With the drastic effects of climate change, we’re more aware than ever of the impact that our everyday decisions and services have on the environment. Increasingly, we’re seeing how important sustainability is to the customers of today, too, with a recent survey showing that sustainable business practices are now the second most important reason for consumers to return to a brand.
There are improvements – both big and small – that businesses can undertake to make their operations more sustainable and washrooms are a great place to start.
Reducing your consumables waste
To reduce your businesses’ impact on the environment, begin by considering which soap to use in your washrooms. Some consumables contain harmful chemicals, detergents or biocides that can negatively impact seas and aquatic life, so, where it’s possible, choose soaps that are environmentally friendly.
To reduce the waste from your consumables, smart dispenser systems – such as our Rapid>Foam innovation – release a specific and lower dose of soap per user and so can conserve product and lower costs. Additionally, because consumables are replaced less often, the amount of associated plastic waste from packaging is also reduced – lowering the consumable’s overall impact on the environment.
Reducing your plastic waste
National geographic estimate that 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic have been produced in the past 60 years. Of that, ‘6.3 billion metric ton[nes] has become plastic waste’, with only 9% of that waste having been recycled. Most of this plastic has ended up in landfill sites. With landfill becoming an increasing problem as fewer countries accept it, this huge amount of waste highlights the necessity for attitudes to shift towards more sustainable habits.
To reduce contributions to these statistics where they can, facility managers are looking for new ways to minimise waste and dispose the plastic waste that’s generated on their sites responsibly. Washrooms are a prime area for attention as busy public conveniences can create huge amounts of plastic waste with their provision of basic essentials, such as soap and cleaning agents.
Smart hygiene solutions, like the dispenser system mentioned above, can help reduce the associated waste from consumable packaging. It’s important, too, that whatever containers your consumables are housed in are fully recyclable and are disposed of responsibly.
Reducing your utility waste
The installation of more ecologically sound facilities can also help businesses meet their sustainability goals. Smart taps, for example, can save on water usage – which is both a financial and a green benefit. These smart taps can sense when hands are present or have been removed from a sink and automatically switch the water flow on and off. They also control the rate of water flow to lessen waste and can even set water to a comfortable temperature for users, this reduces the energy used to heat the water and provides yet another environmental benefit.
If proof were needed of the benefits of smart technology on sustainability, a trial at one location – a male toilet in a hotel and office complex – showed some promising results.
- A 90% reduction in the amount of soap used was observed.
- A 68% reduction in water usage was seen when a smart toilet and urinal cleaning system were installed.
- Run times were reduced by 70% when taps could be automatically cut off.
Overall, smart technology saved 150,000 litres of water per year when concussive taps were replaced with low-flow smart taps. This can work out to be a huge cost-saving for some businesses and could provide a business case for the introduction of smart washroom devices (see our Rapid>Water solution).
Helping your business and helping the planet
Ensuring that washrooms minimise waste even further requires innovation, which means that product developers will need to design washroom devices and consumables with sustainability at the forefront of their minds. While smart washroom solutions can enhance your customers’ experience, they can also reduce your environmental impact.
At Initial, we’ve embraced smart technologies and developed a range of innovative washroom solutions to help your business reduce your consumables, plastic, water and energy waste. Discover our range of Rapid>SmartHygiene.