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Chris Klopper 18/06/2018

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing away of Chris Klopper, founder and CEO of Mulberry Marketing Communications, after a short illness.

Chris was a well-known and much-loved figure in the cleaning industry having worked closely in it since establishing his international PR and marketing communications consultancy in 1995.

He will be very much missed by all who knew him, including Cleaning Matters.

Our thoughts are with his wife, his two children and the rest of his family.

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CMA rules that recycling merger likely to reduce competition 01/06/2018

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally found that the merger between EMR and MWR could lead to a worse deal for firms that recycle metal and those that buy it to re-use.

Following a detailed investigation, and having sought a wide range of views, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally concluded that the merger between European Metal Recycling (EMR) and Metal and Waste Recycling (MWR) is not in the best interests of customers and suppliers in the UK scrap metal sector. The merger, if it were allowed, would be likely to reduce competition and lead to a worse deal for those suppliers and customers.

The two companies recycle scrap metal waste for re-use by steel mills and foundries.

The completed merger of the rival businesses was referred to a group of independent panel members at the CMA for an in-depth, ‘phase 2’ investigation on 7 February after an initial investigation identified competition concerns.

The phase 2 investigation found that EMR is by far the biggest metal recycler in the UK. MWR, though smaller, is EMR’s strong rival in London, in the South East for shredder feed, and in the West Midlands and North East when buying scrap from large industrial suppliers. MWR is also a strong competitor in the sale of high quality new production steel to mills across the UK.

The investigation provisionally found that, while there are local competitors for buying and recycling metals in the South East and London, and for buying from large suppliers in the West Midlands and North East, their combined strength is not enough to prevent a substantial loss of competition resulting from the merger.

Similarly, while some other metal recyclers sell new production steel to UK mills, the CMA provisionally found that competition would be affected by the merger as these firms would not provide the material in sufficient volumes.

The CMA has provisionally found that it is unlikely that the merged business would be prevented from harming suppliers and customers through the threat of new entry to the UK market or the expansion of established companies.

The CMA now invites comments on both its provisional findings and its possible remedies, which include selling all or part of one of the merged companies. The case page has further details.

The statutory deadline for the CMA’s final report is 24 July 2018.

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Window cleaning drone scoops international award 29/05/2018

Oliver Nicholls, 19, of Sydney, Australia, has been awarded first place for designing and building a prototype of an autonomous robotic window cleaner for commercial buildings at this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public and the world’s largest international pre-college science competition.

The competition featured nearly 1,800 young scientists selected from 420 affiliate fairs in 81 countries, regions and territories.

In essence, a flying drone-like device is tethered to the roof of a building and equipped with a powerful spray nozzle and rotating scrubbers.

The $2,300 device can withstand 28 mph winds and could replace traditional methods that can exceed $11,000 per cleaning and reduce injuries in this high-risk occupation.

Nicholls received the Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000, named in honor of the Intel co-founder and fellow scientist.


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EU plans ban on straws, cutlery and other single-use plastics by 2019 29/05/2018

The European Commission is proposing new EU-wide rules to target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe's beaches and seas, which constitute 70% of all marine litter items.

Where alternatives are readily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market. For products without straight-forward alternatives, the focus is on limiting their use through a national reduction in consumption; design and labelling requirements and waste management/clean-up obligations for producers.

Across the world, plastics make up 85% of marine litter. And plastics are even reaching people's lungs and dinner tables, with micro-plastics in the air, water and food having an unknown impact on their health.

It is hoped that having one set of rules for the whole EU market will create a springboard for European companies to develop economies of scale and be more competitive in the booming global marketplace for sustainable products. By setting up re-use systems (such as deposit refund schemes), companies can ensure a stable supply of high quality material. In other cases, the EU says the incentive to look for more sustainable solutions can give companies the technological lead over global competitors.

