HOME tackles single-use plastic with Toucan Eco

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Multi-use creative arts centre

HOME is a multi-use creative arts centre, based in one of Manchester city centre’s most recent developments, First Street. Since opening the doors to its 6,200m2 venue in 2015, HOME welcomes more than one million visitors every year to enjoy a unique combination of international theatre, art and film and exceptional community and creative learning initiatives, as well as contemporary meeting and events spaces.

In 2018, HOME announced plans to eliminate single use plastic from the building by 2020 as part of its sustainability policy and practice and is an active supporter of Manchester’s Zero Carbon strategies. It is the first arts organisation in the world to have all staff trained in carbon literacy, procures green electricity and has installed beehives on the roof to encourage biodiversity.

Debbie Bell, building and environmental manager at HOME, explains: “As an organisation we’re working hard to reduce our environmental impact and improve our performance where possible. As part of our sustainability strategy, we reviewed our cleaning practices and worked with the team on site as well as with suppliers to see where single-use plastic could be eliminated from the daily cleaning regime.

Plastic free by 2020

“We have a team of 17 in-house operational cleaning staff. As part of induction training all staff complete carbon literacy training and we have full buy-in from the team on our sustainable policy and practices. For example, our cleaning team decided to stop using plastic bin liners, instead opting to regularly clean waste disposal units to eliminate single-use plastic liners.”

Debbie and her team were looking at other ways to reduce single-use plastic waste and turned their attention to cleaning product stock and the bottles they are supplied in.

She continued, “Earlier this year, our cleaning distributor DEB Disposables provided us with samples of Toucan Eco’s solution to test on site. The response from staff was overwhelming, they came to me and said, ‘Debbie, when are we getting this for real?’.”

Green cleaning with Toucan Eco

In April 2019, HOME took delivery of a Toucan Eco Active designed for use in medium-sized facilities. The unit is able to make 10 litres of disinfectant multi-surface cleaner that kills 99.999% of bacteria from just water, salt and an electrochemical reaction.

The system uses salt mixed with water to make a supersaturated brine solution. The 10-litre tank is then filled with tap water – either by hand or plumbed in – and 30ml dose of brine water added for activation. The unit is switched on and activation takes around 15 minutes.

At HOME, the unit was fitted near a water source for ease of use for staff and has streamlined their daily cleaning regime significantly. The solution is used to clean all public areas such as washrooms, gallery and event spaces, offices and staff rooms, excluding catering facilities which are managed independently. The team is also trialling the product as a deodoriser for seating in cinema rooms.

How it’s used at HOME

“The response from staff has been fantastic to see, Debbie explained. “Not only do they love the product, it also simplifies cleaning processes and means they don’t have to carry an endless supply of products to use in different areas.

“Once the solution has been activated, staff fill the trigger spray bottles with solution, which is applied with reusable microfibre products so there’s no wastage of disposable cloths or mop heads and pads. We also reuse the container for salt delivery so there’s no unnecessary waste there.”

Reducing single-use plastic waste

On average, HOME has removed around 40 single use plastic bottles from its monthly cleaning regime and makes a monthly saving of £100 from chemical products it no longer requires.

“By changing our waste strategy, we’ve seen a significant reduction in plastic waste both back and front of house and are well on the way to meeting our 2020 target. We’re extremely pleased with the performance of Toucan Eco and the savings it has delivered, both in reducing single-use plastic waste and the need for harmful chemicals,” Debbie concluded.

James Beattie, director at DEB Disposables, added: “We were asked by HOME to help support their plastic-free initiative and recommended Toucan Eco, and it’s now being considered by other companies looking at eco-friendly ways to clean properties and support sustainable initiatives.”

Learn more about HOME.

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