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Washroom Waste in UK Businesses Drops by 49 Per Cent

Washroom Waste in UK Businesses Drops by 49 Per Cent
28 September 2020

The amount of washroom waste generated by UK organisations has dropped by almost half year-on-year, which is a good indicator of reduced building occupancy, says facilities services provider phs Group.

In London, the amount of waste collected over the same period was down 73 per cent, indicating a significant drop in building usage that far exceeds the national average.

The phs Index, released today, is a report on how COVID-19 has impacted UK organisations over the last six months, particularly relating to hygiene and washroom solutions. 

The findings are based on phs’ analysis of more than 120,000 UK organisations across all sectors and nearly 300,000 visits to customer premises each month, delivering a range of facilities services, including washroom services.


“Even though we’re seeing reasonably high reopen rates for organisations, the real story is that people – staff, visitors and customers – have not yet returned with buildings being 17 per cent quieter overall and 38 per cent quieter in London.” 

–David Taylor-Smith

CEO, phs Group

One in 20 Places Still Shut Down Following COVID Lockdown


The research states that 95 per cent of organisations (businesses, governmental and non-governmental organisations) across the UK are now open following widespread closures; translating to one in 20 which are still shut down. 

However, Central London is lagging behind the UK with just 90 per cent of premises open.

Despite the number of reopenings, premises are now still significantly quieter with data showing a reduction in usage of 17 per cent in August 2020 compared to pre-COVID levels, meaning staff, visitors and customers are not fully returning.


Food and Accommodation Hardest Hit


  • The accommodation and food sector was the hardest hit with 73 per cent of sites shutdown at the peak of closures (reached at the end of May) and 8 per cent remaining closed today.
  • The arts, entertainment and recreation sector was the second most affected with 62 per cent of sites shut down at the peak of closures (reached in mid-June). Today, 11 per cent remain closed – more than double the national average.
  •  38 per cent of financial and business services sector sites were shut at the peak of closures, reached at the end of May, with more than one in 10 (11 per cent) remaining closed today. 


Consumer Confidence Still an Issue


phs asked 2,000 people how they felt about going into local businesses. Nearly one in five (19 per cent) admitted to not being very confident about hygiene measures while a quarter (26 per cent) are not confident about social distancing in these premises. 

David Taylor-Smith, CEO of phs Group, commented: “While the strictest period of lockdown is over, the phs Index demonstrates there is a long way to go until organisations fully recover. 


david taylor-smith

Picture: a photograph of David Taylor-Smith

“Even though we’re seeing reasonably high reopen rates for organisations, the real story is that people – staff, visitors and customers – have not yet returned with buildings being 17 per cent quieter overall and 38 per cent quieter in London. 

“It remains to be seen how many more people will return in the coming months as the pandemic and risk of future local lockdown plays out. In the interim, the only solution for organisations is to instil indisputable staff and consumer confidence in their premises, reassuring people that everything is being done to ensure their premises is as safe as possible.”

Picture: a phs operative in uniform carrying two sanitary waste bins

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 28 September 2020


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