Sustainability has been a hot topic in the facilities management (FM) industry for the past few years, but following the introduction of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme in November 2011 and increase in landfill tax in April 2012, the last 12 months have seen a sharp rise in customers
demanding that providers adopt sustainable practices. However, sustainable FM is not just about using less chemicals or reusable microfibre cloths, it’s also about recycling and reducing your carbon footprint. From products and processes to waste management, FM providers need to think about the facilities management life cycle - as once the office or building is spick and span, what should you do with the rubbish you have created?
Environmentally friendly actions don't have to be large to make an impact, as it’s the little day-to-day tasks that can add up. Cleaning
processes are one of the simplest to change and can make a big difference to a company’s carbon footprint. This doesn’t just mean using chemicals that are safe for the environment, it also means minimising other environmental impacts by recycling cloths and cleaning equipment. With landfill tax currently standing at £48 per tonne (and soon to increase to £56 per tonne on 1 April 2013), facilities managers and providers need to think about how they can reduce their waste, not only to save the planet but to save clients’ money at the same time.
According to leading online environment website, Envirowise, approximately 70% of office waste is recyclable, but on average only 7.5%
reaches a recycling facility. To combat this, there are lots of creative ways to reduce waste e.g. centralised binning system. Not only will this be great for the environment, but it will keep staff active too! However, for the rubbish that cannot be recycled, work closely with waste carriers on collection schemes to try and keep carbon contributions to a minimum. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice either – it’s what the specialists are there for.
No matter how much the industry tries to look away, all signs point will continue to towards sustainability. Only by adopting a holistic approach can FM providers truly offer customers sustainable services. So, take a step back and look at your own practices, as an environmentally friendly approach will not only make customers happy, it will help to future proof our industry.