How to Drive Sustainability in Facilities Management (And Why You Should!)

Sustainability in Facilities Management

The benefits of improving sustainability in your organisation are plentiful and can include cost savings, improved morale, reducing your environmental impact and many more.

Read on to find out how, as a facilities manager, you can drive the change towards sustainability.

Waste and Recycling

Studies show that up to 70% of the waste generated in an office is recyclable.

That sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

The problem is that on average, only 7.5% is ever recycled.

Here’s how you can flip that statistic:

Conduct a waste audit.

Review what you are currently throwing away, including by-products, packaging materials, paper.

This is your first step in being able to measure how much impact you will be able to have and start putting in a plan to improve your organisation’s recycling habits.

Make sure to research the recycling programmes in your area as different councils have different policies.

Go paperless (or as close as possible) – up to 80% of office waste is paper.

In the digital world we live in, can you look around your office and be confident that paper is only being used where absolutely necessary?

Consider putting measures in to ensure printing is only done when needed and all paper items are recycled.

This might mean limiting who can print or regular audits to ensure that the levels are within an acceptable limit for sustainability standards.

Create great signage – engaging posters relating to sustainability and clear labeling of recycle bins will ensure that staff know what to recycle and where.

Top tip – when creating signage, including pictures of what you can and can’t recycle improves the recognition and uptake of recycling schemes.

Cleaning Products

Like the point above, the best way to approach this is to review what products you are already using.

Are you wasting any?

How often are you having to order new products?

What packaging do your cleaning products come in?

Spend a bit of time researching the cleaning products you are using and what alternatives are available.

If you’re found that your cleaning products come in non-recyclable packaging, try and find brands that use recycled and recyclable materials.

Buy in bulk and concentrated formats – this is a top tip for helping be more sustainable!

Concentrated cleaning products are available from most cleaning supply companies and are diluted down into smaller reusable trigger bottles.

This helps you to maximize your storage space and means that you can reduce how often you need to order your cleaning products, in turn reducing costs to the environment associated with the water to make the products, the packaging of the products and also distribution.

You’ll find your costs and your environmental guilt reducing with ever clean!


Did you know that car travel accounts for 67% of commuting?

A key area where you can have a real impact on the environment is by improving your transport policies.

Create a car-pool scheme, with a real incentive for people to take part.

Enroll on the cycle to work scheme and ensure there are enough bike shelters.

You could even consider installing electric car charging ports – as more and more people look for ways to drive down their environmental impact, things like this will become issues that they consider when looking for a job.

Be the employer who is a trailblazer, and you will attract staff who care about the environment as much as you do.


Take some time to review your energy bills.

If you only get one meter reading for the whole building, speak to your supplier about creating sub-meter zones.

You can then spot if certain areas of the building are using more energy than they should – is it a case of managing the people in that area?

Or is it a problem with the facilities or building that requires attention?

Invest in technology.

Look are installing energy saving windows and lights, improving your heating system or upgrading the insulation in your building.

Make sure roles and responsibilities for who should be turning off equipment such as lights, PCs and machinery are clear.

The simple task of putting up signage to remind people to turn equipment off if they are last out the office can be enough to drive accountability.

Implementation and Culture

You need the people in your organisation to be on board with any changes for them to really take hold.

Communicate the change before the change happens; that means you need to involve, engage and educate your staff along the way.

Get people involved right from the off.

Advertise for people to help with creating a more sustainable workplace – we can guarantee you will have offers.

Create a team of ‘environmental champions’ across the whole organisation – from different levels, backgrounds and teams.

These will be the people who help to spread the message.

Document everything!

Create an environmental charter with the help of your ‘environmental champions’ and find a way to make sure that every employee signs up to it.

That means that everyone knows what is expected of them and creates a culture where sustainability and the environment are at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Top tip: Give people the chance to have their say on how to best implement a new policy and they will be more likely to embrace it.

This article has been kindly provided by Annie McFadden of The Cleaning Collective, an online one stop shop for domestic and commercial cleaning products.


Sam Rose