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Garbage vs. Recycle vs. Compost

One of the most challenging aspects of our job, is keeping up the ever-changing Recology mandates. Here in the Bay Area we have some strict rules about what goes into the Land Fill > Compost > Recycling. You can use black trash liners in the landfill bins, but not the recycling, those have to be clear. Compost liners are costly but do help to cut down on the smell and you don’t have to wash the can as often and the list goes on.

Most people don’t think about what goes into which cans until their garbage company sends them a letter and usually (if it’s a repeat offense) a huge fine.

It is important to train your employees to be careful with disposing of their trash. Most buildings have a pretty simple set-up. This is the standard at our office:

For the restrooms – paper towels only in the bins. They are not to be lined and they are to be put into the compost / green bin.

Recycle / Blue Bins – no can liners.  Commonly accepted recyclables include: paper, plastic, cardboard, and aluminum. You do not need individual bins for recycle. The items below can all be put into the same cans.

Land Fill: Black Bins –clear or black garbage liners. This is everything that is not recycling or compost. But be sure not to throw away batteries or light bulbs! Those must be handled specially.

The info below is a handy guide that you may want to hang in the kitchen or wherever you have multiple bins.

  1. Paper:
    Paper (staples okay)
    Newspaper
    Envelopes
    Junk mail
    Phone books
    Brochures Magazines 
  1. Cardboard:
    Ream wrappers
    File folders
    Poster board
    Frozen food boxes
    Cardboard boxes
    Milk cartons
  2. Plastic:
    Water bottles
    Take-out containers
    Soda bottles
    Bagged film plastics
  3. Aluminum:
    Aluminum beverage cans
    Food cans
    Scrap metal
    Some small appliances
  4. Glass:
    Bottles (clear, green & brown)
    Jars

Compost –The list is long and varied.

From the Kitchen:

  • All Food Waste
  • Egg shells (crushed)
  • Coffee grounds
  • Coffee filters
  • Tea bags (Make sure they are made of natural materials like hemp or cotton, and not rayon or other synthetics. If in doubt, just open it and compost the tea leaves alone.)
  • Loose leaf tea
  • Used paper napkins and paper towels
  • Unwaxed cardboard pizza boxes (ripped or cut into small pieces)
  • Paper bags (shredded)
  • The crumbs you sweep off the counters and floors
  • Crumbs from the bottom of snack food packaging
  • Paper towel rolls (shredded)
  • Cardboard boxes from cereal, pasta, etc. (Remove any plastic windows and shred)
  • Used paper plates (if they don’t have a waxy coating)
  • Nut shells (except for walnut shells, which are toxic to plants)
  • Unpopped, burnt popcorn kernels
  • Peanut shells
  • Cardboard egg cartons (cut them up)
  • Wine corks (chop up so they decompose faster)
  • Toothpicks
  • Bamboo skewers (break them into pieces)
  • Paper cupcake or muffin cups

From the Bathroom

  • Used facial tissues
  • Toilet paper rolls (shredded)
  • Old loofahs (cut up, natural only)
  • Cardboard tampon applicators

From the Office

  • plain paper documents (shredded)
  • Envelopes (shredded, minus the plastic window)
  • Pencil shavings
  • Sticky notes (shredded)
  • Old business cards (shredded, if they’re not glossy)

One of the things you want to make sure to do is shred those papers. Composting can take a while, you don’t want a full sheet with account information on it, just sitting around in a pile of dirt. Shredding the docs allows them to break down even faster while providing the necessary security.

 

If you have questions or want to host a training session for your employees, most county waste management programs offer onsite training.

Here are some links to Bay Area Waste Management Companies:
https://www.recology.com/

https://www.republicservices.com/

https://ssfscavenger.com/ 

https://www.wm.com/us

A common misconception in our business is that your janitor will sort through your trash for you… NOT SO. We will make sure the liners are the correct type and will dispose of items into the proper totters. The most important thing you can do is train your employees. Make sure everyone is on the same page and helping to save the earth and the company some $$.

