As a facility manager, one of your jobs is to make your restaurant, office building, mall, church, or school as efficient as possible. This means wasting fewer resources and spending less money. It may seem like an overwhelming task, but as with many things, it’s the sum of many smaller efforts that makes the biggest difference.
Below we’ve compiled some of our favorite methods of reducing waste and going green in your facility. Not only will these help make your facility more efficient and save you money, it will also help reduce your toll on the environment.
1. Offer reusable bags.
Some facilities rely heavily on plastic bags to accommodate their visitors. Not only grocery stores, but retail shops, dry cleaners, and even restaurants utilize plastic bags. Instead, offer reusable bags to your patrons.
- Purchase reusable shopping bags at wholesale and provide them to your visitors.
- Post signs advertising the low cost of reusable shopping bags and their alternate uses besides shopping, carrying gym clothes, books, etc.
- Consider posting statistics about plastic bags and how their use affects the environment.
- Offer a shopper discount for bringing reusable bags. After all, if shoppers or visitors do not use plastic bags, they are saving you money.
- Over time, you might even consider charging shoppers for plastic bags to further incentivize reusable shopping bags.
If you use branded reusable shopping bags that bear your business’s name, those who carry them are advertising your services wherever they go.
2. Install recycle bins.
One of the best things you can do to reduce waste and help the environment is to provide recycle bins next to the trash bins so that users can easily recycle if they choose to. This may require a little investment in recycle bins and manpower to sort through recycling at first. But after that initial small investment and the development of a system to pick up recycling, offering recycling solutions will pay off. You will be producing less waste overall and contributing less to landfills. Plus, you might be surprised at how happy this makes your facility visitors.
Quick tip: Add pictures of the items that belong in the bins (such as aluminum cans, plastic bottles, etc) to further encourage participation.
3. Start a campaign to conserve water.
Reducing water usage in your facility isn’t easy. While you don’t have control over how much water individuals staff members and visitors use, there are some steps you can take to reduce your water bill and conserve water.
- Post reminders at janitors’ stations, sinks, and showers (whatever is applicable) to turn off the water when it is not being used.
- Initiate a water conservation campaign. Campaigns work well within a pre-specified period of time, such as a water conservation week or month. Talk to your supervisor about encouraging water conservation by sending office emails, posting signs, creating rewards and incentives, etc.
- Consider installing automatic faucets or push faucets that turn off automatically to reduce unnecessary water usage.
- Consider installing multi-level flush toilets. These allow the user to choose how much water they need to flush the toilet..
4. Use reusable cleaning materials rather than disposable ones.
While it is sometimes easier to use disposable cleaning tools such as paper towels to clean your facility, it’s better for the environment to use reusable solutions such as sponges, brushes, and micro-fiber cloth. Not only do they not get thrown away nearly as often, but they are often more effective at cleaning, so that you can use less water and cleaner overall.
5. Use newspaper to clean windows instead of paper towels.
Reusable solutions sometimes don’t work as well when cleaning windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces. If you can’t find a reusable material that works for cleaning glass surfaces, try using newspaper instead. This will allow you to save the money required to buy paper towels, and find a use for old newspapers.
6. Install hand dryers.
A few months ago, we had a heated debate on the Worldwide Janitor website about the advantages and disadvantages of using hand dryers rather than paper towels in public restrooms. In the end, the statistics were clear: hand dryers are both more economical and environmentally friendly than paper towels. Check out some of our best-selling hand dryers here.
7. Switch to cloth napkins in cafeterias, cafes, restaurants.
Getting rid of paper napkins in your cafeteria, cafe, or restaurant will not only save your business lots of money over time, but it will significantly reduce your impact on the environment. You might be concerned that you have no way to launder these cloth napkins, but take a look around your area. You might be surprised to see that there are affordable laundry services that can easily take care of that for you.
8. Start composting and create a garden.
Instead of throwing away old food scraps such as tea bags, coffee grounds, or fruit and vegetable remains, why not begin collecting these things in a compost pile? Composting converts your old food remains into nutrient-rich food for your garden.
But what if you don’t have a garden? It might not be a bad idea to create one!
Places like nursing homes, schools, and even office buildings can benefit from having a garden. Not only do they create beauty, but they contribute to a sense of community. Talk to your human resources department or whomever is in charge of community initiatives to see about adding a garden to your organization’s outdoor space.
9. Buy janitorial supplies in bulk.
When you purchase your janitorial supplies in bulk from Worldwide Janitor, you reduce the amount of package waste that comes from smaller packages. If you know you will use the products anyway, buying in bulk can save both resources and money.
10. Maintain and repair tools and resources rather than buying new.
Finally, one of the best ways to reduce your facility’s toll on the environment is to take care of the tools and appliances you use. Cleaning your cleaning tools and taking care of items like carpet cleaners, vacuums, and even hand dryers will mean that these items last longer. Not purchasing new items all the time means fewer items going into landfills and more money in your budget.
With just a few simple tweaks, you can save money while doing your part to save the environment.