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Environmentally Friendly Corporate Events: Ryan's Cleaning Q&A

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The Green Awards 2020 acknowledge the most sustainable businesses in Ireland that are leading a greener future.

As part of Cpl's upcoming sponsorship of the Sustainability Team of the Year, we interviewed the nominees about how sustainability influences their business.

Ryans Cleaning is an event, corporate and venue cleaning service operating across Ireland and the UK. With clients including Electric Picnic, MCD and Taste of Dublin, Ryan's has experience in delivering quality in an environmentally responsible way.

We interviewed Elaine Ryan, Financial Controller at Ryan's Cleaning about how sustainability is embedded in their business and how to reduce the environmental impact of corporate events.

How do you find the drive on sustainability is impacting your industry?

Sustainability is something that we have been pushing with our clients for the past 10 years.

We understand that waste disposable by its nature, requires natural resources and generates emissions. We are constantly looking for better processes to improve the overall sustainability of the events we work on and reduce our environmental impact.

Can you give some examples of the sustainability practices you have adopted in your organisation?

Through our collaboration with Festival Republic for Electric Picnic, we have already achieved our target of zero waste to landfill. We are also on our way to achieving the 50% materials recovery rate by 2030. Some of the measures taken to achieve this include:

  • A three-bin recycling system was implemented with clear labelling for mixed recycling, compostable and general waste. This ensures we keep recyclable materials clean so that they remain valid.
  • Glass bins for decanting
  • Food waste bins
  • Dedicated cardboard collections and bailing on-site
  • Dedicated skips for timber and metal
  • Reducing single-use plastics

Working closely with each of our clients ensures we can align our sustainability goals. People are becoming much more conscious of their environmental impact. By providing the resources at events to enable attendees to recycle is imperative.

We are always researching new ways to recycle materials and recover more energy from waste or its by-products.

You've been nominated for Sustainability Team of the Year at the 2020 Green Awards. How has your team worked together to make your organisation a more sustainable place work?

In 2019, we worked to eliminate single use plastic water bottles on our event sites. We worked in conjunction with the festival to ensure adequate water points were available to staff. We also purchased reusable water containers for all staff.

Has your increased focus on sustainability changed your hiring processes? Are there new specialised roles/functions now needed to drive your sustainability goals?

Yes, we are currently recruiting for another manager in this field to meet the demands of the business.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give companies in your industry who are trying to become more sustainable?

The first piece of advice would be to fully understand the steps involved in the waste hierarchy.

Also, examine your own internal processes to eliminate waste and promote recovery.

Lastly, engage with your stakeholders from your staff to your clients as without them, you will not succeed.

How important are the people you hire and those in leadership in creating a sustainable company?

For sustainability to become inherent in your business, the policy needs to be communicated at all levels throughout the company.

We created an implementation team to spearhead the internal changes required and it is 100% backed by the senior management team.

Have you experienced any hesitations from within your business on become more sustainable, how have your overcome these?

Yes, mostly around the education piece. Stakeholders are often not aware of the work that happens in the background and make an assumption based on what is in the media. There is a lot of greenwashing.

We have counteracted this by providing easier to understand, statistical information to our stakeholders. This is also backed by a management system that is externally accredited to 4 ISO standards including ISO20121. This standard guides us on how to reduce the environmental impact on all our events.

What do you see as the top sustainable working trends for your business in 2020?

Greater segregation of waste at the source.

Elaine Ryan is the Financial Controller of Ryan's Cleaning Events Specialists Ltd. The winner of the Sustainability Team of the Year will be announced at an event in the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road on Tuesday 25th February. Visit:

At Cpl, we too want to transform our clients' businesses while positively impacting the communities we work in and the people we work with. View our Responsible Business Document to learn more about our sustainability policy. For more information on hiring trends and your talent needs, get in touch.