Reducing Plastics for Room Care

Sustainability has emerged as one of the biggest issues facing society. Hotels are playing their part by making their operations more sustainable and demonstrating progress to their guests. This is important because industry research has shown that three of the biggest sustainability factors that influence guest satisfaction are when the hotel:

  • uses sustainable products and supplies
  • employs water-saving devices in public spaces and guest rooms
  • has a recycling policy

One of the simplest ways to promote sustainability in housekeeping is to replace traditional ready-to-use and bulk chemical products with ultra-concentrates in conjunction with a suitable dosing or dilution control system. With these systems, water is only added at the point of use, rather than the place of manufacture, which leads to a number of sustainability benefits.

For hotels, Diversey offers its ultra-concentrate room care ranges with the Divermite dosing control and DQFM dilution control systems. Products are supplied in self-contained pouches that are placed in a wall-mounted unit. With Divermite, pushing a button on the unit dispenses a predetermined amount of product into a spray bottle or bucket containing water. DQFM mixes the product and water automatically. Each pouch contains more active cleaning product than a similarly sized traditional alternative. Another way of looking at this is that fewer pouches are needed to support a housekeeping team’s weekly, monthly or yearly cleaning requirements.

The first result of this is a reduction in plastics consumption. Depending on the product and system used, ultra-concentrates can reduce packaging material by up to 98% compared to ready-to-use products. One pouch of DQFM ultra-concentrate can replace around 280 ready-to-use products for the same job. This saves over 40kg of plastics that no longer needs to be manufactured, transported, stored or recycled. In a typical hotel using our latest systems, our trials showed that this would save around one kilogramme of plastics per room per year. On top of this there is a 98% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with production and the supply chain.

The second advantage of using ultra-concentrates is cleaning consistency. We found people overuse chemicals by six times the recommended dilution rate when using open ‘glug-glug’ containers. With ultra-concentrates, solutions are prepared simply, quickly and accurately and there is no wastage of water or product, which reduces costs. Preparing solutions to the manufacturer’s specification in this way ensures ideal cleaning performance. There is no need for time-consuming and expensive repeat cleaning if solutions are too weak or additional rinsing and wiping if they are too strong. Water and product consumption is reduced and cleaning is faster and better.

With Diversey’s latest systems all of the packaging is recyclable. That makes it much easier for hotels to adopt a recycling policy and tell their guests about it. Manufacturers are constantly improving designs to make packs easier to recycle. However, recycling is dependent on local infrastructure to collect, sort, and recover packaging materials. These localised limitations mean no manufacturer can guarantee its packaging materials will be recycled everywhere.

All of these benefits are enhanced even further when the product itself is formulated and manufactured to meet the highest sustainability standards. All of our products are designed and manufactured to support improvements in sustainability. This includes making the product safer and simpler to use, reducing the amount of energy or water it consumes, reducing associated CO2 emissions, better packaging design and reduced raw materials use, and the ability to recycle more easily after use.

We were the first commercial cleaning product supplier to sign the voluntary, independently certified AISE Charter for Sustainable Cleaning. This demonstrates high levels of sustainability within our own operations as well as the products we make. Many of our formulations – including our latest products for housekeepers – are certified to international EU Ecolabel sustainability standard.

Manufacturers and hotel groups often work together to devise more sustainable processes. Many are adopting lifecycle thinking into their analysis to help minimise potential negative impacts associated with packaging. This includes utilising sustainability scorecards or similar techniques that identify opportunities to improve packaging during material selection, manufacturing, use, and eventual recycling.

Reducing Reliance on Plastics

One of the biggest sustainability talking points over the past year has been the use of plastics in packaging. The cleaning industry is not immune to these discussions but there are areas where we can help reduce the use and impact of plastics.

Reducing Use: smaller packs use less plastics and other materials. Adopting ultra concentrates – and adding water at the point of use – can reduce overall plastics consumption. Depending on the system used this can reduce packaging material by up to 98.5% compared to ready-to-use products. For example, one container of a market-leading ultra-concentrate can replace around 280 ready-to-use products for the same job. This saves over 40kg of plastics that no longer needs to be manufactured, transported, stored or recycled.

