Expert Interview – Sustainability Programs

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For this month’s Expert Interview I sat down with my colleague Grace Best, LEED GA, in our Jersey City Headquarters. Grace plays several roles at Imperial Dade, one being Director of Sustainability.

LC: Tell me about your role directing Imperial Dade’s Greensafe program.

GB: The Greensafe Program is focused on our customers’ sustainability initiatives. In the world of foodservice and janitorial distribution there has been a huge push for sustainable products but there is also a lot of confusion in the marketplace. My role is to help our customers understand their product options and explain about sustainable business practices in general. I also assist with reporting requirements related to our products and services. The concept of sustainability continues to evolve so I make it a point to stay on top of the trends, regulations, and certifications and keep our sales team informed.

LC: What got you interested in sustainability?

GB: A little over 2 years ago one of our large cleaning contractors needed assistance providing reports to their customers who managed LEED Certified office buildings. These reports are required for the building to meet criteria for Green Spend. This was something new for me and I decided to work with the customer to understand more about their needs. They took me under their wing and taught me about LEED Certification and green cleaning. I found it very interesting and was enjoying the challenge so I decided to take the exam and become a LEED Accredited Professional.

LC: Tell me more about the Green Spend and how that ties into LEED Certification.

GB: Green Spend reporting is needed to make sure that a building’s maintenance supplies are compliant with the LEED guidelines. This may include a third-party certification such as EcoLogo or a certain amount of post-consumer recycled content. For example, one of the largest buildings in New York City was up for LEED Certification. They were within their performance period which means that during that time their purchases of sustainable supplies must be at a particular level. Although the building is not our direct client, I worked with the cleaning contractor and carefully monitored their purchases each month to ensure they hit the mark. They were very appreciative of the extra attention I gave them during this process and presented me with their annual Client Focus Award.

LC: Congratulations! Sounds like you found your calling.

GB: I did and the timing was perfect. In New York City the foodservice industry was also focusing on sustainability. I was able to assist clients with their packaging options, explain the differences between compostable vs. recyclable products and show them how they could lower their carbon footprint. It was a new concept for many of the restaurants at that time and it was new education for me that I found really exciting. There is always something new to learn and then teach others.

LC: What are some common misconceptions that people have about sustainability?

GB: The biggest misconception is that by purchasing a sustainable product, they are now a sustainable business. This is difficult for people to understand. If a fast-casual restaurant chain wants to start implementing compostable products into their locations, they then must implement a new trash program. This includes having different trash cans on site clearly labeled for landfill, recyclable, and compostable trash. Then to take this a step further, they must locate compost facilities and hire another carrier to pick up the compostable items. The process truly goes full circle and it does require extra time, effort, and sometimes upfront costs. Our job is to explain all of the steps required and help the customer implement their program successfully.

LC: What are the current trends in sustainable foodservice and janitorial supplies?

GB: Right now the trend in sustainable foodservice supplies is pulp. Whether it is pulp bowls, plates or containers, even portion cups, its pulp. Everyone is looking for the next best pulp item with a unique size so they can differentiate themselves. Luckily for us we can deliver on those requests.

In the janitorial segment the trend is cleaning contractors promoting their green- cleaning programs. We focus on helping those cleaning contractors gain clients through our Greensafe Program. This includes going over all of the green certified products we have available and selecting the correct products for the situation. It also includes procedural training, reporting, and advice on best practices.

LC: What quick tips can you offer a business to get started in implementing a sustainability program?

GB: Do your research and ask for help. Know the facts before you begin. There is a ton of information out there but sometimes the information is inaccurate or even misleading. Seek the advice of a LEED Accredited Professional or a supplier partner that has a formal sustainable supply chain program.

Grace Best and Imperial Dade’s Greensafe Specialists are available to consult with customers about sustainability programs. Grace can be reached at gbest@imperialdade.com.

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Fast Facts About Bleach

Bleach is a common household item that is often misused in both residential and commercial settings causing an unhealthy environment and damaging surfaces and equipment. Here is what you need to know about bleach:

  1. Bleach is a whitener and when used correctly kills many types of germs and bacteria.
  2. Bleach is effective in combatting mold but only on smooth non-porous surfaces. When used on grout and caulk it will whiten the mold but will not eliminate it.
  3. Bleach does not contain surfactants and therefore is not a cleaner.
  4. When bleach is introduced to ammonia it creates chloramine gas which is hazardous to humans and animals. Urine contains ammonia as do cleaners containing Quaternary Ammonium, neither of which should come into contact with bleach.
  5. When beach is combined with common dish detergents it can create Mustard Gas which is also hazardous to humans and animals.
  6. Bleach deteriorates quickly. Once the bottle is open and air is introduced to the product the efficacy will be reduced by 50% in 90 days.
  7. Bleach is extremely corrosive and will break down and eventually destroy metal surfaces such as kitchen equipment and drain hardware.