Different measures for different products

After addressing plastic bags in 2015, 72% of Europeans said they have cut down on their use of plastic bags (Eurobarometer). The EU is now turning its attention to the 10 single-use plastic products and fishing gear that together account for 70% of the marine litter in Europe. The new rules will introduce:

  • Plastic ban in certain products: Where alternatives are readily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market. The ban will apply to plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons which will all have to be made exclusively from more sustainable materials instead. Single-use drinks containers made with plastic will only be allowed on the market if their caps and lids remain attached;
  • Consumption reduction targets: Member States will have to reduce the use of plastic food containers and drinks cups. They can do so by setting national reduction targets, making alternative products available at the point of sale, or ensuring that single-use plastic products cannot be provided free of charge;
  • Obligations for producers: Producers will help cover the costs of waste management and clean-up, as well as awareness raising measures for food containers, packets and wrappers (such as for crisps and sweets), drinks containers and cups, tobacco products with filters (such as cigarette butts), wet wipes, balloons, and lightweight plastic bags. The industry will also be given incentives to develop less polluting alternatives for these products;
  • Collection targets: Member States will be obliged to collect 90% of single-use plastic drinks bottles by 2025, for example through deposit refund schemes;
  • Labelling Requirements: Certain products will require a clear and standardised labelling which indicates how waste should be disposed, the negative environmental impact of the product, and the presence of plastics in the products. This will apply to sanitary towels, wet wipes and balloons;
  • Awareness-raising measures: Member States will be obliged to raise consumers' awareness about the negative impact of littering of single-use plastics and fishing gear as well as about the available re-use systems and waste management options for all these products.

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Autonomous cleaning machine wins Amsterdam Innovation Awards 2018 17/05/2018

The winner of the Amsterdam Innovation Awards, part of Interclean, which is taking place this week, has been announced as the KIRA B50 from Kärcher.

This first autonomous cleaning machines is said to present the whole package; a step forward in robotics technology for the cleaning industry and overcomes some of the obstacles of similar machines.

Size and design is what make this machine much more attractive to a wider range of applications. So far, robotic scrubber dryers have been most suitable for extremely large areas, but the KIRA B50 is even suitable for areas under 1,000 square metres. Also the fact that KIRA B50 can take itself to a docking station to charge the battery as well as fill and empty tanks, means that the level of human intervention is minimal – and that is what true autonomous cleaning is.

Michelle Marshall, chair of the Jury, said:  “As with every Amsterdam Innovation Award the jury was tasked with evaluating a high number of entries – the real challenge was to compare the impact and originality of products from such diverse parts of the industry.”

“It was interesting to note the two key focuses for the companies that have been nominated as finalists across our four categories in the development of their new solutions – the end client or service provider, and the operative.”

“As far as the client is concerned, they can now enjoy the benefits of so many solutions incorporating ‘smart’ technology in its various forms. In general many products are now capable of gathering data that can impact on productivity and profitability in a very real way. This brings transparency that can help clients to reach their targets on sustainability, energy use, quality, cost, efficiency and performance. Which can only improve the interaction and valuable partnership between client and supplier while also raising the perception of professional cleaning.”

“When talking about smart solutions we must, of course, mention robotics. This is not the first year we have seen autonomous cleaning machines, however each year we observe the technology moving forward and overcoming some of the barriers to them becoming more attractive for real-life cleaning operations.”

“In any cleaning operation the staff play an invaluable role and as a jury we were pleased to see they are not being forgotten in the development of new solutions. Manufacturers of cleaning tools are developing products designed to be more ergonomic and cause less fatigue, and to make everyday cleaning challenges more manageable.”

“So many of the products we have seen have been designed with sustainability in mind, both in terms of using less water, energy and chemicals and in the way they are manufactured. It’s extremely positive to see that those aspects are now seen as a given. Total life cycle impact, ‘Cradle to Cradle’ and the circular economy are terms we are now commonly seeing being put into practice.”

Tork Paper Circle from Essity wins the Visitor’s Choice Award

The visitor’s choice prize is awarded to the nominee that is voted as the most innovative by Interclean Amsterdam visitors. Tork Paper Circle from Essity was the winner of the Visitor’s Choice Award 2018. 

Category nominees and winners

Machines, accessories, components: Winner – KIRA B50 from Kärcher

KIRA B50 is Kärcher’s first robotic scrubber dryer. The company has entered the market with a fully autonomous machine with a docking station to allow independent charging and tank emptying/refilling. It offers automatic route planning of pre-defined zones.

