Lightbulbs on blue background, idea concept

In addition to a vast array of products on display throughout the expo hall, Interclean Amsterdam housed multiple areas where thought leaders could convene to learn more about and discuss industry trends. One such area was the Innovation Lab, home of the Zero Waste Dome, the very popular Innovation Award ceremony and the Hackathon program. As the name implies, events held in the Innovation Lab gave attendees a glimpse of what the future of the industry looks like.  

Although the pandemic has shined light on infection prevention, sustainable initiatives are making waves once again. This was clear at the Zero Waste Dome, a program developed in collaboration with the Zero Waste Foundation, where demonstrations of waste sorting and discussions of stronger recycling programs generated audience engagement.  

“Cleaning professionals play a critical role in waste management,” says Zero Waste organizers. “Our hope is that demonstrating how to properly sort recycling, compost and other reusable materials from products destined for the landfill will result in less overall waste coming out of facilities.”  

Organization partners also offered demonstrations. One showcased how to break down glass products into a fine dust to reduce transportation costs. Another displayed a smart waste receptacle that automatically sorted waste properly as users disposed of it.  

“We learned a lot from the demonstrations,” says Terje Bogevik, CMO of Compax, a young Norwegian company specializing in waste compacting technology. “They’ve given us a lot to think about as we continue to innovate.”  

Innovation in this area of the show floor continued throughout the Interclean Amsterdam event, but nothing garnered more excitement than the Amsterdam Innovation Award ceremony. Open to all exhibitors, the 2022 program evaluated 78 submissions that fell into four separate categories.  

“As a jury, we reviewed demonstrations on robotic equipment, spray bottles that turn tap water into aqueous ozone, truly sustainable packaging programs, products that make cleaning more transparent using simple tools, and more,” says Rob Geissler, publisher of Sanitary Maintenance and long-time Amsterdam Innovation Award jury member. “It’s exciting to be part of a program like this and see so much innovation driving this industry forward.”  

After various rounds of voting, award submissions were whittled down to three nominees for each of the four categories. Every company that applied for the program was recognized with a “We Innovate” label in front of their booth, and those top three of each category received a “Nominee” label. At the award ceremony, individual winners were recognized and celebrated for their ongoing innovation (see sidebar) and each received a “Winner” label for their booth.  

Competition and the push for innovation didn’t stop there. The Hackathon, a program designed to boost digitalization and attract young, new talent to the industry created quite a buzz. While many believe digitalization will transform jan/san, the rapid growth in this area has showcased the digital skills gap.  

To address this, the Hackathon program attracted 10 teams of five young professionals from across the globe who set out to showcase their problem-solving skills. According to program organizers, the team challenge revolved around the development of an application concept for cleaning staff, based on real daily issues. Teams were given a problem to solve and just one day on the show floor to do so. Talking to various vendors and event attendees, team members presented their solutions to a jury at the close of the event and winners were selected.  

Overall, the response from the four-day Interclean Amsterdam 2022 event was positive.  

Kwestro commented that this event was "the best place to network in the global cleaning industry." Meanwhile, representatives from Probbax added that it was "a great opportunity not only to present new products or meet professionals and prospects, but also to get an overview of our industry, its trends and innovations." 

After an all-too-long hiatus, Interclean Amsterdam was able to unite professional cleaning manufacturers, distributors and end users from across the globe to showcase jan/san successes and upcoming innovations. For those who missed it, but want to see cleaning’s future in-person, organizers expect to host the event again in May 2024 — save the date

Corinne Zudonyi is editor-in-chief of Sanitary Maintenance. She has worked in the jan/san industry for 17 years and also oversees, Facility Cleaning Decisions magazine and Contracting Profits magazine.


Amsterdam Innovation Award 2022 Winners
(as reported by the official Jury Report)

Category winner of Sustainability & Environment
Tork Biobased Heavy-Dudy Cleaning Cloth from Essity — With the development of this new cloth, Essity is aiming to reduce consumption, waste, pollution and emissions. The fact the packaging is made from 100 percent recycled fibers and at least 30 percent recycled plastics completes the sustainability picture for the customer.

Category winner of Smart Technologies & Digitalization
Scrubber 50 Pro from Gausium — The Scrubber 50 Pro reflects how robotic technology in the cleaning sector is progressing. It is suitable for use in a wide range of applications — small or medium sized areas — it can negotiate obstacles well and comes back later if it needs to move on. It also uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect spills or stains, then spot cleans them automatically. 

Category winner for Workforce & Ergonomics
Pu-Pad Light from Arcora — Floor cleaning is one of the most time-consuming tasks performed by cleaning operatives and when cleaning different surfaces, there is often the need to change pads. Sometimes, the operative is unsure as to which is the best pad and mistakes can happen. The Pu-Pad Light takes away that uncertainty, with the ergonomic benefit for the operative of not having to constantly bend down to change pads.  

Category winner for Hygiene & Health
Coreless Center Pull Paper Towel from Alani — The jury felt this was the product in this category that has the potential to make the greatest impact. Along with its environmental credentials, the product absorbs 10 times its weight in water, is coreless and reduces waste after use, and impacts the cleaning operative in removing that waste.  

The overall winner for 2022 was Essity and the Tork Biobased Heavy-Duty Cleaning Cloth. According to the jury report, the overall winner prize was given to Essity “because this is not just about product development. Its core company values and product development comes about as a direct result of those values.”  

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