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Hygiene and cleanliness: A fresh wave of green

As the most obvious indicator of the quality of service, the cleanliness of a property is of vital importance for clientele. Solutions for maintenance, be they of a mechanical or chemical nature, are tend towards increased sophistication. Science at the service of hotels to achieve maximum effectiveness, without harming the environment, the crucial question of the moment.

Greener, safer, healthier: today, professional cleaning products are tending towards this triple goal. Big consumers of chemical products, the sector’s leaders are now working hard to minimise the environmental impact of their products while reinforcing safety for their user. Of course the primary goal of their products remains ensuring irreproachable hygiene and cleanliness. And, for a hotelier, who is also a major consumer of these products, this subject is very important. The cleanliness of rooms and common areas is an unavoidable part of his supply. He cannot afford to skimp in his area. And if cleanliness is not up to par it is the first thing the client will notice with regard to the property’s quality. Its reputation could suffer seriously. An appearance of cleanliness as well as the real cleanliness of a property is of utmost importance for clientele. Particularly since with Internet word gets around fast. In 2005, TripAdvisor, the website that compares travel experiences, was very quick to identify and publish its list of the 10 "dirtiest hotels" in the United States based on notes from its clients. In the spotlight: the Hotel Carter in New York. And the Big Apple is also under fire, with 5 hotels in the Top 10.The final subject that concerns professionals is their products end user. Ease of use and product safety are key. "We are trying to limit the number of dangerous and allergenic products," explains the manager of Werner & Mertz. Meanwhile, JohnsonDiversey has just launched Dify, a revolutionary concept for machine dish washing and rinsing. Its water-soluble sachets exclude all contact of the user with the pure product. Better still, the warning light on the J Watcher captor indicates just when it is necessary to add a new dose, which lasts for up to 15 washings. Such performance and ease of use coincide with the environmental imperative. "An efficient product is a product that cleans quickly and eliminates rewashing," concludes Philippe Meunier, "with a lower dilution rate, a jerry can lasts longer". Cleanliness, safety, preserved environment are the slogan of hygiene and maintenance.For the general public, hygiene and cleanliness have become major challenges. SRAS and bird flu have played a role in this. "The hotel guest places the emphasis on this issue. Sanitary risks in recent years are there to remind us," confirms Pascal Jean-Michel, an executive at JohnsonDiversey. Thus, professionals are constantly elaborating solutions that combine hygiene, cleanliness and safety. The world’s authorities are also becoming aware of the sanitary risk. They have surrounded domestic and professional hygiene alike with rules. The European Union recently defined a legal framework concerning biocides – household disinfectants and insecticides. This directive reconciles increased hygiene and environmental protection. Its primary goal is to ensure a high level of protection for humans. It also encourages the sale of active substances that are increasingly safe for both humans and the environment. This concern is certainly topical. Recently, the EU moved further ahead with regard to environmental issues with its regulation that went into effect on October 8, 2005. This stipulates that detergents used in all domestic products must be integrally biodegradable. On a professional level, only a few non-biodegradable surfactants are still authorised for very specific purposes, provided that their effectiveness and their absence of noxiousness have been proved. But professionals do not just stand there with their arms crossed. A.I.S.E (International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products) is working together with the European Commission to implement rules for tomorrow with regard to the use of chemical products. This i nfluential association – where market leaders such as Procter & Gamble, Ecolab, JohnsonDiversey, Werner & Mertz are on the board of directors – launched many initiatives to reduce energy and water consumption, or to optimise laundry. The Washright campaign (see poster) reminds us of the key principals in this area. Several measures are recommended: avoid running a wash when the machine is not full; measure the detergent according to the amount of laundry and soiling as well as water hardness; use the lowest recommended temperature; reduce packaging waste.In 2005 A.I.SE went further still when it launched its charter for Sustainable Cleaning, which applies the concept of sustainable development to the cleaning sector. Membership to this charter is ratified only after they have been verified by an independent auditor. After this, the company’s products have the right to carry the Sustainable Cleaning label. This label guarantees the "vertitude" of the product’s cycle, from production to destruction. JohnsonDiversey congratulates itself on being the first company on the market to sign this charter. Its stain remover for hard surfaces called Bleuveco already obtained the European Eco-label in 2002. This distinction was also obtained by Werner & Mertz. Werner & Mertz proposes a product range called Green Care that is totally ecological and carries the European ecolabel in addition to the sustainable cleaning label. "The products are not noxious for the user. Packaging is minimal, and either directly recyclable or burnable to produce energy, constituting an 80% reduction of packaging waste," explains Philippe Meunier.Environmental concern is not new to the German leader: "For twenty years the group has taken an environmentalist approach and today its aim is towards sustainable development," remarks Philippe Meunier, International Marketing manager at Werner & Mertz. The group’s manufacturing sites have received ISO 14001 certification and are compatible with the EMAS management standard. "This standard is more rigorous and restrictive and its origins lie in a European regulation. Our sites are clean, and don’t transfer pollution. There is no point in producing green products if pollution lies upstream," remarks Philippe Meunier.Making washing more economical is also ecological. A product’s longevity and its heightened efficiency are gauges inherent to the environmental cause. The leading quality of 3M’s floor-cleaning disks, for example, is that they are long lasting. Another advantage according to Hervé Dechy, Marketing and key accounts manager at 3M France: "thanks to their microfiber material, the need for chemical products is lower". Involved in a sustainable development approach, Johnson Diversey has developed a new procedure for washing laundry that is "eco friendly", Clax Plus-Bright System (see the following pages). This system makes it possible to reduce the wear and tear on laundry while achieving a triple gain: energy (35%), water (30%) and time (22%). "In all our applications, we innovate by improving packaging, formulas, distribution systems. We offer a real response in terms of sustainable development and more safety for the user," concludes Pascal Jean-Michel.The final subject that concerns professionals is their products end user. Ease of use and product safety are key. "We are trying to limit the number of dangerous and allergenic products," explains the manager of Werner & Mertz. Meanwhile, JohnsonDiversey has just launched Dify, a revolutionary concept for machine dish washing and rinsing. Its water-soluble sachets exclude all contact of the user with the pure product. Better still, the warning light on the J Watcher captor indicates just when it is necessary to add a new dose, which lasts for up to 15 washings. Such performance and ease of use coincide with the environmental imperative. "An efficient product is a product that cleans quickly and eliminates rewashing," concludes Philippe Meunier, "with a lower dilution rate, a jerry can lasts longer". Cleanliness, safety, preserved environment are the slogan of hygiene and maintenance.

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