Target Zero Waste: We’re Doing Our Bit

In June 2010, the Scottish Government announced an ambitious zero waste strategy in a bid to radically lower the waste produced by businesses and households in Scotland.

The strategy aims to reach some challenging targets by 2025, including:
– recycling 70% of all waste
– ensuring a maximum 5% of all waste is sent to landfill.

Here at Regency, we’ve been doing our bit for many years, through our own responsible approaches to disposal of waste and the segregation of differing waste types to allow efficient recycling. While most local authoities have applied waste segregation to household waste only in recent years, we’ve seen the requirement for this in commercial waste handling for many years and have built good working relationships with local charitable organisations and recycling specialists to ensure that we have a route to reduce, reuse and recycle as we are all encouraged to do.

You may have read our page on house clearances. This is a good example of where our waste reduction approach comes to the fore. When we’re asked to clear a property, irrespective of the type of property, we do so with a view to minimising the amount of waste that results. If we are disposing of furniture for example, we take the time to assess each piece and understand if it can still be used, and whether someone else might benefit from it.

Reusing items is a big factor in reducing waste and just because one person no longer has a use for items, it doesn’t mean the item is of no use. Even though recycling is a popular route, reusing avoids the need to handle the items as waste, and place them in the energy-hungry recycling chain in the first place.

That’s where our relationships with third sector organisations come in useful. There are always people who can use furniture for example, if we can only get it to them.

We’ve also noticed that the cost of disposing of waste is rising. As a commercially-licenced waste carrier, we know that disposing of large amounts of waste is an expensive business and so the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra is taken seriously by all our staff. It makes great business sense, as well as environmental sense.

Are you doing your bit to reduce waste and meet the zero waste targets?

Body Fluids and Health Hazards – What You Need to Know

Cleaning body fluids is a hazardous activity, but a necessary one. Body fluids can present a range of hazards that need to be considered when you encounter them, and these hazards dictate the processes we use and the precautions we need to take.

Over the years, we’ve been involved in a number of biorecovery jobs that have involved cleaning up a range of body fluids and performing needle sweeps to ensure properties are safe to both clean and occupy.

The most common body fluids we encounter are blood, faeces, urine, saliva and vomit. All of these are deeply unpleasant for our operators but we always remain professional and handle each situation carefully and methodically. Each of these body fluids and secretions has the potential to harm people and animals either through the spread of infection or exposure to bacteria, and so they need to be cleaned quickly and efficiently, with thorough decontamination taking place.

You need to be aware, even before you call a specialist like Regency, that body fluids pose a significant health hazard. Blood is still the single-most frequent source of exposure to bloodborne pathogens and viruses like HIV and Hepatitis-C. If you have a blood spillage, take care not allow anyone to come into contact with the blood and seek specialist advice immediately. Equally, if you believe there is a risk of encountering used hypodermic needles, you should be aware that these pose the same risk, since they can be contaminated with bloodborne pathogens, and require professional disposal. If you encounter needles, clear the area and control access by people and animals as far as possible, before calling for professional help.

Needle sweeping is a particular skill, with specific processes and approaches employed to keep staff and members of the public safe, and avoid needlestick injuries that can lead to infection.

You might think that other body fluids don’t pose as much of a hazard as blood, but you would be wrong. Faeces, urine, saliva and vomit all carry a risk of exposure to bacteria that could result in serious illness, as well as the transmission of virus and disease.

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning: Taking it Seriously

As a commercial contract cleaning company, we carry out all manner of cleaning activities which involve the use of substances quite a bit stronger than elbow grease to ensure a professional finish. Things like carpet cleaning, fire and flood recovery, sanitisation, and biorecovery operations all require us to use various chemicals and we’ve spent time making sure that the chemicals and products we use are environmentally friendly and are not allowed to pollute through irresponsible handling or disposal.

We are committed to protecting the environment we live and operate in, and not only does this form part of our core values and principles, but we think it makes sound business practice. Caring for the environment is one of our key responsibilities and an important part of the way in which we do business. Increasingly our customers want to know that their cleaning requirements do not have an adverse environmental impact and we help ensure that cleaning operations for each client meet their expectation.

One of the aspects of cleaning and janitorial supplies that contributes to the environmental impact is packaging. Not only do we ensure that the product itself is environmentally responsible and is handled in a responsible way, but we also actively consider the amount of packaging and waste that results from the use of consumables like paper towels, soaps and cleaning fluids.