Reduced Wastage: closed-loop ultra-concentrate dosing and dilution systems greatly reduce chemical and packaging waste by preventing chemical over-use. Diversey found users overuse chemicals by six times the recommended dilution rate when using open ‘glug-glug’ containers.
Recycling: much of the plastics in cleaning product packaging can be recycled or reused. Manufacturers are constantly improving designs to make packs easier to recycle. However, recycling is dependent on local infrastructure to collect, sort, and recover packaging materials. These localised limitations mean no manufacturer can guarantee its packaging materials will be recycled everywhere.

Raw Materials: while desirable, it is often impractical to use recycled plastics for packaging because the standard and quality of the materials being used is difficult to guarantee and can be inconsistent. Using new or “virgin” plastics helps manufacturers maintain the quality and consistency to meet regulatory requirements for air transport or particular applications. Nevertheless, packaging made this way can itself often be recycled.

Progressive manufacturers – and many end user organisations – are adopting lifecycle thinking into their businesses to help minimise potential negative impacts associated with packaging. This includes utilising sustainability scorecards or similar techniques that identify opportunities to improve packaging during material selection, manufacturing, use, and eventual recycling.

The use of plastics is part of the wider sustainability trend that also includes saving water, conserving energy and preventing waste. None of these can be considered in isolation and we will be looking at some of these in future posts.

Cleaning Without Chemicals

Regular readers of this blog will know that we write about sustainability more than anything else, whether it’s reducing the amount of plastics in packaging, using floorcare pads made from recycled plastics with water alone, floorcare machines that use less energy, water and cleaning solution, or adopting ultra-concentrate products with accurate dosing and dilution. The sustainability benefits in improved results, lower costs and reduced environmental impact can be significant so it’s no surprise that these are some of the biggest trends in our industry.

Our handy new guide to Chemical Free Cleaning summarises how key parts of the Diversey range can support improved sustainability.

Cleaning without chemicals is increasingly popular because it helps reduce costs, simplify processes and enhance sustainability. The correct products and tools used in the right way can help transform any cleaning operation. Our new guide outlines how different Diversey products enable chemical-free cleaning without compromising on performance and results.

Costs are reduced because there is no need to keep buying chemical products to support your cleaning processes. In addition to the cost of the product this helps you save on purchasing, storage and handling tasks.

Processes are often simpler when chemicals are no longer used. Staff do not need to learn about the safe handling and correct use of chemicals which helps reduce training and implementation costs. This also reduces your compliance, safety and documentation burdens.

Removing chemicals from the workplace also eliminates the risk of introducing contamination and irritants. This helps maintain a pleasant and safe environment for employees, guests and visitors. It also removes any risk of damage to valuable fixtures and fittings.

Finally, cleaning without chemicals also promotes and enhances the sustainability of cleaning operations. No raw materials are consumed to make chemicals or packaging. There is no need to distribute, store and handle products. This reduces reliance on transport which results in fewer chemical miles and CO2 emissions.

Recycled Pads for Sustainable Floorcare

 Cleaning teams using floorcare machines will want to make their operations as sustainable as possible. A good first step is to use a cleaning pad made from recycled materials. We have an excellent selection of pads made from 100 per cent recycled PET plastics. In fact, each pad contains the recycled PET fibres from just over two and a half recycled plastic water bottles.

Twister by Diversey is an innovative set of floor care pads made from recycled PET impregnated with billions of microscopic diamonds. This combination is less abrasive than standard red pads which helps to protect the floor while giving a smoother and improved appearance.

The pads can be used with water alone, last three times longer than traditional products, and significantly reduce the need for periodic maintenance, all of which improves sustainability and reduces the overall cost. In fact, these pads reduce chemical usage by 100%, floor pad costs by 66%, and weight of consumables by 98% (which also saves transport and handling) compared with traditional products. Working without chemicals also simplifies cleaning processes, creates a healthier environment for cleaners and bystanders, and reduces routine machine maintenance burdens.

