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Workplace Waste Goals and the Cleaning Staff

How to Get Cleaners on Board with your Waste Goals

Cleaners are the second step in the waste collection process for any organisation, so it's essential to include them in your goals and ensure they understand what your organisation hopes to achieve. Creating a solid partnership between your company and the cleaning company will help you succeed with your waste goals.

Most organisations use external cleaners to do the bulk of their cleaning services. But because you have less control over the services, it's vital that you find a cleaning company that most aligns with your values.

Before Selecting a Cleaning Service

When you first start looking for a cleaning service, ask a couple of questions to understand how their company aligns with your waste and sustainability goals. These questions can include:

  • Do you have other clients that track waste or have zero waste goals
  • Are there any other sustainable practices you employ in your business?
  • Does your company have sustainability goals?
  • Does your company use sustainable cleaning products?

By understanding the answers to these questions, you'll have a good sense of whether it's a good fit for your organisation. If they have sustainability goals themselves or help other clients with waste minimisation, they'll be better positioned to help your business too.

Improving an Existing Service

Suppose you already have an external cleaning service provider when implementing new recycling and waste systems. In that case, you should ensure that they are familiarised with the changes and have a chance to provide input, as these changes may impact their jobs.

  • Before implementing a new system, ensure your cleaning service has the information upfront and a timeline for when the change will be implemented.
  • Explain why your office is making the change and why it's important to your organisation. Talk about your workplace's goals and why waste tracking is crucial to achieving these goals.
  • Plan a transition period to allow the cleaning staff to get acquainted with the new processes and resolve any issues.
  • As the new system is rolled out, seek feedback from the cleaning service staff, as they will be the ones that empty it most nights – are there ways you can make it easier on them? Work with them to figure out:
    • Are bins in inconvenient places? Can they be moved?
    • Do you need to empty them more frequently or less frequently?
    • Do you need stronger bin liners?
    • If you still have desk bins, can you get rid of them, which will reduce servicing time?
  • Put the agreement in writing with quantitative metrics to measure effectiveness – Update the existing Service Level Agreement and monitor for success or create one if no SLA exists.
    • For waste reduction, include it as a specific measurement, the target date range and the baseline metric.
  • Share successes with the cleaning service staff, as this is a partnership in waste reduction goals – their wins are your wins.
  • Work with the cleaning service provider to develop guidance for any new cleaning staff hired so that there aren't any issues with the new team starting and lapses in goals.
  • Address issues as they arise. If you don't believe that recycling remains separate, or if there are issues with the sorting process, work those out early by figuring out where the problem is happening and bringing solutions to the table to help out the cleaning staff.

Updating your waste systems can reduce a lot of the work on the cleaning service staff. Not having to empty desk bins daily can save time, and reducing waste in other ways can prevent it from adding weight to the bins. Educating staff also means better recycling practices, like emptying liquids before binning them, which can significantly impact the daily emptying of bins.

Interested in bins designed with cleaners in mind?

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