An important factor in ensuring we control our environmental impact is staff awareness. We make sure that all staff are trained and capable, and are keeping a close eye on waste produced as well as on responsible disposal of all cleaning fluids and waste water. Our cleaning processes make sure that when we tightly control how we dispose of certain waste, our staff know exactly what responsible methods to use.

In a previous post (Choosing Your Next Commercial Cleaning Partner) we looked at a few considerations for selecting your next commercial cleaning partner, and environmentally friendly operations is fast becoming a factor that most clients will now openly express a desire to know about. That’s why we feel it makes not only environmental sense to take our responsibilities as seriously as we do, but it also makes good business sense.

Contract Cleaning in a Security-Conscious World

The modern world is a fast-moving place, and one of the fastest changing areas is security. World events have seen companies everywhere taking ever-tighter security precautions to ensure the safety of their staff.

We’re finding that more of our clients are introducing controlled access arrangements and are requesting more comprehensive staff vetting and disclosure before allowing contract staff onto their premises.

This more comprehensive approach to security and safety is something we support wholeheartedly. For many years now, we’ve ensured the vast majority of our staff hold disclosure certificates and are aware of client security arrangements wherever they work.

Office cleaning used to be an activity carried out after-hours, and while some clients still prefer this to ensure their operations are not interrupted, more clients are requesting their office cleaning is carried out within business hours to ensure that cleaning operatives are never alone on the premises, for the operatives’ own safety and the peace of mind of the client.

Simple changes have also made a big difference. All Regency staff are immediately identifiable by their Regency uniforms and ID tags and wherever possible, we deploy staff that are familiar to the client, and familiar with the client’s operations.

A large area of change in recent times has been around event cleaning. Regency has deployed staff to support major events in Ayrshire in recent years and part of the basic training and orientation inevitably takes in security issues. Our staff have had to become aware of what to look for in crowded spaces that may indicate a security or safety risk. For example, being aware of suspicious packages and strange behaviour, and following agreed security protocols for involving the emergency services.

Moving with the times and staying aware are things we know are vital to our own success, but we also acknowledge they’re vital in supporting the needs of our customers.

Choosing Your Next Commercial Cleaning Partner

If you read the title and thought ‘That’s just going to be a list of reasons to choose Regency. I’ll not bother reading it’, hopefully you’ll see that this isn’t actually an advert for our expert services. It’s a list of real-life considerations you should think about when choosing ANY commercial or contract cleaning partner.

Can they do the job?

One of the first things you need to consider is whether the company you’re talking to can actually take on the contract. There are two key factors to look at: staff levels and skills. If your requirement is modest, having the staff may be much less of an issue, but for larger office blocks and industrial premises, it’s crucial in ensuring an adequate level of service is achieved. The right number of people isn’t the whole story though. You need to have the right people with the right skills and experience. Talk to your prospective contract cleaning provider and ask them what other contracts they service and whether some of that experience will be brought to your contract. Remember, capacity and capability go hand-in-hand and your service provider should be able to perform all the tasks you need them to.

Do they take safety responsibilities seriously?

Health and safety is a big consideration in every industry nowadays. Almost every company has its own health and safety policy, and cleaning companies are no different. In fact, in some respects, it’s even more important when you consider that operatives are handling hazardous substances or working in all kinds of different environments where hazards exist. The actions of your cleaning company can also put your own staff and members of the public at risk, so don’t be shy about asking how they implement their own health and safety policy and about staff awareness in general.

Can they offer flexible services?

If your cleaning company can’t accommodate a schedule of cleaning that fits with your business operations, it makes sense to look somewhere else. Most competent commercial cleaning companies offer a flexible service as a baseline requirement, ensuring you get what you need when you need it. If the cleaners are offering cleaning schedules that get in the way of your business, then maybe it’s time to remind them that you’re the customer, or look elsewhere for your service.

Are they available 24/7?

We’re not suggesting that you have your contract cleaners on permanent standby, but it’s reassuring to know that if you have an issue like vandalism or a flood, you can call your cleaning partner and have it taken care of at any time of the day or night, so your business’ operations don’t miss a beat. Even if your cleaning company do provide 24/7 call-out coverage, look for additional costs hidden in the small print. Costs for emergency call-outs should be well-known in advance, so make sure they’re stated in your contract.