Managing waste with EcoPro 

By Shilo Zhang

As the circular economy wheels its way into mainstream business, proposed big increases to waste management levies mean the costs of waste management for business are likely to increase significantly. For organisations looking to minimise their waste, who are the experts they can trust? Annabel McAleer from GoodSense explains.

Perhaps surprisingly, of all your business partners, it’s your commercial cleaning company that has the clearest insight into the waste produced by your business.  

The EcoPro Cleaning Co, SBN member since 2015, specialises in ‘eco cleaning’ services for commercial clients. Run by Bob and Anne Quaid – who literally helped write the rules for the Environmental Choice NZ qualifications for cleaning services – EcoPro offers much more than your typical commercial cleaning service.   

Anne and Bob’s services include an initial Eco Cleaning Services Assessment to review a client’s waste procedures, including recycling. This is followed by waste minimisation solutions tailored to the business. 

Anne says by making a few small changes to a client’s waste procedures, they are able to significantly reduce a client’s waste to landfill. “For example, by not using individual bin liners under desks you eliminate hundreds if not thousands of bin liners going to landfill.” 

Accounting firm Hayes Knight, an Ecopro client since 2007, has crunched the numbers and reports they’ve made significant cost savings and waste reduction thanks to EcoPro. Thier advice resulted in a 72% reduction in plastic bag consumption at their Albany site, which equates to a 57% saving in their consumables over a 12 month period. 

“EcoPro have proven to us many times that they are always willing go the extra mile, and are happy to work around us to suit our needs,” says Kathryn Buchanan, Business Support, Hayes Knight. “We find them very professional and trustworthy, their customer service is excellent and any issues are fixed immediately.  They personally go out of their way to keep us happy and do this with a smile and good humour.” 

“We scuba dive around the world so we see what happens when waterways aren’t looked after,” says EcoPro co-owner Bob Quaid. “We care about the environment and wanted to do something about it. We realised that being in the cleaning industry, we were at the ground level of that.” 

The Eco Cleaning Services Assessment offered by EcoPro also helped HRV North Shore make considerable savings to their waste disposal costs. Over just 3 months, their waste to landfill was reduced from 9 bags of rubbish per week down to only 3. They consumed over 500 bin liners in the previous 12 months and, with encouragement and guidance from Ecopro, were able to eliminate their need for bin liners all together. That’s a total reduction in plastic bags going into landfill of almost 79%. 

HRV staff became highly engaged in the process, initiating an in-house swear box-type ‘fine’ system for anyone caught putting the waste in the wrong bin. 

EcoPro’s Anne Quaid points out that in addition to the environmental benefits there are also health benefits. “Not having a bin under your desk means employees have to get up from their desk and go to the kitchen, which reduces our sedentary lifestyle.” 

Anne and Bob are fanatical about creating healthier, more productive workplaces. “We’re always looking for new and better ways to help my clients save money, be more sustainable and improve employee productivity.” EcoPro’s clients can also benefit from audits to see how the overall health of their work environments could be further improved. 

Anne explains, “With loss of productivity costing business owners millions each year due to staff illness and absenteeism, the value of clean is certainly one that has a real impact on bottom lines.” 

EcoPro have worked with fellow SBN member GoodSense on marketing since meeting at SBN’s 2015 conference.

Anne says: “We went to the big SBN conference about marketing in 2015, ‘Telling Good Stories’, and Kath Dewar of GoodSense was doing a break-out workshop. We’d always struggled with marketing “green”, so we were thrilled with what we learned. We got talking to Kath, which eventually led to our working relationship. So far GoodSense has refreshed our brand and tagline, and we’re currently doing a programme of work with them that includes learning some marketing skills myself. We plan to upgrade our website together in the future.”

Phone EcoPro on 0800 326 776 for a free Eco Cleaning Services Assessment