Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Watching your restroom's waste

September 19, 2010
Regardless of facility type or occupant use, the restroom is an area where haphazard habits are common.

In recent years, the emergence of touch-free paper dispensers, for example, is one way facilities are controlling usage in an attempt to cut overall costs.

How do you minimize waste?
We recently asked JanSan professionals: “Which of the following choices has your facility implemented in an effort to minimize waste in the restroom?”

Here are their responses (respondents were given the option to select more than one choice):

Several respondents indicated “other” features their facility has incorporated to minimize restroom waste.

Below are some additional solutions from our readers:
  • Low-flow valves on fixtures

  • Air hand dryer

  • Motion sensor lighting

  • No-touch soap dispensers.
Cleaning staff and waste
Through proper training and awareness, the cleaning staff can play a vital role in reducing a facility’s restroom waste.

Respondents to our waste conservation survey shared several cleaning and maintenance practices, which are targeted to reduce wasteful usage, they have implemented.

These strategies include:
  • Eliminating stub roll concerns

  • Green products and portion control

  • Conserve on disinfectant by changing cleaning cloths rather than putting dirty cloths back into clean disinfectant

  • Monitor dispensers during the day in high-use buildings to be sure all paper is used before changing to new rolls

  • Use of reusable/washable cloths/mops for cleaning instead of paper products

  • Use of coreless toilet tissue

  • Using microfiber cleaning cloths that don’t require as much chemical

  • Careful consideration of all products and cleaning materials

  • Using light sensors to save energy

  • Monitoring product usage and ensuring the dispenser is in operating order.
Restroom 2k8
Innovative equipment, such as no-touch dispensers, are popular because the risk of cross-contamination is minimized, while product usage is controlled.

In many cases, facility managers can program modern restroom offerings to fit their particular facility’s needs.

An important message to convey to your building’s occupants is why these products are present.

You can effectively communicate this message in several ways.

We asked readers how they promote awareness.

Several respondents said they create awareness in the restroom through tactics other than literature and signage.

“We use a voice-activated system,” reports one end user.

Here are some other systems in place:
  • Message on urinal screens

  • Label soap dispensers

  • Provide MRSA information

  • Signage, while cleaning is taking place.
Proactive, not reactive
Unfortunately, common responses we received for the above question are: “We do nothing” and “We don’t do enough.”

When maintaining restrooms, say experts, the cleaning staff should be proactive and not reactive.

Since wasteful ways lead to wasteful spending, facility managers and building service contractors (BSCs) should be fully aware of what goes into the restroom and what occupants take out.

We are not advocating a constant monitoring of restrooms.

That would be an inefficient use of resources.

We are, however, suggesting educating restroom occupants on the benefits of conservation.

Explain the benefits in terms of economics and the environment.

It cannot be assumed that everyone fully understands the economic and/or environmental impacts of overuse or misuse of restroom products.

Moreover, the average individual is not up-to-date on the most current trends in restroom technology.

It might be too lofty to expect them to understand something they have not been informed about.

Education is the key.

Take the time to inform restroom occupants about their bad habits — that they may or may not realize they have — and provide solutions on how they can correct them.

Perhaps a mixture of signage, literature, and verbal communication that would convey these ideas and effectively reach everyone makes sense in your facility.

It is not enough to sit back and hope everyone catches on. Spread the word, and people will listen and change their wasteful ways.

Sponsored by P&G Professional’sTrio for Deep Restroom Cleaning