Twister by Diversey is ideal for daily maintenance to clean and polish unprotected stone floors. There are four different pads in the range for use on almost every type of floor. Used in sequence – red, white, yellow, green – on old, dull and worn floors they can rejuvenate and transform floors into a clean, uniform, shiny and polished surface. The diamond impregnated side of the pad is coloured and works as a wear indicator.

As an alternative to Twister by Diversey, the TASKI Americo range comprises a complete set of pads for every floor cleaning and maintenance application from aggressive stripping to gentle polishing. These pads also promote sustainability because they are designed to be used without harsh chemicals. But we go further by looking at the way the pads are manufactured and delivered. The advanced machinery used to make the pads is more than 30 per cent more energy efficient than older equipment. In-house water treatment and recycling has reduced water consumption by 83 per cent. The packaging for the pads contains at least 45 per cent recycled materials.

For the very best results and sustainability both pad ranges are ideally used with TASKI’s range of scrubber driers and rotary-disc machines which themselves are designed to use less energy, water and product than traditional machines. For example, many TASKI machines are certified under the UK government’s Water Technology List which shows they successfully meet stringent sustainability criteria and use less water. This means they qualify for an Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) so that customers can claim 100 per cent of the cost against their tax during the same year.

All in all, TASKI makes it easy to make floorcare more sustainable.

More About Plastics & Packaging

We mentioned in a recent post how one pack of SmartDose ultra-concentrate can replace 280 bottles of ready-to-use product to reduce packaging and plastics. But how does this headline number really stack up?

Let’s look at a business that uses 100 cases each containing six 750 millilitre spray bottles of ready-to-use product. Switching to the SmartDose system with its innovative ultra-concentrates and reusable spray bottles where water is added at the point of use leads to the following savings:

  • 441 litres less chemical to be manufactured, transported and stored – a 98.0 per cent reduction
  • 41.2 kilogrammes less plastic packaging to be manufactured, transported and stored – a 97.8 per cent reduction
  • 26.3 kilogrammes less cardboard packaging to be manufactured, transported and stored – a 97.8 per cent reduction
  • 124.2 kilogrammes less CO2 greenhouse gas emissions due to packaging alone – a 98.5 per cent reduction

These are great savings that really help to promote the sustainability of any cleaning operation. But if you add in the time and cost savings associated with all that transport, handling and storage you can see that ultra-concentrates offer even more. Plus, of course, these are professional formulations that are designed to deliver the performance and consistency that ensures excellent results every time.

Reducing Plastics

There’s been a lot of publicity recently about the use of plastics. Nobody seriously believes that throwing plastic packaging away is a good thing, especially when we see pictures of polluted rivers or suffering wildlife. The challenge facing all of us is how to reduce reliance on plastics and make it easier to recycle what we do use. In the absence of alternative materials, at least for the time being, we all need to think about being smarter with our packaging.

At Diversey, our approach for a long time has been to reduce the amount of packaging for our cleaning products. We do this by producing as many as possible in ultra-concentrate formulations. More product for more cleaning is contained in any given pack size and water is added at the point of use rather than the point of manufacture. This not only reduces the total amount of packaging required to support a particular cleaning operation but also minimises transport, storage and handling costs.

In fact, just one 1.4 litre container of our SmartDose hard surface cleaner can prepare 280 standard 500ml trigger-spray bottles. Because these bottles are used time and time again there is no need to throw them away which means no wasted plastic. Choosing the same number of ready-to-use spray bottles would mean a lot more packaging, transport and handling to worry about.

All of our ultra-concentrate systems reduce the amount of plastic packaging for the cleaning teams we support. Our research and development teams are always working on ways of making our systems even more efficient so that the same amount of product goes even further in the future. We’re also looking at the materials we use in the packaging in the first place. At the moment around 30 per cent of our packaging in the US is made from recycled plastics.

The SmartDose container – like much of our packaging – is completely recyclable which means there is no excuse for it to end up in landfill. We know the majority of our customers are responsible and make sure they send their empty packaging for processing.