Rust on Prep Table
Prep Table Cleaned with Bleach

Bleach has many practical uses but only when used properly. If you have questions about the use of bleach or other professional cleaning chemicals please contact Imperial Dade. We have experienced consultants who can perform a complimentary assessment of your cleaning products and practices. Visit us at www.ImperialDade.com.

Expert Interview – Helping Restaurants Become Sustainable

GRA

This month I had the opportunity to interview Michael Oshman, Founder and CEO of the Green Restaurant Association. Michael is passionate about creating a more sustainable business environment, especially in the restaurant industry.

LC: When did you get started in the restaurant business?

MO: I founded the Green Restaurant Association in 1990 when I was 19 years old. So I’ve been doing this for 27 years. We were one of the first green business organizations and helped start the green business movement. Thankfully today, sustainable business practices are much more mainstream.

LC: Tell me about the Green Restaurant Association and the inspiration for starting the organization.

MO: If the restaurant industry was a country it would be in the top 15 countries as far as GDP. It is a trillion dollar industry. We got started to help restaurants become more environmentally sustainable which has a significant impact. We wanted to make this process of change easy and profitable for restaurants. We break down the industry into seven environmental components of energy, water, waste, disposables, chemicals, food, and building. We have hundreds of environmental standards ranging from napkins to paper towels, cleaning chemicals to equipment, etc. Restaurants earn points for each of the steps where they meet our standards. Depending on the number of points earned, they can become level 1 star, 2 star, 3 star, or 4 star Certified Green Restaurant®.

LC: How does the process work and what guidance do you provide the restaurateurs?

MO: Our organization provides environmental consulting. We walk the restaurant through the process starting with an environmental assessment to find a baseline of how the restaurant is operating in relationship to our environmental standards. We discover where there is room for improvement and then set up a strategy of steps. We don’t just give them the prescription, we help them do it. We also work with their distributors, vendors, waste haulers and property managers to make it happen. Once the restaurant has become certified we assist with public relations and marketing. We are really proud of the support we provide and that we have become the trusted resource for the industry.

LC: You mentioned working with distributors. Please share how that program works.

MO: Our Green Restaurant Distributor™ Program, which Imperial Dade is part of, is a great way for distributors to have an external source of validation that their products meet our standards. We take the hundreds or thousands of products that a distributor carries and match them up with our standards. Then we publicize those distributors on our website. If you go to www.dinegreen.com  you will see all of the products from Imperial Dade that meet the GRA’s environmental standards. The website provides a transparent source of information to the restaurateur.

LC: What is the biggest trend or change you have seen with regards to green restaurants?

MO: More restaurants are realizing the importance of sustainability and calling upon our organization for assistance. We now have universities, corporations, transportation hubs, etc. that are all doing this. Some want to create cleaner air, cleaner water, sustainable food sources and some just realize that consumers prefer dining at Certified Green Restaurants®.  The movement continues to gain steam!

LC: What are some simple things a restaurant can do to get started in becoming more sustainable?

MO: A couple of examples include getting the most efficient spray valve. If they are using a 1.4 gal/min valve they can go down to one that is a gallon or less. Switching out old CFL or incandescent lighting to LED bulbs is an easy option.  Go to www.dinegreen.com to see a bunch of products that we have already vetted. Using our website is more efficient than general internet searches. Sometimes a restaurateur may come across a product online that interests them. The marketing pitch makes it sound great, but then it ends up not meeting expectations which is disappointing. That is called greenwashing.  We have 27 years of experience greening restaurants. My advice is put us to work for you!

Contact the Green Restaurant Association at outreach@dinegreen.com or 617-737-4422 for more information about becoming a Certified Green Restaurant® or Green Restaurant Distributor™.

 

 

 

 

 

Expert Interview – Safety & Savings Through Chemical Management

CMS Dispensers New LabelsFor this month’s interview, I tapped into one of the many experienced professionals here at Dade Paper. Lynn Miller, Miami Branch Chemical Manager, has worked in the janitorial industry for over 30 years including 14 years with Dade Paper.