The jury voted the Kärcher robot as the winner of this category because the company has entered this market segment with a machine that can immediately be described as totally autonomous. The involvement from humans is minimal – which is what true autonomy means – and the opportunity charging feature makes demand-oriented cleaning in specific zones a reality.

Equipment/tools for cleaning, care and safety: Winner – Powr-Mop Lite from SYR

This is a motorised flat mopping system that features an oscillating head that operates at 3500 mini-scrubs per minute. It can clean all hard floors and is designed to make the job of the operator less tiring. This is a battery-operated tool that can clean up to 400 square metres on one charge – changing the battery is then simple for the operator.

The jury was impressed with the simplicity of this tool, yet its practicality and potential impact for the operator. Powr-Mop Lite makes the job of mopping so much easier physically as the scrubbing action is battery-assisted. And the mop head is multi-directional for optimum efficiency. Very importantly, Powr-Mop Lite is highly affordable, so well within the reach of many smaller cleaning applications.

E-cleaning - Winner: SystemONE from Vermop

Manual cleaning equipment becomes connected through a digital online module. So mop handles, vacuum cleaners and trolleys can offer direct feedback on cleaning activity in real time. Data is collected from appliances and the Equipe Digital trolley makes it available to customers via a web portal.

The jury very much liked this combination of manual tools with smart solutions. This is a great example of how an essentially manual – and some many say menial – set of tasks can be elevated in the perception of the facilities manager. Not only that, the cleaning operative’s view of their own job is raised thanks to the use of such state-of-the-art technology.

Management, training solutions and related products

Winner: Tork Paper Circle from Essity

Essity is helping its customers to become fully circular with the introduction of a recycling service for its paper hand towels. With the help of recycling specialist partners it is setting up the service on a local level and helping to cut the carbon footprint of paper hand towels by 40 per cent.

The jury was highly impressed with this ambitious launch by Essity. This is the first recycling service of its kind in our sector and aims to encourage facilities managers to take a more circular approach to running their washrooms. By involving local partners who specialise in paper recycling they are making the service practical and workable with minimal environmental impact. And they have invested in encouraging washroom users to buy into the idea of placing their towels in the correct bin and being part of the project with research into behavioural change.

RAI Amsterdam Supports AMREF Flying Doctors
The proceeds of the Amsterdam Innovation Award will be donated to AMREF Flying Doctors, to support their projects in Kilindi, Tanzania. Their Mission is to improve the general health of girls and young woman by introducing the alternative rite of passage for female genital cutting and increasing the access to safe drinking water, good sanitation and hygiene.

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Innovation Exchange event details announced 17/05/2018

LCC Support Services has announced details of its inaugural ‘Innovation Exchange’ event which celebrates innovation within the cleaning industry.

Taking place at the company's Head Office in Great Warley on Thursday 24th May it will incorporate outdoor as well as indoor demonstration, exhibition and networking environments. A range of supply partners will be on hand to discuss what’s innovative right now and, more importantly, what’s coming forward to make an impact.

The partners will be focussing on technology innovations in particular and how they are using IoT, web-based solutions, tech-led equipment or smart apps. Visitors will be able to see the latest in telemetry tracked battery machinery, learn about turning water into natural cleaning chemical, how satisfaction indicators can control washroom paper replenishment and even how to dispose of the most bizarre waste item you’ve ever heard of. Innovation can also be represented by different attitudes and approaches to doing things which will also be represented at the event/

There will be handouts, informative case studies, demonstrations of machinery and technology-led solutions, opportunities for a touch & try and a surprise opportunity for a daring few.

Click here to reserve your space  or email amanda.carless@lccss.co.uk

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What the fork? Police searching for Windsor graffiti pest 15/05/2018

Police are hunting a mystery vandal who has been spray painting the word fork around Windsor ahead of the royal wedding due to take place at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday 19th May.

So far the phantom spray-painter has sprayed the tag 150 times around the Queen's home town.

Windsor locals have been sharing photo's of the graffiti on their local facebook page along with offers of rewards for anyone who can bring the offender to justice.

"This graffiti has become a thorough nuisance and we are working hard with police to ensure our borough is clean and pleasant for the wedding," a Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead spokesperson stated.

Thames Valley Police are also said to be keen to catch the graffiti pest, posting regular details of the “FORK” attacks on their Neighbourhood Watch page for the town.

