Facilities managers can deliver significant cost savings to their organisations, as well as environmental benefits, by reviewing waste management policies and procedures and making sure that premises and their contents last as long as possible.
Looking at flooring as an example, figures from the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimate that 583,000 tonnes of flooring waste is produced each year, with the majority (71%) being carpet. More than 90% of this waste ends up in landfill, with less than 1% being recycled.
That’s a shocking statistic and one we all should think about when considering refurbishment or updating the look of facilities. Could some of your waste that currently gets sent to landfill actually be recovered and/or recycled? If the answer is ‘possibly’ then new amendments to the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations which came into force in September last year, place a responsibility on organisations to do just that. The onus is to prevent waste, prepare for reuse and recycle. Other recovery, such as energy recovery, and last of all disposal, for example by landfill should be avoided wherever possible.
Whether you run a retail outlet, restaurant, care home, factory or office building, investing in the cleanliness of your surroundings makes economic and environmental sense. Not only is it pivotal in the initial perception your clients and prospects make, but appropriate cleaning and treatment will also lengthen the serviceable life of your floorcoverings and upholstery and help to reduce the amount of working products we throw away.
Regular maintenance is a lot less costly than replacing floorcoverings and upholstered items frequently. All too often carpeting, vinyl and other flooring is disposed of in favour of new coverings when it becomes prematurely tired. The technology for protecting, sustaining and restoring the appearance of floorcoverings that were previously considered beyond repair, has improved dramatically. Instead of tearing up damaged floorcoverings and throwing upholstery out, thereby consuming new materials, ServiceMaster Clean works with organisations to carry out full restoration, saving materials from our landfills that could take years to break down.
Too often, individuals without any specialist training are given the task of cleaning floorcoverings and upholstery which, given the scale of financial investment and reliance on the appearance of these items, is an alarming thought. ServiceMaster Clean has over fifty years’ expertise in cleaning a wide range of floorcoverings and upholstery using innovative cleaning systems and processes, that complement the developments in production processes and materials as well as providing a specialist disaster restoration service and a range of infection control measures to protect against harmful bacteria.
Different floorcovering surfaces and fabrics have varied cleaning requirements and, if appropriate processes are not followed, this can do more harm than good when it comes to cleaning. Some vinyl floor surfaces may require deep scrubbing using a rotary machine and a suitable brush head to properly clean the floor. Other floors may benefit from having damaged seals removed and fresh coatings applied.
Appropriate drying procedures also need to be considered, to ensure that materials dry out properly and don’t pose a health & safety risk. ServiceMaster Clean uses truck mounted extraction carpet cleaning machines which offer the best all-round results in professional carpet and upholstery cleaning, leaving carpets dry in one to two hours.
Restore more, replace less
Improvements in floorcovering and upholstery manufacturing and materials mean that they should last longer and look better than ever if treated properly. ServiceMaster Clean pride ourselves on being experts in the specialist cleaning and restoration industry. We know what can and cannot be restored effectively and economically. We’ll always advise our customers as to the best methods, procedures and appropriate products required to maintain or restore their flooring to like new condition. We offer our clients simple and practical advice, including:
• A regular, ongoing cleaning programme can lengthen the life of flooring and upholstery investments.
• Reuse – spare tiles or unfinished rolls of material could be reused on another project or returned to the supplier if a take back scheme is in place.
• Storage – designating a protected secure area for storage can reduce waste from water and accidental damage.
• Pollution prevention – this can help reduce damage to flooring and the office environment.
• Recycle – carpet tiles from less heavily trafficked areas may be able to be reused and used carpets in good condition can be cleaned and refurbished for reuse. Damaged carpet can be recycled into new carpet or the constituent materials such as nylon fibre, used for other products. Ceramic tiles may be crushed and used in the manufacture of new tiles.
Bespoke cleaning and restoration programmes
Westfield Derby, one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, opened in 2007 with brand new flooring and furnishings throughout, all designed with aesthetics in mind, to create a luxurious environment for shoppers.
A key part of the interior design was a series of handmade Chinese rugs which were made specifically for the refurbishment and designed to reflect the Derbyshire landscape. However, with over 20 million visitors a year, it quickly became apparent that there was a requirement for more than just practical maintenance of these expensive furnishings as they were showing signs of colour loss and staining.
ServiceMaster Clean developed a programme to ensure that the rugs were brought back to their former glory and would be maintained as such, and a regular cleaning programme is now in place.
The success of resolving the initial problem resulted in Westfield Derby calling in ServiceMaster Clean to consult on other flooring areas within the shopping centre. Since then, our experts have repaired damaged wooden staircases using specialist wooden flooring machinery, again greatly improving cost efficiency for the centre by maintaining the flooring otherwise destined for landfill.
Responsible facilities management
We’re consuming more resources than ever before and raw materials are becoming harder to source. It’s no longer enough to simply think about caring for our environment, we need to take action now to prevent greater damage in the future.
Simple measures like regular maintenance of our flooring might seem insignificant when compared to more immediate green issues. However, with such dramatic statistics, including the fact that only 1% of almost 600,000 tonnes of flooring waste is currently recycled, a small change to the way FMs maintain their premises, can make a huge difference to what ends up in landfill. With ServiceMaster Clean, organisations across the UK can not only enjoy cost savings and the kudos that comes with being operationally greener, but can also help make real inroads into growing that 1% into something greater.
Further information about ServiceMaster Clean’s full range of services can be found at: www.servicemasterclean.co.uk or by calling 0845 762 6828.
FMJ Cover Story September 2012 issue
To appear in this section of FMJ, please contact John Nahar