The hospitality industry has been greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. As facilities begin to reopen, guests must receive clear communications that show everything possible is being done to protect them during their stays. Many facilities are cleaning and disinfecting utilizing harsh chemicals such as bleach and ammonias, which are not environmentally friendly and are hazardous to human health. In addition, utilizing paper towels and alcohol-based wipes has produced copious amounts of waste. Cleaning and disinfection can be done in an environmentally friendly way as well as effectively and efficiently. Safer plant-based disinfectants can provide environmentally friendly and healthier indoor spaces for guests while still adhering to local government health and safety regulations and laws.
Natural and organic cleaning solutions are safer for people to be around and for workers to use versus off-the-shelf cleaning products and disinfectants that use harsh chemicals and solutions. Many cleaning solutions can be harmful when they come in contact with skin or if inhaled.
To be competitive under new market conditions, communicating the advantages of environmentally friendly and safe cleaning and disinfectant protocols is critical. Guests will prefer to stay at properties that use safe cleaning solutions that are not harmful to their health and sanitizing procedures which do not produce trash, waste and other byproducts that will harm the environment.
Hotel operators also need to review the disinfectant spray equipment used and what liquid disinfection solutions will be applied to surfaces. The time, energy, effort, equipment, and staff needed to disinfect regularly comes with a significant cost. New electrostatic and fine mist spraying equipment and environmentally safe solutions have been developed to help mitigate costs while providing appropriate levels of protection. To keep costs down as well as the facility’s overall carbon footprint, it is critical for operators to find and use fast, energy-efficient, effective, and safe disinfection techniques and equipment. The following are the questions that should be asked when choosing environmentally friendly disinfectant solutions and equipment:
- Is the disinfectant solution safe and on the EPA List N?
Harsh cleaning chemicals such as bleach and ammonia negatively impact indoor air quality and are harmful to people if their vapors are inhaled. Environmentally friendly alternatives such as hydrogen peroxide-based concentrate, organic or botanical formulas are preferred. Confirm the disinfectant you will use is on the EPA List N. These are the only Federally approved disinfectants that will kill the coronavirus (all viruses and bacteria on surfaces). Ask for the EPA Registration number and review the Product Data Sheet. Go to the EPA website https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-coronavirus-covid-19 to check.
- Does the disinfectant smell or leave behind residue on surfaces?
Botanical or organic plant-based solutions such as Decon 30 Disinfectant are safe and non-toxic, have a pleasant smell (in this case, Thyme) and do not leave residue behind. Solutions like this are safer for the environment and for guests than harsh chemicals such as Lysol, Clorox, bleach and Quats (quaternary ammonium compounds). Not only are these harsh disinfectants harmful to the indoor air quality of a hotel, but they are harmful from an application standpoint, irritating skin, and eyes.
Operators must procure green and environmentally friendly cleaning solutions to replace harsher cleaning chemicals that can leave behind residues and negatively affect indoor air quality, and which are harmful to people.
- How are you going to spray disinfectants?
Disinfecting larger areas can be costly; the key is finding the right equipment and disinfectant fluid to do the job sustainably and cost-effectively. The most sustainable and cost-effective approach is to spray using electrostatic equipment that create small, charged droplets between 40 and 80 microns. With electrostatic spraying, surfaces are covered quickly with a fine mist that evaporates in a few minutes with no wipe down necessary saving serious labor time. These droplets adhere to surfaces, killing viruses and bacteria. This is more efficient than dispersing disinfectant through spray bottles by hand. Liquid Clorox and Lysol spray bottles are extremely inefficient because they produce large droplets, wasting fluids as excess must be wiped away, as well as creating plastic waste from the spray bottles themselves.
- How often should disinfecting be done?
The disinfectants kill what is on the surface at the specific time of spraying, but surfaces can quickly become re-contaminated. An electrostatic sprayer is far more environmentally friendly than utilizing wipes and spray-bottles, which produce large amounts of waste. Hotel rooms are exposed to fewer people and only need to be disinfected once a day and can be disinfected quickly with a rapid sprayer, eliminating waste from wipes and spray bottles. For common areas, disinfecting should be done more often based on the space’s usage. Conference rooms should be disinfected in-between meetings if used by multiple groups.
- Is the disinfectant solution approved to be sprayed through electrostatically charged sprayers?
Do not assume that any disinfectant can be put into electrostatic spraying equipment. Most disinfectants are not made to be sprayed with an electrostatic sprayer. If unapproved disinfectants are used, they may change the chemistry and lose efficacy, causing wasted disinfectant or wasted power through having to spray an area again.
- Is wiping down required after spraying?
Utilizing wipes or paper towels is not environmentally friendly and creates large amounts of trash. Having no wipes, paper towels, sponges or other materials removes a significant ongoing cost and the need to discard waste or clean sponges and towels. Hotels have massive amounts of hard surfaces—dressers, desks, tables, common areas, bathrooms, etc. – to cover. With the right equipment and spray disinfectants, the use of disposable materials can be virtually eliminated.
- Are sprayers energy efficient depending on the size of the facility and number times you anticipate spraying surfaces each day?
It is critical to use energy-efficient equipment to save on power costs as well as reduce the environmental impact.
There are various types of sprayers available, including those with specialty attachments such as long hoses, battery-operated sprayers and compact, hand-held sprayers for smaller, more confined spaces and guestroom areas as well as large-capacity sprayers for banquet halls and other areas.
- What is the warranty on the equipment, and will the supplier stand behind the product?
Disinfection equipment is expensive, and it will be used often. Facilities that procure energy-efficient equipment and repairing units rather than having to fully replace or dispose of them will have a more positive environmental impact. Facilities managers should review product warrantees and make sure that the fluids used and how the equipment will be utilized fit with warrantee guidelines. Some equipment offers lifetime warrantees.
The benefits both to the environment and personal health by utilizing sprayers and green disinfectants to keep guests and facilities safe are clear. A decision maker focused on asking the correct questions as well as keeping guests and employees safe will be able to pick the appropriate environmentally friendly equipment and green solutions that will efficiently and safely provide protection for guests and staff, reduce, or eliminate waste and keep costs manageable.
The following article was provided by Peter Cantone, CEO of PandemicSolution.net, a provider of state-of-the-art disinfection equipment and safe disinfection solutions for the hospitality and catering sector, schools, businesses, transportation companies, professional sports arenas and hospitals. For information visit www.pandemicsolutions.net. Cantone can be reached at email@example.com.