LC: Tell me about your role? What does a Chemical Manager do?

LM: I love my job as Chemical Manager. I work alongside our sales consultants, assisting them in developing solutions for their customers. For example, in one of our grocery chain accounts we created customized cleaning programs for each department. We trained their staff on proper procedures helping them maintain a clean, safe and appealing store. In addition to the hands-on training we also provided written manuals and tools to ensure that the programs were consistent across all store locations. I enjoy the interaction with both management and employees when they grasp the concepts of the training. We are helping them be more successful and that is really rewarding.

LM: I also love to solve problems. A cleaning contractor called me just the other day to just tell me how much time and money he saved on a very large job after installing the chemical management system that I had recommended.

LC: What is a chemical management system?

LM: It is the best thing since sliced bread! A chemical management system, or CMS, is an automated dispensing system that controls the precise amount of chemical concentrate mixed with water in reusable spray bottles. The system can be set up with multiple products depending on the cleaning needs of the customer.

LC: What are some of the benefits of this type of system?

LM: Safety is a big one. Because the mixing is done automatically, there is no “glugging” of chemicals from one bottle to the next which can pose risks in improper dilution ratios as well as spills. Some people think that if some is good, more is better. That is not true! Using too much concentrate can make the product less effective, damage surfaces and can create health risks. Everything in a quality CMS should be color-coded with corresponding product numbers and names. The system should also include instructional wall charts and manuals making it very easy to use.

LM: Cost is another important factor. The CMS chemicals are super-concentrates, reducing the expensive shipping of water and excess packaging.

LC: That sounds like a more sustainable program as well. Reduced packaging and transportation, both of which have a big impact on the environment.

LM: That is correct! Also, the cost-in-use is much less compared to a pre-mixed, ready-to-use chemical. For example, a quart of ready-to-use product may be $3 compared to a quart of CMS product as low as $.035. And, because the dispensing is controlled there is no waste or overuse. These systems also help prevent theft of ready-to-use products.

LC: What types of businesses use these systems?

LM: All businesses that use cleaning chemicals can benefit from a CMS.  We partner with healthcare facilities, grocery stores, schools, restaurants, food processing plants, office buildings, building contractors, hotels, the list goes on and on.

LC: What factors should be considered when selecting a CMS?

LM: The major considerations when selecting a CMS provider are, first, a knowledgeable consultant to recommend the correct products for each surface and provide training for the cleaning crew. The second is safe, reliable equipment and technical service.  The service technicians need to maintain the equipment on a regular basis and be available 24/7 to respond to any emergency repair needs. And lastly, high quality chemicals that are compliant with all regulations and perhaps even third-party environmental certifications.

LC: I see why you are so enthusiastic about CMS programs! Thanks, Lynn!

LM: Thanks for the opportunity to share the info.

If you are interested in learning more about chemical management systems, Lynn Miller is gladly available to answer your questions and can be reached at lmiller@dadepaper.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Expert Interview – Data Visualization & Infographics

For this month’s Expert Interview I spoke with Randy Krum, President of InfoNewt, author of Cool Infographics, speaker, and recognized expert in the field of data visualization and infographics.

LC: How and when did you get started in the field of infographics?

RK: In 2004, I was working for a consumer products company and used data visualization to present analytical information to leadership. I began collecting what I thought were great examples of infographics for inspiration. That collection became the content for my blog, Cool Infographics, which launched in 2007. It was so popular that I realized there was not only a great deal of interest in infographics but a need for design support and consulting. Two years later I started InfoNewt where we assist our clients through the entire process of creating infographics to tell their story.

LC:  Can you explain the difference between data visualization and infographics?

RK: Great question. Data visualization is displaying information in a graphical way such as a chart, diagram, icon, image, etc. An infographic tells a story by using those data viz elements combined with text, illustrations, and an overall layout.

LC: What are the advantages of using infographics over text alone?

RK: Today, more than ever, people have short attention spans. Research suggests you have 5 to 10 seconds to capture the attention of your audience. Infographics make it easy for people to scan and get the point of your message quickly. The human brain processes images in 13 milliseconds. Also, people remember visual information 65% more than they remember text so retention of the material will be greatly enhanced.

