Sustainable practices and products continue to grow in popularity.
Many industries are working to adapt to this new market force and the cleaning industry is no different: green cleaning is an excellent way for companies to foster a sense of environmental wellbeing and stewardship, but not at the expense of their bottom line.
Green cleaning seeks to provide a safer, but equally as effective, alternative to the toxic chemicals often used in traditional cleaning supplies. This allows green cleaning to offer many environmental, financial, and health benefits to producers and consumers alike.
Environmental and Health Benefits of Green Cleaning
Green cleaning is much more environmentally friendly than older and more traditional methods. Creating a sustainable cleaning program is also part of the culture of corporate responsibility. Many of the most talented employees and productive workers want to work for companies that care about the environment in tangible ways, like green cleaning programs.
Fresher environment: non-green cleaning products can release corrosive and harmful chemicals that not only contribute to the depletion of the ozone, but can also contaminate our groundwater and food sources. Additionally, many green cleaning products are the result of more sustainable production processes in general, so they are responsible for fewer greenhouse gas emissions and often come packaged in recyclable or biodegradable containers.
Healthier environment: by using more natural ingredients, green cleaning products limits our interactions with toxic chemicals that could have disastrous consequences for our health. For example, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that the use of household cleaning sprays can be an important risk factor in adult asthma an
Happier environment: as the health and environmental quality of a space increases, so, too, does the happiness of those who use it the most.
Financial Benefits of Green Cleaning
Using a green cleaning protocol is not an impulse that must stem solely from altruistic roots, as it also brings distinct financial advantages. Sustainable cleaning programs can save time and money in a variety of ways: from lower shipping costs to less waste.
Green cleaning uses fewer supplies than other cleaning protocols, which means saving money on inventory.
Green cleaning relies on more than limiting exposure to chemicals; it utilizes an entirely different cleaning mentality that values efficiency, innovation, and practicality. This, coupled with the lack of harmful chemicals, not only yields better workplaces and environments, but also happier and healthier workers. All of these factors help save money in the long run.
Using or offering green cleaning allows a business to distinguish itself from competitors and to widen its potential market appeal.
Green Cleaning Practices
While green cleaning may have initially begun as a movement to reduce exposure to, and emissions of, potentially toxic chemicals, it has come to be much more than that. Green cleaning is now a much more extensive and holistic cleaning methodology. Developing sustainable, green cleaning programs has gone beyond the removal of harsh chemicals to sustainable cleaning practices, equipment, and methods that improve the health of staff, building occupants, and the environment.
A successful green cleaning program will be the result of:
Effective training: green cleaning relies as much on efficiency, innovation, and time management, as it does on proper application of the cleaning solutions. Thus, all aspects of this should be covered during a thorough training period.
Access to adequate resources and efficient equipment: as with any worthwhile cleaning method, green cleaning physically removes dirt and also disinfects the surface. The first is generally accomplished through sheer brawn and the second is often the result of carefully adjusting the pH of the cleaning solution to more easily clean and disinfect the surface.
Consistent application of the industry’s best practices: a comprehensive understanding of green cleaning and access to the necessary resources will allow those who practice green cleaning to evolve with the industry, market, and environment.
With these components in place, the ample financial, environmental, and health benefits green cleaning provides may be fully realized and drastically reduce the negative ecological impacts the cleaning industry has been responsible for in the past.
The Potential of Green Cleaning
Clearly, the benefits of green cleaning are vast and varied and they seem set to continue to expand. Demand for green cleaning will continue to expand, especially considering that for a building to become LEED certified and be officially recognized as “green,” it must use green cleaning practices.
Additionally, studies indicate using green cleaning methods in schools reduces absenteeism and can help improve academic performance, and using it in hospitals can help protect already vulnerable populations from further health complications.
As green cleaning is poised to become a much more widespread and frequently adopted process, the potential for the industry to expand, evolve, and positively impact the world is boundless. Creating a sustainable green cleaning practice is the first step toward taking advantage of this movement.
However, some may try to take advantage of this opportunity by seeking to market traditional services or products as “green.” Luckily, Green Seal, an independent, nonprofit organization, is an excellent resource to use to avoid being duped.
Green Seal not only maintains a list of manufactures and products that use more sustainable methods of development and production, but companies can receive a Green Seal certification, which ensures they are being held to higher standards.
Green Seal offers certification for green cleaning services. As the green cleaning industry continues to expand, those certifications are sure to increase, marking a positive change in our world’s development.
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