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Her Majesty the Queen said in her speech that ‘We will meet again’. Guests will return and Janice Raycroft suggests ways here for, when we do meet again, it will be better, brighter and more sustainable for the long term.
There’s no getting away from the fact that this is a devastating time for every sector of the hospitality and leisure market. With so many hotels, spas, bars and restaurants suffering an enforced closure, leaving businesses in jeopardy and staff redundant or furloughed, it’s hard to focus on a brighter future. And yet we must. As HM The Queen said in in her memorable address: ‘We will meet again’. Colleagues, staying guests and those attending functions or for the likes of spa treatments or dining experiences, will return.
The monarch epitomises an enduring spirit and as the lockdown ends there is one theme which should be swiftly picked up, with housekeepers having a major role to play. Last year saw a huge drive towards a more environmentally friendly future and housekeeping teams found themselves champions of this. With a renewed focus on cleanliness alongside sustainability, we’ll see housekeepers rise to greater challenges.
A keen studier of the national psyche and its impact on our markets, Phillip Kalli, who heads up Ideal and initiatives like FILL, believes ethical businesses must be willing to stand up and be counted, locally, nationally and within their industry. “There’s a need for honesty about the dilemmas we face – people actually find that reassuring – but also, and very importantly, that we are willing to challenge the unethical.
For instance, I’m angry at seeing claims that the addition of some essential oils somehow makes a product ‘anti-viral’. It’s irresponsible and dangerous and needs to be given short shrift.” As things get back to a new ‘normal’ he’ll be looking to grow projects with the likes of FILL where they supply ‘cool’ UK hotels, businesses and B&Bs with a plasticfree bulk eco-responsible range. Then there’s work with Planet Minimal, formed to help address plastic pollution and using electric vehicles to deliver environmentally friendly products to zero waste hospitality businesses across London.
Mark Jankovich, CEO at Delphis Eco, an all-natural cleaning chemical manufacturer born out of the need to reconsider the consumable products we’ve all come to depend on, says that while sustainability is a big word it needn’t get lost in bigger concerns over COVID-19.
“Let’s take hand sanitisers that right now are seeing unprecedented demand. There are two main types readily available on the market – sanitiser gels, where alcohol is the active ingredient – and water-based sanitisers, containing Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUAT) as the active ingredient. You will find these types of foaming sanitiser (QUATS) in many of our hospitals, for the use of staff and visitors, often chosen as they are considered safer than their alcohol-based counterparts.”
QUAT are found in most surface sanitising and disinfecting products, chosen for their effectiveness against a range of bacteria, moulds, fungus and viruses, whilst being relatively safe for users and the environment. Very few hand sanitiser brands, whether alcohol or QUAT based, will have undergone efficacy testing against viruses, and currently none will have been tested against COVID-19.
“One of the reasons for this is that it is widely accepted that enveloped viruses such as COVID-19 are easily killed by correctly formulated alcohol sanitisers, but it is also the case that these virus types are also easily killed by correctly formulated QUAT based sanitisers,” says Jankovich. Delphis Eco’s hand sanitiser foam contains the maximum amount of QUAT allowed in ‘leave on’ products in accordance with the EU Cosmetic Safety Regulations. Jankovich adds: “The important thing to note is that with alcohol-based sanitisers in the form of gel a product has to contain a minimum of 60 per cent alcohol. For a QUAT to work it needs to be a 0.003 per cent. This is why QUATs are used to clean hospitals. They are effective yet much kinder to the environment. “So, even alongside COVID-19, housekeepers can be champions of change in regards to sustainable solutions and initiatives.” Delphis Eco has worked with specialist recyclers to create what is believed to be the world’s first 100 per cent recycled PCR packaging for all its products. All its bottles are printed with vegetable ink, with boxes made from 100 per cent recycled cardboard (even the liner is recycled).
Paul Twiss, marketing director at InnuScience, says fear of the unknown mixed with varied and often contradictory messages can be countered. Knowledgeable housekeeping teams can reassure customers with cleaning methods and the sustainable products they use. “While disinfectants are ideal for spot treating door handles and similar high-touch surfaces, especially in crowded highly frequented venues, they are not good cleaners and cannot compensate for the efficiency of thorough cleaning action. “When it comes to cleaning, the first point to consider is that our products are not specifically virucidal, but the pathogens can be removed from a surface using soap and water. Soap works by dissolving the fat (lipid bilayer) membrane that surrounds viruses, which then renders the virus inactive. “Our products have this amphiphilic ability, which is why effective cleaning with a high performance detergent will have a positive impact. Consider that the biotech in InnuScience products provides a penetrating cleaning action removing harbourage from the most porous of surfaces. It is also why soap and water during hand washing is sufficient treatment to help prevent transmission.”
With its message of ‘Sustainability never felt so easy’ Cheeky Panda was already ahead of the curve. And as a manufacturer of bamboo-based toilet paper, tissues and eco-friendly biodegradable baby wipes they found themselves besieged with orders from both retailers and the public, selling out by 20 March and then being able to offer a relaunched service in April, but with warnings of a seven-day delivery time from ordering. As things return to normal this will definitely be one for housekeepers to consider – the products now have a much higher profile and in an expanded market. Your eco-friendly guests will be delighted to see a new ‘family favourite’ in their rooms.
Take a look too at initiatives like those by Regenex (recycling fabrics that would normally go to rag); Clean Conscience (working with housekeeping teams to recycle partly used soap and toiletries); Paper Straws London (eco-friendly compostable paper straws, no harmful glues or ink); and Bio Productions (environmentallyfriendly cleaning products). These are among those at the forefront of the sustainability drive. Sustainability extends beyond the products we use to clean rooms, public spaces and staff areas, or leave in rooms for guest usage. For premises with an in-house laundry it means not only total control of that aspect but should include equipment ticking all the boxes.
So, even alongside COVID-19, housekeepers
can be champions of change in regards to
sustainable solutions and initiatives…
Electrolux Professional’s Line 6000 commercial washer and heat pump dryer have been designed to maximise sustainability while keeping running costs to a minimum and provide a tangible reduction in a hotel’s carbon footprint. This system weighs the load in the machine and then dispenses the correct amount of water, so reducing consumption and energy usage when the machine isn’t full to capacity. The dryers’ built-in heat pump offers energy savings of up to 60 per cent compared to traditional tumble dryers by removing the exhaust, ventilation and water-cooling systems. Additional savings can be generated via the moisture balance feature, which measures the exact level of moisture throughout the drying process so the cycle automatically stops when garments are dry.
A wetcleaning system, such as Electrolux Professional’s lagoon® Advanced Care offers an environmentally friendly, solventfree alternative to drycleaning that uses no toxic chemicals, as water is the solvent. The system can also process a garment at a cooler temperature, taking it from dry to dry in as little as 55 minutes, which is perfect for the high turnaround times synonymous with hotel laundries. What’s more, if offered as an addon laundry service for guests, the lagoon® Advanced Care polyroll – used to wrap processed garments – is biodegradable. This presents a unique and environmentally friendly selling point for hotels looking to impress eco-conscious customers. We’ll finish with Her Majesty: “We will succeed – and that success will belong to every one of us. We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return.” That’s sustainability, summed up.