 

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Healthy & Happy Employees Need a Clean Work-Space

Employee morale sagging? They may love their job, but on those bad days, a bright and clean work-space can help lift their moods and keep them productive. Working in a clean, healthy environment can have a major impact on how people feel. (I know I love coming home after my housekeeper has visited. That clean smell that hits my nose when I walk in the door perks me right up.) In a dingy or cluttered work-space, frustrations can mount more quickly and bad days and problems seem to only get worse.

While your employees may be more concerned about pay raises, benefits and vacation time, one of the top issues affecting their overall performance is the state of the office environment. In fact, as study done by Harvard and Syracuse Universities ( https://phys.org/news/2017-05-air-quality-productivity.html )  shows that if you improve air quality at work, you’ll improve productivity too. It’s one of those things you don’t think about until it becomes a problem.

It goes beyond your employee’s moods, and can save your business money.

Going too long without a good cleaning can put the health of your employees at risk. A clean work-space improves air quality and reduces the spread of germs and bacteria. That cuts down on sick days and absenteeism. When your workers are healthy, they’ll have more energy and feel more creative, resulting in improved performance and a boost in business. Who doesn’t want that!?!?

A clean work-space benefits your customer service as well. A well-maintained and clean work-space will make your customers feel confident entering your business and working with you. A bright, clean, airy space is like putting out a welcome mat for your clientele and it demonstrates your professionalism and attention to detail.

The bottom line is that you want people, customers and employees, to feel good about your work. If you don’t have the internal resources to clean and maintain your work environment as well as you’d like, a commercial cleaning company such as Townsend & Styer Maintenance can help you put together a regular and affordable cleaning and maintenance schedule. Townsend & Styer Maintenance provides cleaning services for commercial, industrial and institutional work-spaces. Give us a call 510-597-7900 today for a free estimate.

 

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It Ain’t Easy Being Green…

Going green means implementing certain changes designed to help you live in a more eco-friendly way. It means becoming more environmentally aware and changing behaviors and lifestyles to reduce the amount of pollution and waste you generate. The decision to go green is a gradual process for most people and businesses. Any action you take that contributes to sustainable living makes a positive impact on the environment. It is not an instant fix; but everyone can take baby steps to change his or her current lifestyle to make a difference for the Earth and future generations.

Going Green 101

Going green is often simply a matter of replacing old habits with new ones. Here a just a few that can be implemented both at home and in the office:

  • Turn Off Lights – Switch off lights as you leave a room, which saves energy and reduces your electricity bill
  • Set Your Thermostat – Set your thermostat above 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and below 60 in the winter. Wear less clothing in summer and more in winter. Open windows rather than running the air conditioner, if possible.
  • Go Digital – more and more businesses are going the paperless route. Do you really need to print out that email?  Can you digitally sign that document?
  • Recycle – Recycle aluminum, cardboard, glass and plastic materials if possible. By doing so you reduce the amount of waste headed to landfills.
  • Brown Bag it – Bringing your lunch from home in reusable containers is the greenest and often most healthy way to eat at work.  No plastic forks and knives and it cuts down on delivery or take out Styrofoam containers.
  • Change Your Light Bulbs – Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs which last longer and use less energy.
  • Carpool, Bike or Bus – Carpool with your co-workers or take your bike when weather permits. Familiarize yourself with your city’s public transportation and bus systems. You’ll cut your gas bill and reduce your car emissions.
  • Unplug – Even when appliances are turned off they continue to draw electricity. Unplug electronic chargers when not in use. Printers, scanners, and other peripherals that are only used occasionally can be unplugged until they’re needed.

These are all small but significant changes that anyone can make.  

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Who is T&S Maintenance and What Do We Do?

Townsend & Styer Maintenance was founded in 2001 by Matthew Townsend and Jeremy Styer.  The two principals decided that they could provide better service through state-of-the-art products, stellar customer service and the ability to adapt to each individual client’s needs.  From restaurants and bars to schools, gymnasiums and Class A office space, Townsend & Styer Maintenance develops customized service plans and strives to exceed all client expectations. We have two locations serving the greater Bay Area.  

Pricing & Supplier Strategy:
Pricing Methodology – T&S Maintenance customizes each individual proposal based on a number of variables including type of facility, density, frequency of service, type of business and hours of operation.

