There’s been a huge surge in online shopping over the last few months, as people have been trying to spend as much time at home as possible. This means it’s very likely your warehouse has been busier than ever. And, in order to keep your staff safe during this time, you will have also been forced to put new safety measures in place and revamp your workplace cleaning routine to keep everything hygienic and limit the risk of coronavirus spreading through your workforce.
Although it’s understandable if the ongoing pandemic is the main thing on your mind at the moment, we also need to remember that our environment needs protecting. Climate change and waste management issues haven’t disappeared just because we all have other things to worry about. So, you might be wondering how you can keep your warehouse as clean and safe as possible, while also reducing the impact your business is having on the environment. To help with that, I’m going to take you through three low-waste tips that will still increase the overall hygiene of your workplace.
Choose re-usable PPE and take care of it
While you’ll want to provide your staff with all of the PPE they need to stay safe, and disposable options are certainly a convenient choice, reusable masks, overalls, and gloves are far more environmentally-friendly. Water-logged face coverings and gloves are already being found on our sea beds, and are adding to the eight million tonnes of plastic that end up in our oceans every year (Green Biz).
So, one of the most eco-friendly switches you can make during this time is to give your staff reusable PPE instead. However, you will then need to clean it regularly and ensure that it’s maintained properly. If you make the switch to reusable PPE, I recommend collecting it from your staff at the end of every shift so you can ensure that it’s sanitised properly before they’re next at work. It will also reduce the risk of them taking COVID-19 home with them, as well as prevent their PPE from getting contaminated on their daily commute.
The government has guidance on how to clean in non-healthcare settings outside the home, and they recommend that you wash clothing and face coverings on the warmest water setting that the manufacturer’s advice allows. You should also avoid shaking your staff’s PPE before cleaning to reduce the risk of the virus making its way into the air. Then, once everything has been washed, disinfect anything that has come into contact with the laundry, such as the basket you used to carry it. The guidance is only really given for settings where it’s thought someone with the virus has been, but I would recommend doing all of this regardless, just to be safe.
Opt for eco-friendly cleaning products
You’re probably stocking up on more cleaning products than usual at the moment, and I would highly recommend using some of the more eco-friendly options that are on offer. It’s best to buy the biggest bottles of disinfectant and detergent possible, as this will reduce how much waste you’re creating. You can then decant whatever you need into the old bottles you’ve been using or invest in some specially made reusable options.
Try to avoid plastic as much as possible, and look for cleaning products that come in packaging that’s completely recyclable. It’s also a good idea to think about what chemicals you’re using to clean, as these will often be dispersed into the air and washed down the drain. Look for products that are branded as eco-friendly and natural, but make sure they’re suitable for commercial use. It’s also vital that you check every product you’re thinking about using is actually effective and has evidence to back that up. While you’ll want to keep waste low and do your best for the environment, the safety of your staff still needs to be your biggest priority. So, make sure any eco-friendly solutions you choose are still going to do a thorough job of cleaning your workspace.
Add low flow taps to your cleaning stations
We all know that one of the most effective ways to stop coronavirus spreading is to wash our hands regularly and thoroughly. So, you might have added some extra handwashing stations to your warehouse, or your staff will be using your existing sinks a lot more frequently. As a result, your workers are likely to be using — and wasting — far more water than usual.
One solution is to install low flow taps. These will still provide your staff with the water they need to wash their hands, but will stop people from overdoing it. Water wastage is a significant problem here in the UK, and taking steps to reduce how your warehouse is contributing to this can be a great step towards increasing your green credentials.
While all of our minds are on the coronavirus pandemic at the moment, we can’t ignore that the environment is still under a lot of strain. So, when you’re looking at keeping your workplace as clean and safe as possible to limit the risk of the virus spreading among your staff, consider low-waste solutions. The tips I’ve set out here are great places to start.