LC: That is amazing! No wonder infographics have become so popular. What are the current trends in this type of communication?

RK: Infographics have been an important element in the content marketer’s tool kit for several years now. Companies are experimenting with infographics in every aspect of their sales and marketing communication strategy from sharing company history, industry trends, press releases, and frequently asked questions.

Here is an example of Dade Paper’s company overview infographic:

Infographic Cover

Today, animated infographics are becoming more popular as are infographics designed for small screens. In the future, we’ll see augmented reality infographics with 360 images, real-time data, and virtual reality capabilities.

LC: What advice can you give to someone who wants to incorporate infographics into their communication plan?

RK: Start with some simple data statistics about your company. Focus on your one key message or your call to action. Keep it simple with minimal text and highlight the data that leads the audience to the desired insight or conclusion. Also, make sure that your data viz is accurate mathematically and graphically. Work up to more complicated infographics that tell more complete stories. Then share those stories on blogs and other social media channels.

LC: Is this something people can really do on their own?

RK: It depends on what in-house capabilities are available. If you have a good data analyst or graphic designer, try them first. Data visualization and infographic design is a very specialized style of design. It takes someone who understands both statistics and design. If that is a skill set that is not available, then you may want to partner with a design firm that specializes in infographics.

LC: Are there any simple software tools available for someone who’d like to give it a try?

RK: This is the question I get most often, and it’s a complicated question. A data visualization or infographics designer will have their own favorite vector graphics application where they put the whole design together. It could be Adobe Illustrator, OmniGraffle, Inkscape, or even PowerPoint. Separately, they will create good data visualization elements and then import those into the project in the vector graphics application. Most designers keep a toolbox of many different tools for charts, icons, maps, word clouds, and more. I maintain a large list of tools at www.coolinfographics.com/tools that people can check out.

Dade Paper Infographic 11×17 April 2017For more information and great examples of infographics, visit Randy’s blog at www.coolinfographics.com and his website www.InfoNewt.com.

Expert Interview – Greening the Gridiron

This month’s interview is with Marcelo Essabba, Director of Housekeeping Operations at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. Marcelo gave me a tour of the facility which is going through some amazing upgrades. Along the way he explained their sustainability initiatives which are impressive to say the least. (Photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins)

College Football Semi-Final at the Orange Bowl

LC:   What is your role with the Miami Dolphins and how long have you been part of the organization?

ME:  I have had a few roles in the past ten years with the organization but the majority of the years have been in the Housekeeping Sector as Director of Housekeeping Operations. My team covers parking lots, the main facility, concessions and kitchens, pest control, window cleaning, all waste removal, full laundry service and sustainability as well as covering more than 11 million square feet.

LC:   When did you begin your sustainability program and what was the inspiration?

ME:  We picked our sustainability program up again once we went back to in-house housekeeping service in July 2014. We assumed operations and went from a 6% to 58% diversion rate the first year. From there we saw that we can enhance it and finished last year around 77%. We are looking forward to continuing to improve on our sustainability plan and efforts.

LC:   Who is involved on the sustainability team?

ME: We have a team of eight people involved. The group is composed of upper management, Hard Rock Stadium’s hospitality provider, Centerplate, and all of the housekeeping team.

LC:  What were your initial goals and initiatives and how were they prioritized?

ME: The initial goal was to start with simple and basic changes that could be made immediately. The initiative we had available was the single stream/comingle recycling option. We then prioritized by baling cardboard and collecting all bottles, cans and cups. This proved to be a simple and non-complicated beginning that made sense operationally.

LC:  What is one of most innovative sustainability projects you have been able to accomplish?

ME:  We did research and not having many options for composting in our area, we decided to try an organic food composter/digester. We installed two of them in October 2016 and have been able to divert tons of post and prep food to landfills and reduce our waste weight from going to the landfill as well as our cost of waste dumped per event and non-event days.

LC: It was interesting to see that equipment in action. Food waste is such a big issue today, even in small restaurants let alone massive stadiums. Has sustainability become a major focus in the sports arena community?

ME:  It is a priority for the Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium as we feel we are making a great impact on our community. We have thousands of fans that attend events. We care about being part of a clean and sustainable environment locally. The organization continues to receive inquiries about our programs from many sports complexes.

LC:  What are your plans going forward?