T&S Maintenance will provide all cleaning materials and we ask that the client provide all paper products, hand soaps and trash liners.  Additionally, T&S Maintenance can manage your supply inventory thru a third-party vendor.

Communication Process:
T&S Maintenance prefers that all communication comes through our central office for proper tracking and resolution.

Account Management & Quality Control:
Each account has it’s own on-site supervisor to ensure overall quality control. Quality Controls Used:

  • On-site Janitorial Supervisor
  • Account Representative
  • Internal Quality Control Manager
  • Communication Logs
  • QC Questionnaire
  • 24-hour access to voicemail and email

Supplementary Services Offered:
We are strictly a full service janitorial maintenance firm.

We do not distribute janitorial supplies.  We contract with a third party vendor.

Yes, we can provide proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensations.

As a small local janitorial company, we find that we offer our clients unparalleled customer service, which allows us to nurture long-term relationships with our clients.

T&S Maintenance strives to provide each and every client with the latest cleaning services and products.  We offer a full line of “Green” cleaning products and will adhere to each client’s recycling and/or composting policies.

Would you like to find out more about us?  Give us a call to discuss your facility needs and schedule a free, no obligation site visit.

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5 Benefits of Hiring a Professional Cleaning Service

How many hours do you spend at work each week? 40? 50? 60+? Let’s face it, if you’re working full-time, your office is practically your second home. And not only is it YOUR second home, it’s also the second home to all of your co-workers and employees! With so many people spending so many hours there, there’s no question that you need to take good care of it. That is where a professional cleaning service comes in.  

Though your business might do a decent job at keeping your workspace habitable, it doesn’t mean they’re doing a good job of keeping your workspace clean. Simply put, cleanliness is rarely a priority for businesses, so most just do the bare minimum to keep up with appearances (i.e. vacuum every now and then, keep kitchen and bathroom areas tidy, etc.). And while this might save time for more “important” tasks, a dirty workspace can actually inhibit your workers from completing these tasks.

In order to help you maximize your business’ efficiency, safety, and appearance, we’ll explain the top 5 benefits of hiring a commercial cleaning service:

1) Safer Work Environment

Keeping your workplace clean means keeping your workplace safe. Not only are offices a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, but an untidy workspace in a manufacturing facility can also lead to accidents and possibly injury. Though you might be sanitizing surfaces areas every now and then or “keeping an eye on things” in the warehouse, no one does a better job than the trained commercial cleaning professionals. For example, when was the last time you cleared your HVAC air system of all its dust and germs? Commercial cleaning services do more than just sanitize the desks and scrub the toilets, they make sure your entire workspace is clean – even down to the air particles you breathe. And at time when the average worker in the U.S costs businesses $230/year due to workplace absenteeism caused by personal illness, paying for cleaning services doesn’t seem all that bad.

2) Less Stress

Your employees are your top priority, but we all know the worst part about cleaning is the fact that it’s, well, cleaning. As a kid, you dreaded doing these chores, and it’s likely that not much has changed today. As a result, you’ve probably neglected a few things here and there along the way. For commercial cleaners, however, doing these tasks is just another day on the job. In fact, we’ll even work around YOUR work schedule to make sure you aren’t bothered by our presence. Rather than spending time doing something that stresses you out, leave the cleaning up to the pros and spend more time working on what matters most to you.

3) More Productive Workers

There have been numerous studies on workplace productivity and workplace cleanliness, and they all point towards one thing: a cleaner workplace leads to happier, more productive workers. In a survey by OfficeMax of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, 90% admit that unorganized clutter has a negative impact on their life, with 77% claiming that their productivity is affected the most. Additionally, in a study conducted at Brigham Young University, 88% of respondents report that visible buildups of dirt and dust can actually hinder their ability to concentrate, be productive, and learn. Want more productive workers? Hire a commercial cleaner to keep your workspace tidy and clean.

4) More Professional Workplace

Did you know that 35% of workers feel ashamed or embarrassed when other people see their workspace? That’s because Americans often associate cleanliness with professionalism. If you don’t look like an organized professional, you won’t be perceived as one, and there’s nothing more embarrassing than having your customers and clients view your business as unprofessional. By hiring a commercial cleaning service, however, they’ll make sure your business looks top notch, both inside and out. Whether it means power washing your parking lot and building, washing your windows, or making sure your work or retail spaces are 100% clean, commercial cleaners can certainly help your brand build a reputation around professionalism.