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Over half of Brits refuse to use gender-neutral public loos 25/04/2018

New research has lifted the lid on gender-neutral toilets, with 55% of people in the UK claiming they’d avoid them.

 Over half of Brits refuse to use gender-neutral public loos

New research has lifted the lid on gender-neutral toilets, with 55% of people in the UK claiming they’d avoid them. 

Almost two thirds of those surveyed (65%) revealed sharing these lavatories is awkward, with a further 34% not wanting to use them for fear of their safety.

It seems hygiene is also in high demand, as 29% said cleanliness of their cubicles would suffer if used by the opposite sex.       

Almost two thirds of those surveyed (65%) revealed sharing these lavatories is awkward, with a further 34% not wanting to use them for fear of their safety.

It seems hygiene is also in high demand, as 29% said cleanliness of their cubicles would suffer if used by the opposite sex.

One major problem for women, would be waiting to wee, with 19% claiming they’d be lingering longer in line if they shared their facilities, according to the new data from Bathroomtakeaway.co.uk.

However, a study published in the journal, Psychological Reports, found that installing gender-neutral facilities can actually cut queues for ladies’ loos.

But some baffled Brits said they’d encourage the proposed bathrooms, but wouldn’t use them – clashing with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s plans to ramp up the number in the capital.

Public lavatories in general, cause a stir in Brits’ bellies, as half of respondents wouldn’t step foot into them unless their deed was desperate, while 11% choose to shun them altogether.

The price of piddling contributes to this, as a quarter of people wouldn’t pay when nature calls, with the average cost of a toilet trip currently 11p.

For some the mere thought of public loos brings anxiety, with almost half preferring to pee outdoors and one in ten suffering stage fright.

Other unpleasantries include a staggering 45% of those surveyed encountered wet seats while 14% reported finding festering faeces on the seat.

Squatting is the solution for a quarter of public toilet visitors, who hover to do their business. Nearly the same amount (21%) opt for layering toilet roll between bog and bum.

More common quirks that help to relieve Brits include wiping down the throne first (41%) and avoiding touching any surfaces with bare hands (33%).

The top bathroom bother which puts most people off public lavs is finding no loo roll in the cubicle, followed by broken door locks and no soap.  

Plans are also in place to implement more of the controversial toilets across the nation.

Julian Smith, Managing Director at Bathroomtakeaway.co.uk: “Our research has revealed some slippery statistics and it seems these plans aren’t as popular as originally thought, so we’ll be interested to see how they pan out!”

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Cleaning equipment market growing above inflation 24/04/2018

A new report on the Commercial Cleaning Equipment Market from MTW Research has found that sales are exhibiting above inflation growth in 2018, though cleaning manufacturers and distributors face several challenges and shifting product trends.

Brexit impact

The 270 page report suggests the cleaning equipment market has increased by 15%, boosted by product development - particularly in the powered cleaning machine market. While Brexit represents a key threat to the cleaning equipment market in 2018, forecasts are positive with above inflation growth likely to 2022.  MTW suggest the Brexit transition phase should offer stability for the cleaning equipment market, though highlights varying product trends and growth across the market.   

Powered cleaning equipment market boost

Powered cleaning machine sales will outperform the cleaning equipment market in 2018, according to MTW, representing the fastest paced sector of the commercial cleaning market equipment.  The hard floor cleaning machine market is exhibiting healthy growth, with volume demand in the vacuum cleaner market and pressure washer market positive in 2018.  The market for these products will exceed £300 million for the first time in 2018, exhibiting growth of more than 50% since 2012.

The report reveals a number of positive product trends within the powered cleaning market.  MTW Director Mark Waddy commented, “Whilst price deflation remains apparent in the cleaning equipment market, manufacturers are successfully differentiating themselves and their products.  Demand for high quality, user friendly cleaning equipment which enhances efficiency continues to underpin growth for the cleaning equipment market, offsetting the threat of lower priced imports.”

Cleaning chemicals market goes green

The report also reviews the cleaning chemicals market, finding that whilst demand is strong for ‘antibacterial’ chemicals and ‘deep cleaning’, opportunities for growth in the environmentally friendly chemicals sector are significant in 2018.  Often perceived as being ‘safer’ for the cleaning contractor and the end user, ‘green’ chemicals and more environmentally friendly cleaning processes are likely to continue to grow share of the cleaning chemicals market in the longer term.

