Tackling sustainability challenges in the cleaning Industry: insights from Hive Cleaning  

Hive Cleaning delves into the insights discussed in the recent sector roundtable by Planet Mark, exploring the ways in which cleaning companies can actively engage in tackling sustainability challenges, demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility.

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At Hive Cleaning, we read the recent report about the Cleaning Industry Roundtable and its findings from Planet Mark with great interest. As always, it’s a concise but in-depth summary from the team at Planet Mark, who appreciate that every industry faces different challenges in terms of sustainability.  

As a leading B Corp company with sustainability principles at its heart, we deeply care about all the aspects of environmentally conscious cleaning and operations without a compromise and we are constantly reassured that our clients support our approach. Our recent B Corp certification and a 5-year journey with Planet Mark prove the consistency and progress of our sustainability and ethical commitments.  

Planet Mark has highlighted some of the key challenges that they think that need to be tackled and, in this blog, we wanted to respond to these challenges from our perspective.  

Costs:  Obviously cleaning sustainably and looking after your workforce might be perceived to be more expensive. We have found that an open-book quotes system and transparent approach will demonstrate to your clients that you’re providing ethical and environmental solutions that offer best value in the long term.  

Client demand and business growth: We completely agree with the conclusion in the report that we should view “…client demand for sustainability as a long-term opportunity for real and sustained business growth”. More sustainable credentials mean more credibility and longevity in your business.  

Products: We are constantly seeking out and trialling sustainable products. Working closely with your suppliers, testing the products, and collecting and sharing feedback from cleaners and clients will help to ensure the products you use are both effective as well as kind to people and the planet.  

Communication: In a world dominated by greenwashing claims, harsh economic climate and pessimism about the climate crisis, we’d advise communicating your sustainability advances clearly and transparently to help you stand out from your competition. We strongly believe that every one of us is responsible for the state of the planet, lead by example, and talk about successes big and small to educate and inspire those around you. 

Plastic gloves: Whilst the vast majority of disposable gloves end up in general waste and are incinerated, we use a type of nitrile gloves, which are 90% biodegradable within 490 days and are considered a better choice for the environment. If for any reason they did end up in the ground, they decompose within five years – much faster than regular nitrile gloves which can take over 100 years. Having said that, we would also like to note that plastic gloves are only one of the numerous sustainability challenges the cleaning industry faces, and SMEs should focus their energy and resources in the direction where they can make the biggest difference.  

Data: We are great believers in the power of hard data. Tracking, monitoring, documenting and analysing all your Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions will greatly help you to shape your net zero strategy and prepare your own internal net zero reports to be transparent and constantly improve. We agree with Planet Mark’s conclusion that “Without data, recognising meaningful change in the right places is almost impossible’’.  

Water usage: Managing your water usage carefully can make a huge difference. We ensure adequate plumbing, reduced flushing cisterns, running dishwashers on eco settings and when full, as well as ensure signage to remind us to turn off taps, etc. You can also train your cleaners on methods to save water when they work. We constantly look for and test new products that save water, such as iMops, which are 100% chemical free, and 4x less water than conventional mop/bucket. 

Automation:  While this technology is in its infancy, the development of robotic vacuum cleaners and wet extraction machines in suitable locations will be important innovations for our industry. It’s too early and cost-prohibitive to expect AI and robots to be widely used in the cleaning industry but it’s important to keep up to date with all new innovations in this area.

Dive into the full cleaning industry roundtable insights 

Interested in learning more insights from our roundtable? Download our cleaning industry insights where we delve deep into the challenges that the industry faces and chart out the necessary paths to tackle them.

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