By the WAXIE Floor Care Specialist Team
A sustainable floor care system should meet the desired outcome of the users with minimal impact on the people involved, the planet, and profitability.
But why does this matter?
ISSA’s last Sanitary Supply Distributor Sales Report estimated annual sales of $1.32 billion in resilient and hard floor care chemicals. When adding labor expenses, waste, and water/energy consumption to that figure this becomes an enormous expenditure within commercial, institutional and industrial facilities. When qualifying this type of investment it’s important to look at why we do it, how it’s done, how it’s measured, and how to improve upon it.
Why do we use and maintain floor finish?
- Protect flooring
- Easier cleaning
All of the reasons listed above are common (and there are probably many more depending on the facility) and all of these drivers contribute to the demand for this activity in commercial facilities.
How is it done?
In its simplest definition - Someone applies floor finish to resilient flooring. The finish is then cleaned, restored, and/or top coated, and eventually totally removed and reapplied. This is an oversimplification but it captures major actions to maintain resilient flooring.
So, what do we measure?
The most important thing is to remain focused on Results, Impact on People & Environment, and Cost to Implement. Chemicals, equipment, tools and processes help us get there, but it’s easy to get lost in their complexity and lose sight of the purpose of sustainable floor care.
Important steps in determining an effective floor care plan:
- Define your objectives
- Collect data for benchmarking/planning
- Explore programs for best options
- Execute & measure results
Examples of questions to consider in this process may include:
- How often do I strip and recoat?
- What is my labor, discharge, and water and energy consumption to do so?
- How often do I burnish?
- What is my labor, solid waste, and energy consumption to do so?
- What is the risk of a slip and fall?
- What type of chemicals is my staff using and what is the risk of injury or long term health?
- How do the chemicals and equipment used affect building occupants?
- What VOCs am I admitting into my built environment in this process?
- Do I have proper walk off matting to prevent indoor contaminants from being tracked into my facility?
- What is the impact on aesthetics to consumer satisfaction in my facility?
- What is my operational and capital expense breakdown for flooring and floor care maintenance?
Until you get a grasp on factors such as cost, impact on workers/building occupants, environmental discharge, solid waste and energy/water consumption, it will be impossible to determine the effectiveness of a sustainable floor care program.
The best way to implement a program is to set your desired objectives, gather data to set a baseline, then work with your staff and industry experts to find the best floor finishes, equipment, procedures to meet your objectives. You may be surprised when you see the numbers! And in the end you may choose to redefine your objectives after you understand the impact your floor care is having on people, the environment, and your bottom line.