ME:  We are focused on establishing a tangible vision and growing our sustainability plan. We are trying to implement our sustainability plan for all events in and out of the stadium to maximize diversion from landfills. We continue working with vendors, such as Dade Paper, to use items coming in and out of the facility to fit into our sustainability plan. This ensures operationally that the plan makes more sense for all and facilitates the process of sorting the waste streams.

LC:  What advice do you have for other facility managers embarking on a sustainability program?

ME:  Start small with the simple things that won’t really change much of your operations. It will evolve to a sustainable program that you will be happy with. Do lots of research in your area, some cities offer more sustainable options than others while some offer composting and some only offer single stream. We’ve able to use different vendors for items that our hauler can’t sort for us. We have been able to implement many parts of our everyday business to increase our sustainability and divert more and more from landfills and still be on budget and/or below for some of the events. Get as much help as you can from others and research. In the process you’ll learn plenty that you can apply to your particular venue. At the end of the day, you have to make it work for your operation in your facility.

To learn more about Hard Rock Stadium visit www.hardrockstadium.com and check out this video https://vimeo.com/178241412.   

Expert Interview – The Power of Association

For this month’s Expert Interview I spoke with Dan Murphy, Vice President of Membership and Corporate Relations for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. Dan is a 25-year veteran of the hospitality industry.

LC: What is your role with the FRLA and how long have you been part of the organization?

DM: I have been with the FRLA for over 20 years. It is my responsibility to oversee the membership department. We have a team of 13 individuals who handle the marketing, sales, retention, sponsors, partners and events for the association. Part of my role is to assist independent and chain operators, both restaurateurs and hoteliers, to ensure that the industry stays protected.

LC: Tell me about how the FRLA supports the hospitality industry?

DM: FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association representing more than 10,000 members. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy. With more than 1.1 million employees it is the state’s number one industry.

We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs such as RCS and SafeStaff®. We provide industry developed career-building high school programs through the FRLA Education Foundation. The FRLA safeguards the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. And, we sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show held each fall.

LC: Wow! That is a lot of support! As a supplier to this industry, we sure appreciate what you do.

What are 2 big industry changes you have seen within last few years?

DM: Technological innovation. It’s no surprise that technology continues to be an on-going subject in the hospitality industry. Hotels now have mobile check-in, valet communication, and meetings and events request service. Robotics has started to make its mark as well. Tablet kiosks have either replaced or supplemented servers in restaurants and geo-location has significantly helped restaurant’s royalty and discount programs with their marketing plan.

Everything is moving, even more so than before, into a digital platform and millennials, in the particular, as looking for free Wi-Fi, social media platforms to provide quick feedback, immediate responses to on-site requests.

Then there are emerging platforms such as AirBnB, Uber, and food delivery services. These cost-saving, quick response and on-line opportunities are appealing to travelers, but they are affecting the hospitality industry.

LC: What is the biggest challenge that restaurants and hotels are having today?

DM: I know that one of the biggest challenges that everyone in the industry is having is hiring staff. Connecting with suitable candidates, choosing the right candidate, and keeping those superior employees.

LC: How can they approach that?

DM: Now that much of the workforce is the millennial generation and younger, managers and owners may need to focus some of their efforts in hiring and retaining practices based on their needs, reactions, thoughts or wants. I am not saying that we need to cater to this generation, but a few tweaks in the employee handbook or the orientation may make a difference.

LC: I agree with you. We’re educating our managers on Millennials and how they differ from the Boomers and Gen-Xers. In a few years, that age group will make up 50% of the US workforce. It’s critical to attract and retain those younger adults.

What is an emerging opportunity or trend that restaurants and/or hotels should be aware of?

DM: Disruption! The idea that the “old” rules don’t apply. Time to shake things up and make some changes. For example, guests are much more mobile. They want grab ‘n’ go options as well as health and wellness options. Guests no longer want to work in the hotel rooms, but have a space in the lobby to connect to WI-FI in an open and inviting environment.

LC: What other advice can you offer?

DM: We have had several members that have mentioned that community relations and charitable connections have made a huge difference in their business models and brands. Tijuana Flats and Firehouse of America both have charities that they incorporate into their marketing brand. They have ties to their communities that their patrons appreciate and it shows!

LC: What is the best way for people to contact the FRLA?

DM: FRLA is open 5 days a week from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Any of our staff can we reached by calling 850-224-2250. For additional information, visit www.FRLA.org. Stay in touch through our various social media channels on Twitter or Instagram @FRLANews, Facebook or YouTube.