5) Higher Quality Clean

Though you might think you’re doing an adequate job as the full-time manager and part-time cleaner, there’s no one better at cleaning than the cleaning professionals. For example, even though you can take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing, no one cleans your teeth as well as the dentist. Why? Because they not only have more knowledge, but they also have more tools. In the commercial cleaning industry, cleaning professionals are equipped with all the necessary tools to get the job done, as well as a better understanding of how things need to be done.

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Selecting the Right Cleaning Service Company

Outsourcing your building’s maintenance to a janitorial company should make your job easier not more difficult. If you find yourself going back to the drawing board time and time again, to select another cleaning service, you may start to feel like all cleaning companies are the same with lackluster performance and inconsistent service. If you are searching for the right cleaning service, consider the following:

  • Ask how many hours they plan to work per week. Multiply those hours times 4.33 per weeks in a month and divide that number into their monthly price.  That will give you their facility management hourly billable rate.  In California the minimum hourly wage is $10.00.  So if the number is anywhere close to $12.00 per hour, the chances are they are doing something illegal that will put your organization at risk.
    Don’t settle for fuzzy math or confusing pricing. If you cannot compare apples to apples with a clear, precise, unambiguous cleaning bid or janitorial quote, move on.
  • Consider size. You likely don’t need a behemoth national janitorial company, but a larger local operation that has a number of benefits for your facility maintenance; from state of the art equipment, to agility, to cost savings on bulk goods like paper products.
  • Determine if they have a quality assurance program that included regular janitorial inspections.
  • Ask for a copy of all insurance certifications to assure that you are adequately protected.
  • Ask about their green cleaning program and commitment to sustainability and health.
  • Request that they provide you with documentation from the company conducting employee background checks for every employee working in your facility.

Don’t make your job unnecessarily hard by neglecting to do your homework upfront. A little extra work at the front end can save you a ton of hassle, headaches and money down the line.

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What Are Janitorial Bonds?

What does it mean to be ‘Bonded’ and why do you, the customer, want to make sure you are covered with janitorial bonds?

Janitorial bonds, or house cleaning bonds, are a type of fidelity bond designed to protect a third party, (Customer) whose property is being cleaned by a janitorial service or house cleaner.

If you own a janitorial service, maid service, carpet cleaning service, or house cleaning service, this is a voluntary bond that allows you to show your prospects that their belongings and property will be safe from theft.

While the janitorial bond does not cover damage, most people insist that the service they hire has a Cleaning Service / Janitorial Bond in place to protect them against theft.

A surety bond protects the party requesting the bond (the Customer) against any financial losses as a result of poor financial decisions, damages, unethical decisions, or a failure to follow state and local laws on the part of you, the Business Owner.  The Janitorial Cleaning Service Bond holds you accountable for your business decisions.

Possessing a Janitorial Cleaning Service Bond, tells your Customers that you can be trustedand that you stand behind your business decisions.

So, what are janitorial surety bonds, anyway?

Quite simply it means that a surety bond is a legally binding contract that ensures a certain task is performed. Most janitorial service business owners buy surety bonds because they operate small companies and want a cost-effective way to protect against employees who might choose to act unethically. Even if they trust their staff to the fullest extent, the reality is that their business becomes an easy target if a customer’s belongings go missing.

Janitorial surety bonds are also known by other names such as custodian bonds or business service bonds. Regardless of the name, this bond provides protection for businesses who work with home and business cleaning services.

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Five Tips For Maintaining Gym Mats

Many indoor sporting activities require the use of gym mats to promote safety and prevent injuries. However, compared to other types of matting, gym mats have very specific placement, cleaning, care and storage requirements. Following these guidelines for maintaining gym mats will help keep matting in good condition, providing years of quality service.

• Upon receiving: If a gym mat is delivered during the cold winter months, do not unroll it until it has been stored at normal room temperature for at least 24 hours. In some cases, unrolling a gym mat in cold conditions can result in damage to the foam and outer coating of the mat.

