CASE STUDY: Vinci Facilities
Creating a sustainable cleaning model, enabling projects to deliver environmental cleaning as standard.
There are 3 key areas that we have identified which require a solution to enable us to deliver a sustainable cleaning solution:
1. Cleaning chemicals
Traditionally cleaning has relied on a combination of chemicals formulated to clean a surface. There are thousands of chemicals used, many of them hazardous. Many cannot be removed by the water treatment facilities and build up in our rivers, lakes and seas damaging our eco systems, affecting our water quality, wildlife and aquatic life. The EU has identified a number of products of ‘very high concern’ used in cleaning products such as chlorine, detergents and phosphates.
We wanted to create a solution that would enable us to clean without using products that damage the environment.
2. Cleaning products packaging
Much of the packaging used for these products is not recycled as it is deemed to be non-recyclable due to containing hazardous chemicals and ends up in landfill. Product residue left in the containers has an effect on the vegetation and wildlife by contaminating the soil.
We wanted to reduce the amount of packaging and implement a form of circular economy in the recycling and reuse of containers used.
3. Cleaning equipment
Many cleaning machines once discarded end up in landfill or with a waste contractor. Some could be re-used, others recycled, but no facility existed.
We want to re-use or recycle machines and support manufacturers who use recycled products in their machines.
We started to look at cleaning technology through our supply chain and asked how we could clean without chemicals. This is what we found:
– The technology of microfibre enables it to clean many surfaces with just water effectively, due to thousands of fibres collecting as it is run across a surface. The cloths and mops made from microfibre can be washed and re used. These are now used throughout our projects.
– Where a cleaning solution was required, we started trialing ozonation. It involves fitting a unit with power and water source. The water is filtered and then passed through an electrical current. This changes the structure of the molecule from H20 to H30.This additional molecule attracts debris and microbes from the surface leaving it microbially clean. It has taken time to convince people of its benefits as it has no smell, which people associate with cleaning products. So, we added ATP testing where we swab a surface and measure the protein soilage after it has been cleaned to prove that cleaning with the ozonated water actually works.
The process eliminates any packaging and has an element of circular economy in the recycling of the filter cartridges. The waste water reverts to H20 with no harmful residues.
This chemical and packaging free solution was trialled initially in 2015 at the Welsh Government and Astral House and has since been rolled out across the VINCI Facilities estate where the investment has been made to allow all large sites to become chemical free.
The advent of Covid-19 was another turning point for us with the world demand on sanitiser, which led to shortages due to the demand on the raw materials. We were also concerned with the levels of toxicity on spraying everything with chemicals. We needed a more sustainable solution that whilst being effective against the virus did not impact on the environment. Biohygiene are a biotech company who create cleaning solutions by utilizing enzymes, organic acids, by products, fermentation extraction and microbes to create some of the most effective, highly concentrated, yet environmentally friendly cleaning products on the market. They are committed to carbon neutrality and use a combination of PCS containers and FCS cardboard packaging.
The concentrated sanitiser ensured that we had a 90% reduction in single use plastic compared to traditionally manufactured sanitiser. We were able to continue supplying our projects with cleaning sanitiser and hand sanitiser throughout the pandemic. We built up a good relationship with Biohygiene, who share our environmental goals and started to trial their other products to ensure that everything that we use to clean within VINCI has low aquatic toxicity and is produced sustainably. In 2021 we will be removing all traditional environmentally damaging cleaning chemicals and replacing with Biohygiene alternatives.
All of these initiatives will enable our projects in VINCI Facilities to realise our environmental targets and objectives by reducing CO2, creating circular economies and by minimizing our impact through cleaning on the environment.
One Stop cleaning shop are an independent janitorial supplier, with whom we have been working since 2010. Their collaborative approach towards the same goal has driven the innovations that have been previously mentioned.
Their mission statement states:
“The cleaning industry is polluting the planet. We know it is possible to clean effectively without destroying our environment. Join us on our journey to a cleaner, greener world”.
They have been continuously sourcing British manufacturers to reduce our carbon footprint and to ensure sustainability of our supply chain.
They were instrumental in partnering Greenworld Innovations to give us the Tersano ozonated water systems in 2015 and facilitating the filter cartridge recycling.
Numatic are the home of the Henry vacuum cleaner. We contacted them during the pandemic to identify a solution to recycle our redundant cleaning equipment. This can be recycled into Re-flo, to make new cleaning machines. We have trailed the new ERP 180 vacuum cleaner made from 75% re flow and the EM3 janitor trolley made from 97% Re-flo on our EMR contract and since set up a recycling partnership, where they will take away our old machines and recycle them.
Internally we have also just created a swap shop on our SharePoint where sites can advertise equipment that they no longer require.
We have been working together with Biohygiene to create a circular economy, by requesting that the sites store the empty containers of Biohygiene material and One stop will collect them on their monthly deliveries and return them to be re used by Biohygiene. This will develop in 2021 as more projects move over to Biohygiene for their products.
Testing and Costing our Initiatives
To date we have invested:
– £18,400 on Tersano ozonation machines across 23 locations.
– £6,000 on ATP testers.
We have achieved a carbon reduction of 84% which equates to 26385kgs in switching over to Tersano and Biohygiene.
We have saved 59% on transportation which equates to 38734 kgs.
We have reduced our plastic waste by 52% by 2009kg
We have saved 28% on the cost of our cleaning chemicals which equates to £19923pa
We have reduced our stock by 75%
We have tested these initiatives across VINCI Facilities, but predominantly at our head office at Watford and with the Welsh Government, a client who is very focused on achieving their environmental targets and have been very receptive to our initiatives.
2021 sees the roll out of the Biohygiene range across VINCI Facilities and VINCI Construction accompanied by training and guidance from VINCI Clean. We will also be giving data reports on the circular economy project with the Biohygiene packaging as it grows.
There are many new areas of environmental focus, as to us it is now an ongoing process. We will be working on many other new initiatives such as:
– Removing more plastic such as scourers and looking at alternatives such as loofahs.
– Working with a paper company who are putting sugar cane waste and bamboo into their paper to reduce the use of virgin paper pulp.
– Replacing black plastic bags with clear recycled plastic and testing biodegradable plastic’s tensile strength for waste streams.
In essence we will continue to challenge, source, and innovate to reduce the environmental impact made by cleaning and cascade our solutions throughout VINCI.