A focus on hygiene across the spectrum of end use sectors continues to underpin the cleaning chemicals sector, with manufacturers of cleaning equipment working more closely with chemical suppliers to offer enhanced cleaning solutions.  MTW report a 30% increase in cleaning chemicals over the review period, with growth set to outstrip inflation to 2022.  

Easing austerity supports cleaning equipment market

MTW also explore the shares by end use sector, with health and education sectors increasing sales as austerity measures ease.  Cleaning distribution channel analysis also reveals that direct supply has increased, perhaps in response to tightening margins for many cleaning product suppliers.  Internet suppliers in the janitorial equipment market continue to grow share in 2018, with this sector popular with the SME contract cleaning market.  Despite some evident pitfalls, prospects are generally positive for cleaning equipment suppliers in 2018, with MTW identifying clear opportunities for growth.

MTW’s commercial cleaning equipment market report is available from £595 at www.marketresearchreports.co.uk

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94% wouldn’t stop somebody from dropping litter in the street 17/04/2018

News stories of people being assaulted or even killed after they've faced up to litter louts have made many Britons think twice about doing the same themselves, a major waste management company has found.

This fear of 'street rage' doesn't stop a significant number from dropping litter themselves if there isn't a rubbish bin nearby, BusinessWaste.co.uk has learned.

"People's attitude to litter is the stereotype of the British character in a nutshell," says BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall, "We put up with a lot of inconvenience and rude behaviour, but we are generally to polite or too nervous to speak out."

A poll of over 3000 people conducted for the company found that:

  • 94% would not confront someone they saw dropping litter
  • 3% said they would confront a litter lout, depending on the circumstance
  • 3% didn't know

Of the 3% who said they would confront somebody, the reply was conditional on the circumstances.

"Definitely not if they looked like a yob," one person told us, while another said "It would probably be OK but manners have disappeared and I should have to say anything."

The 94% were overwhelming in their reasoning: "I don't want to get beaten up" and "Not my problem" were the two most popular answers. These answers have a minor grounding in reality, with small numbers reporting abuse or worse in return:

  • 12% said they had confronted somebody and got rude comments in return
  • One person said they had confronted somebody and have been physically attacked

"I once shouted at somebody who threw a whole bag of fast food waste out of the car window at traffic lights," we were told, "All I got was a stream of abuse in return. That's our country all over, isn't it?"

In fact, assaults and serious incidents leading to death are relatively rare, but cause nervousness among the general public because they get wide publicity.

The third most popular reason for not calling out litter louts came as a surprise: "I don't want to be one of those people who moans all the time", and "I don't want to be seen as a 'do-gooder'", people told BusinessWaste.co.uk researchers.

"That's a depressing sign of the times," says Mark Hall, "We're living in a world where doing the right thing is frowned upon because it gets you the reputation for being a moaning Victor Meldrew character."

However, it's not entirely about people's reluctance to be seen as do-gooders, with the poll finding one unexpected outcome when it comes from canine littering:

  • 6% said they'd make a comment about somebody letting their dog foul the pavement or a park without picking it up
  • This rises to 18% if the witness is a fellow dog owner

"We thought people would be more nervous of calling out a dog owner, but it's actually the opposite," said Hall. "There's a greater moral obligation to clean up dog mess," so it probably makes people that little bit braver knowing they have right on their side."

Despite saying they disliked litter, asked if they would drop litter in the street if there wasn't a bin nearby and there weren't any witnesses, the answers were just a little bit depressing:

  • 31% said they would
  • 69% said they'd find a bin or take their rubbish home

But one respondent had a word of warning: "I thought I didn't have any witnesses, dropped a burger box, and the CCTV got me. There was a council bloke waiting for me at the next corner with a £60 fine. Bang to rights."

BusinessWaste.co.uk ‘s Mark Hall says that street litter – which costs councils tens of millions of pounds every year – wouldn't be a problem if people's attitude to dropping litter changed.

"Friends don't let friends drop litter in the street," he says, "But it's the fear of unpredictable strangers that puts people off speaking out more often."

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