Everything that we, as human beings, do has an impact on the environment. Whether for better or worse, even the length of our showers and the makeup of our day-to-day diets can change the future of the Earth. Naturally, commercial cleaning also has an impact on the environment. When you’re cleaning several thousand square feet on a frequent schedule, you’re using up a lot of paper material, harsh chemicals, and energy.
Green cleaning solutions can mitigate many of the negative impacts of commercial cleaning and can help your company achieve its mission of becoming more environmentally friendly.
Releases Volatile Organic Compounds
Have you heard of volatile organic compounds or VOC’s? These compounds are emitted as gas from certain solids or liquids. They can come from paints, varnish, bleach, ammonia, and the wide variety of harsh chemicals used in commercial cleaning. VOCs contribute to poor indoor air quality and can cause respiratory issues. Respiratory issues are the least of your worries when exposed to high levels of VOCs. They can also damage the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system.
Green cleaning solutions help prevent the release of VOCs by using fewer harsh chemicals and only applying EPA-approved cleaning solutions. The Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a list of cleaners that are environmentally-friendly and not as toxic as some of the cleaners that contain VOCs. The best green cleaning solutions only use approved chemicals from that list.
Low-Efficiency Cleaning Equipment Uses Energy
When was the last time the cleaning equipment in your building was updated? If your cleaning company’s equipment looks like it’s from the 80s, then you could be raising more than just your energy bill. Outdated cleaning equipment uses more energy, which most likely comes from non-renewable sources such as coal or oil. If your building runs on all solar or wind power, then the amount of energy used by cleaning equipment won’t have as much of an impact on the environment. But, until you reach that level, the more energy you use the more of a negative environmental impact you have.
One green cleaning solution is to use high-efficiency equipment. This doesn’t just conserve energy, but also conserves water which reduces your utility costs and environmental strain. Best of all, most green cleaners opt to try for a “dry” solution first, thereby saving even more water. As a Green Seal-certified company, we use green equipment approved by the Green Seal organization.
Non-Reusable Cleaning Materials Add to Landfills
Recently there’s been an uproar regarding the constant use of non-biodegradable plastic straws in restaurants and homes. The backlash was so large that Starbucks even changed its lid. Plastic has so contaminated the Earth that all of our seafood now has at least a small amount of plastic in their system.
Commercial cleaning uses both paper and plastic materials to clean buildings. These non-reusable materials contribute to the build-up of plastic in the Earth’s oceans and the shortened lifespan of the planet. When you use green cleaning solutions, as many reusable materials are used as possible. For example, instead of paper mop heads that are thrown out after one use, microfiber rags are used and then washed to be used again. Paper towels are replaced with washable rags.
Chemical Exposure Leads to Ill Health
As discussed earlier, exposure to volatile organic compounds can lead to kidney, central nervous system, and respiratory issues. But VOCs aren’t the only thing you need to worry about with traditional cleaning methods.
When using harsh chemicals, such as bleach, cleaning staff are susceptible to injuries related to chemical exposure, including burns and rashes. If you find that your employees are using up all of their sick days year after year, look at the chemicals used when cleaning your building. They could be causing the problem.
Products used in green cleaning solutions can save your company thousands of dollars in lost productivity when employees are home sick. The better your indoor air quality, the better the health of your employees and the better your company can perform.
Harsh Chemicals Reduce Lifetime of Office Materials
When using harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia on your office carpets, you may notice a distinct difference in quality after the cleaning. It may look cleaner, but just a few days later, it will look dirty all over again. The harsh chemicals used in traditional cleaning methods actually deteriorate the fibers in your office carpets. This means that they’ll start to look dirty again faster as the fibers break down, shed “fluff” and generally trap more dirt.
Over many months of frequent cleaning with harsh chemicals, you’ll wind up having to replace your carpets sooner than expected. As they break down, they don’t retain their attractiveness for as long as they would have otherwise. Green cleaning solutions use only non-destructive chemicals that won’t break down your carpet and will extend the lifespan of your office materials, not shorten it.
Green Cleaning is the New Commercial Cleaning
Green cleaning solutions are paramount to providing a healthy office environment for your employees and creating an environmentally-friendly company. If you’re struggling with increased employee sick days, unattractive carpets, or are worried about your company’s impact on the environment, try switching to green cleaning.
The Wilburn Company focuses on environmentally-friendly commercial cleaning – cleaning for health is our primary focus. All of our cleaning staff are trained using GS-42 standards and encouraged to use environmentally conscious policies that our leaders support.
If you’re ready to make a change for the better, learn more about our green cleaning solutions here.