is to recover energy from the material via thermal treatment, either by burning the material alone or combining it with existing fuels to reduce the fossil fuel (i.e. coal and oil) input.

Energy recovery from waste is the least favourable method of waste minimisation in environmental terms, however at least some value is being recovered from the waste. This option is becoming increasingly important as a waste management option & energy provider. New technologies and processes are being developed all the time to enable clean and efficient energy recovery with minimal environmental impact, whilst allowing waste to be diverted from landfill.

Your business

Have you adopted a waste hierarchy within your business (or home!) and if not, do you think it might be time to consider doing so? The benefits for reducing waste created by your business will have  a significant impact on its bottom line, as well as the wider positive effect it will have on the environment.

At The Organised Cleaning Company, we work hard to implement our waste hierarchy within the business in order to keep our costs as low as possible  and those costs savings are passed on to our clients. We can also help you with your waste requirements by carrying out waste audit as part of our site survey for your cleaning requirements, so that you can find out  how you might better manage your waste in order to reduce costs.  Contact us on 020 7458 4433 and book an appointment so that we can help you with your cleaning and waste needs.