September 2013 – New Best Practice Guidelines for Caring for Floor Coverings Launched By ServiceMaster Clean – As featured in FM News

A free guide to floor care has been launched by specialists in commercial cleaning and disaster  restoration, ServiceMaster Clean.

Figures from the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimate that 583,000 tonnes of flooring waste is produced each year, with the majority (71%) being carpet. More than 90% of this waste ends up in landfill, with less than 1% being recycled.


Alan Lewin, Managing Director at ServiceMaster Clean,says: This is a shocking statistic and one we all should think about when considering refurbishment or updating the look of facilities. Regular maintenance is a lot less costly than frequently replacing floor coverings. All too often carpeting, vinyl and other flooring is disposed of in favour of new materials when it becomes prematurely tired.

“The technology for protecting, sustaining and restoring the appearance of floor coverings that were previously considered beyond repair, has improved dramatically. Instead of tearing up damaged floor coverings, thereby consuming new materials, at ServiceMaster Clean we work with organisations to carry out full restoration, prolonging the life of materials that could take hundreds of years to break down in landfills.”  Whether you run a retail outlet, restaurant, care home, factory, or office building, investing in the cleanliness of your surroundings makes economic and environmental sense. Not only is it pivotal in the initial perception your clients and prospects make, but appropriate cleaning and treatment will also lengthen the serviceable life of your floor coverings.

The guide emphasises the importance of using fully qualified specialists. Too often, individuals without any specialist training are given the task of cleaning floor coverings which, given the scale of financial investment and reliance on the appearance of these items, is an alarming thought.

Different floor covering surfaces and fabrics have varied cleaning requirements and, if appropriate processes are not followed, this can do more harm than good when it comes to cleaning. Some vinyl floor surfaces may require deep scrubbing using a rotary machine and a suitable brush head to properly clean the floor. Other floors may benefit from having damaged seals removed and fresh coatings applied. Appropriate drying procedures also need to be considered, to ensure that materials dry out properly and don’t pose a health and safety risk.
Improvements in floor covering and upholstery manufacturing and materials mean that they should last longer and look better than ever if treated properly.  Simple and practical advice within the guide includes:
Reuse – Spare tiles or unfinished rolls of material could be reused on another project or returned to the supplier if a take back scheme is in place. Storage – Designating a protected secure area for storage of materials can reduce waste from water and accidental damage.

Pollution prevention – this can help reduce damage to flooring and the office environment.

Recycle – Carpet tiles from less heavily trafficked areas can often be reused. Damaged carpet can be recycled into new carpet or the constituent materials such as nylon fibre, used for other products.  Ceramic tiles may be crushed and used in the manufacture of new tiles.

No matter how carefully carpets and floor coverings are maintained, there are sometimes unforeseen events which can cause extensive damage to the interior and exterior of buildings. Damage can be caused by anything from floods or other extreme weather conditions, escape of water, fallen trees, fire, or even malicious damage.

ServiceMaster Clean provides a specialist service, Restoration Response™ which guarantees fast response to a wide range of commercial organisations within a few hours of an emergency, to start putting the property back to pre-damage condition. Registration is free, so that if an unexpected disaster occurs businesses can be guaranteed a quick response within 2-4 hours of an emergency. Professionally qualified contractors, trained in specialist restoration techniques to British Damage Management Association standards, will help you quickly return back to ‘business as usual.’

Simple measures like regular maintenance of flooring might seem insignificant when compared to more immediate green issues like shredding and recycling plastic for example. However, with such dramatic statistics, including the fact that only 1% of almost 600,000 tonnes of flooring waste is currently recycled, a small change to the way facilities managers maintain their premises can make a huge difference to what ends up in landfill. With ServiceMaster Clean as a specialist cleaning provider, organisations across the UK can not only enjoy cost savings and the kudos that comes with being operationally greener, but can also help make real inroads into growing that 1% into something greater!