When you’re looking for a commercial cleaning service, you may see companies advertising themselves as “green”, or offering “green cleaning.” Or if you have an in-house custodial staff, you may be wondering if pursuing green certification is right for you. At RJC, we are Green Seal GS-42 certified – green cleaning is at the heart of our business. But what is green cleaning, really, and why should you be concerned about it?
It’s not just cleaning products
At RJC, we do use only environmentally friendly cleaning products, displaying the EPA approved Design for the Environment logo. But green cleaning goes far beyond simply replacing standard chemicals with more eco-friendly alternatives. Green cleaning means taking into account every area where cleaning could impact the environment, and taking steps to minimize any negative impact.
Green cleaning requires an advance plan for cleaning every area of a building. As part of this plan, any cleaning that could be disruptive to people living or working in a building is scheduled for times of low traffic.
Plans are also required for minimizing the waste of cleaning products and tools. When products or tools are used up or worn out, plans must be in place for environmentally friendly disposal or recycling.
Finally, a green cleaning company must have plans in place to track the inventory, use, and disposal of all cleaning products and tools.
For truly green cleaning, extra training is required for staff and supervisors. This training is completed with a priority on safety and compliance. Safety of cleaning staff, as well as building occupants, is the number one priority. Cleaning staff compliance with advance plans, and green-specific cleaning methods is equally important.
The extra planning and training involved in green cleaning can improve the efficiency of a cleaning operation. As one example, creating a green cleaning plan for a building includes the recommended use of walk-off mats at all entrances, minimizing the amount of dirt that enters a building in the first place. The extra training in best practices for cleaning staff enhances their work efficiency, as well.
It’s not just about the earth
While greener cleaning solutions and reduced waste have a positive impact on your building’s environmental footprint, green cleaning isn’t just about the earth – green cleaning is good for people, too. While standard cleaning chemicals may be effective at removing soil and sanitizing surfaces, they often have a negative impact on air quality. In addition, they can leave irritating residues on surfaces.
Green cleaning improves air quality over standard cleaning in two ways: by using safer cleaning solutions, and by reducing the amount of cleaning solutions that end up in the air. The green certified cleaning solutions have fewer volatile or noxious chemicals in them. In addition, green cleaning standards mandate applications that are less likely to introduce these solutions into the air. Spray bottles instead of aerosol cans, and mopping solutions onto floors instead of spraying them, are two ways that green cleaning reduces the air pollution from cleaning.
It could improve your bottom line
In addition to positive environmental and health benefits, green cleaning could have one more surprising benefit that is of interest to business owners everywhere – it could improve your bottom line.
If you hire a cleaning service, the improved air quality can lead to fewer sick days, and higher morale among your employees or building occupants. In addition, green cleaning methods may be gentler on your physical plant, leading to lower maintenance costs overall.
If you have an in-house custodial staff, green cleaning operations can lead to a higher level of professionalism, increased retention, and reduced injuries among your staff.
It just makes sense
Whether you do your cleaning in-house, or are looking to hire a cleaning service, green cleaning is worth it. As a holistic approach to cleaning that aims to reduce waste and environmental impact, green cleaning is safer for the earth, for the people in your building, and maybe even for your profits. Contact us for more information.