• Cleaning the mat: Clean mats by first sweeping them to remove grit and dirt. Next, clean them with a neutral pH cleaner and then a disinfectant before each use—or, better yet, before and after. This keeps mats as clean and healthy as possible. (A cleaner/disinfectant may also be used)

• Chemical disinfectants: Experts recommend using disinfectants specifically designed for gym mats. These will disinfectant effectively without leaving a chemical residue on the mat. Never apply previously used disinfectant. Always use a fresh solution.

• Clean underneath mats: While it is not necessary to clean under mats after each use, moisture and mildew can build up in these areas over time. This can eventually damage the mat, as well as the floor below. Clean and damp mop the floor underneath mats at least every few weeks, if not more often.

• Properly storing [gym] mats is also critical:  If it cannot be stored flat, roll the mat up, not too tightly or too loosely, and secure it so it does not unravel. This should keep it in good condition.

Following these tips will help add years of life to your mats.  If you need any help caring for or maintaining gym mats give us a call.  We would be happy to arrange a site visit and evaluation.

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Clean Up Indoor Air with These Four Tips

February is National Care about Your Indoor Air month, which is the perfect time for facility managers and cleaning professionals to take a moment and focus on the importance of improving the indoor air within their facilities. 

Custodial personnel and the type of cleaning processes in place can have a large impact on the quality of indoor air. For example, using vacuums with filtration systems can reduce the dust and debris redistributed into the air from equipment exhaust. Chemicals with low VOCs can minimize what particles linger in the air. And potentially one of the most noticeable factors influencing air quality is odor, so it is important for custodial personnel to deal with odors appropriately.

Here are four tips that will help eliminate problem odors and improve indoor air quality:

Lose the mask
Many products simply mask odors with air fresheners and overusing an ineffective product can make the problem worse. The best way to remove — not mask — odors is to first identify the cause of problem and select cleaning products that can effectively eliminate the odor at its source.

Tackle tough restroom odors
Urine odors present one of the toughest challenges when it comes to maintaining pleasant indoor air and can make an otherwise clean facility seem unappealing and dirty, despite the hard work of cleaning professionals. The effective and lasting solution to eliminating urine odors lies in breaking down uric acid crystals in urine, removing the source of the odor rather than just masking it. Incorporate products that break down the odor-causing urine crystals as a regular part of your cleaning routine.

Don’t forget soft surfaces
Porous damp surfaces, such as grout, host bacteria, which feed on urine and humid conditions or wetting the surface can reactivate the odor. To combat this, look for products that are specially formulated work on hard and soft surfaces such as grout, carpet and mattresses.

Limit the spread of pathogens
Unpleasant odors can signal the presence of harmful microorganisms, such as Shigella, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, E. coli and Norovirus, which are routinely found in restrooms and are associated with outbreaks of illness. Remember to select products that are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered to kill illness-causing bacteria. Bleach products are especially effective against multi-drug resistant organisms and are compatible with most hard surfaces found in public restrooms.

Prevent cross-contamination in restrooms and elsewhere by focusing on high-touch surfaces and objects such as counter tops, urinals, toilets, door knobs and handles, light switches and faucets.

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Floor Care: Spruce Up For Spring

No matter how good the floor care program, a harsh winter can leave a floor looking drab and discolored upon the first blooms of spring.  After the final rain has come and gone, it is time to address the the wear and tear that winter brings to floors.  

Floors will generally need to be stripped or deep-cleaned to return them to like-new condition. A floor that needs stripping may look dull and its finish may appear uneven, cloudy or hazy. After stripping, the floor will need recoating with a floor finish.

The floor will likely need a deep scrub before applying finish to spruce up tired looking floors. It’s a good time to strip and recoat just to get rid of leftover contaminants that were brought in during the winter.

Whether stripping or just a deep scrub is required is largely determined by how well crews kept up the floor during the winter months.

During the winter you have a couple of options, you can either increase your frequencies in an effort to keep things looking good, or you can take a chance and and work on sprucing it back up in the spring.  Which is the best for you?  In the end it will be will be up to each facility manager or business owner to determine the need based on their individual requirements.