Sustainable cleaning tips for green hotels

sustainable cleaning in hotels

P&G Professional talk to Green Hotelier about why sustainable cleaning is as important as other initiatives

Sustainability should be approached holistically. Everything you do, whether it’s encouraging guests to re-use towels, using eco-friendly packaging, sourcing food locally, helping out in your local community, or using more efficient lighting can all make a valuable contribution to your sustainability efforts. Jayne Clark, Sales Director, UK & Ireland at P&G Professional explains:

At P&G Professional we know that our clients don’t want to have to make a choice between their needs for performance, value and responsibility for the planet. That is why we believe it's important to turn to every aspect of a business and establish how it can be greener.

For example, here are some tips from P&G Professional about how to make your cleaning routine more sustainable:

  • Choose products that are either compacted or are concentrated and hence use less packaging per job. Not only will this reduce the environmental impact of transportation but innovative concentrated formulas mean will allow you to wash at lower temperatures.
  • Make sure you select the optimal cleaning product for each cleaning task and spend wisely on efficient cleaning products. This will ensure you get the job done using the least amount of products, time and energy.
  • Analyse and avoid rework. First time cleaning is essential to minimise waste, particularly in energy intensive operations such as machine dishwashing. Getting the job done first time will pay great dividends for your business.
  • Achieving employee buy-in is important. Effective and continued education of staff on how to clean sustainably is a must. Even the most sustainable cleaning products, if used incorrectly, will not have the required impact.

A key part of sustainable cleaning in hotels is down to responsible procurement. It may sound simple but there's a surprisingly arduous process to go through to ensure that you're picking green products. Here is Green Hotelier's quick guide to responsible procurement, whether you're looking at cleaning products or equipment:

You might want to consider the following:

  • What are the impacts of the product or service you plan to purchase at the various stages of its life cycle?
  • Does the supplier have its own environmental or social objectives and criteria, such as becoming a signatory of the Ethical Trading Initiative? Does it have its own ecolabel - you can use resources like www.ecolabelindex.com to check ecolabel claims and understand what they really mean
  • Are they compliant with environmental and social legislation?
  • Does the supplier use a certified environmental management system (EMS), such as ISO 14001, to assess and monitor its environmental impacts and maintain legal compliance?
  • Establish what criteria you want to test the supplier by and don't be shy in gathering qualitative and quantitative data from them to make your assessment

When looking at a products' life cycle, bare in mind the following:

Raw materials

  • Do any of the raw materials involve environmentally sensitive issues?
  • If so, have appropriate measures been taken to minimise environmental problems?
  • Do they damage the local environment when they are extracted?
  • Does extraction require a high energy input?
  • Are long distances involved in transporting raw materials or inefficient modes
  • Method of transport of materials involved? (e.g. road or air versus train)
  • Does the product contain any recycled or post-consumer waste?
  • Were any exploitative practices such as child labour or poor rights/safety for workers involved?

Manufacture

  • Does the manufacturer have an environmental policy and programme in place?
  • Does the manufacturing process involve high energy input?
  • Is current, energy-efficient equipment in use?
  • If waste is produced, have efforts been made to reduce it?
  • If the generation of liquid effluent is involved, is the supplier working to reduce this?
  • Are solvents, glues, chemicals, varnishes, paints or other finishes (e.g. chrome) used that are toxic or pollute the air?
  • Are any heavy metals released during manufacture?
  • If refrigerants (e.g. CFCs, HCFCs, HCs) are used, are they the least environmentally damaging?
  • Is waste or effluent recovered for re-use in the process or for recycling?
  • Are any exploitative practices such as child labour or poor rights/safety for workers involved?
  • Does the manufacturer offset the carbon emissions created during production?
  • Does the product carry an ecolabel or other guarantee that it has been responsibly produced?

Transport and delivery

  • Will the product have to travel a long distance from the manufacturer/supplier to the hotel?
  • Is the most efficient mode of transport being used over this distance?
  • Are any hazards created during transport?
  • Have efforts been made to minimise packaging?
  • Will the supplier collect used packaging to re-use/recycle?

Use

  • Does the product have a good energy efficiency rating?
  • Does it minimise water consumption?
  • Does it have a negative effect on indoor air quality?
  • Will replacement parts have to travel a long distance?
  • Will it give long service before it needs replacing?

End of life

  • Does the product pose a threat to the environment at the end of its useful life?
  • Are there any special requirements for safe disposal that you doubt can be properly met?
  • Can you re-use all, most, or some of the material or components?
  • Can you recycle all, most, or some of the material or components?
  • Is it possible to return the product to the supplier for recycling or reuse?

This article was partially provided by Jayne Clark, Sales Director, UK & Ireland at P&G Professional. For examples of specific cleaning products, check out some of our best practice case studies. 

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