In the far corner of hall 7, there was a massive hint of where the cleaning industry — and the world — will eventually be forced to head. 

Earth has finite resources and limited space. Every industry will need to find solutions that contribute to zero waste initiatives. 

During Interclean, the Zero Waste Foundation lead demonstrations of anatomies of different waste streams. While educating attendees, they also encouraged audience members to don gloves and coats and participate in the trash sorting. Trash went from one bag to one of 16 different containers.  

Typical office waste, for example, contains paper, food scraps, plastic cups and containers, and much more. Not all of this is trash. Some items can be recycled or composted. A waste audit of the RAI offices, which puts on the Interclean event, found that only 9 percent of its waste was true trash destined for landfills. 

Zero waste measures in the cleaning industry are likely years, if not decades, away, but facilities can start taking action now. Any change will help improve the situation. 

In Europe, facilities will be able to participate in a paper towel recycling program. Restroom users simply need to throw their used towels in a designated bin. Then, the towel manufacturer’s service provider will pick up the used towels and the manufacturer will remake them into toilet tissue. It’s the ne xt evolution of zero waste and could eventually be brought to the United States.

The next Interclean show will be held in 2020, again in Amsterdam. U.S. distributors should consider attending the international show so they can see cleaning’s future in person, and be among the first to bring these innovations to market.

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