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News archive - February 2016

Hospitals clean up on sustainability

Hospitals clean up on sustainability

The need for products and systems that ensure high performance and productivity while keeping costs to a minimum will always be a priority in the cleaning industry.

And nowhere is this more apparent than in healthcare settings, with hospitals and health centres continuing to operate under increasing pressure from government guidelines, targets and budgets.

Ensuring sustainability across cleaning services is, therefore, vital, and this has led to a new wave of environmentally-friendly products hitting the market.

An industry poll ran by Jigsaw Cleaning Systems found that 78% of respondents deemed sustainable technology as being important within the cleaning industry.

Brian Boll, operations director at Jigsaw, said: “Green cleaning can not only protect the environment, but can also generate benefits and savings in time and money.

Fit for the future

“Keeping a close eye on our actions now means reducing the negative impact on the environment and, in turn, safeguarding it for the future.”

A high percentage of modern sustainable cleaning products and practices earn their green credentials through a proven ability to reduce waste. Waste could be the overuse or under-dilution of chemicals, using more water than is required, using too much electricity, or spending more time and effort than is necessary when cleaning.

“Reducing an organisation’s consumption of consumables and utilities, while ensuring productivity is improved, can be achieved with relative ease by working with the right supplier and ensuring any investment in new cleaning systems is intelligent and right for the premises in question, in terms of both its economics and ergonomics,” said Boll.

“When it comes to standards and best practice, any modern cleaning regime, together with the cleaning products which support its implementation, should be aimed at delivering the highest standards and ensuring the best productivity levels. We don’t want, or need, sustainability for sustainability’s sake, especially if our standards of cleanliness and hygiene will be compromised as a consequence.

“While cost will always be an important factor, most organisations recognise that having an awareness of environmental matters reflected in their operations and their corporate social responsibility policy is equally important.”

Training is key

Training is key, he adds, with quick wins available if equipment is used in the way it is intended.

Boll advises: “It is important to engage the cleaning team in the decision-making process. They are the ones using this equipment and technology and should be considered throughout. How this training is structured and delivered is in the hands of the manager. It can be designed, delivered and documented in-house, or provided by the equipment supplier through a fully-supported training system, including multiple site visits, registration, certification and a supply of easy-to-follow training support materials.

“The next level is to move to formal accredited programmes and qualifications, available from training providers who specialise in delivering the most-appropriate training systems for clients’ needs and requirements.”

But, to reap the rewards, innovation is vital.

“It’s a clear sign that the industry is embracing the use of new technology in place of more-traditional methods,” said Boll.

“The technology the industry is likely to see going forward includes new sweeping systems, more-effective environmental products, and advanced cleaning equipment with longer run times and more manoeuvrability.”

Examples include Wetrok’s Mambo, Esprit and Delight machines. Its Masslinn sweeping system also allows for the removal of dry particulate soil with very little physical effort on the part of the operator; and the Wetrok Wetco range is a new generation of environmentally-sensitive foaming chemical products that work more effectively and deliver significantly-improved cost in use at much lower levels of risk to the end user.

A hospital trial comparing the number of dust particles in one room per cm³ showed that after traditional sweeping, there were 85,000 particles. But, after dry mopping with a Masslinn cloth, just 7,500 remained.

Minimising risk

The cloths contain a specially-formulated material infused with an oil created to attract bacteria and dirt. The oil catches dust particles, which minimises the risk of them dispersing through the air. They can be attached to mop heads to clean floors and reduce dust levels before wet mopping.

The system also reduces the amount of chemicals and water used, as well as saving time as there is less need for cleaners to frequently empty and replenish water containers.

“The use of disposable products brings vast benefits where sustainability is concerned, because less time spent laundering materials means reductions in the volume of water required, as well as laundry chemicals,” said Boll.

“Methods which utilise single-use products are more effective than traditional, reusable ways, and results can be achieved at a fraction of the cost.”

“New, sustainable technology is the key to continuing the drive for innovation in the healthcare cleaning sector, and the results are speaking for themselves.”

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