People spend almost a third of their lives at work, yet many offices and industries haven’t taken important steps to “green” their facilities. That’s a mistake, for two key reasons:
· 1) Research shows that productivity increases when people work in a healthier environment.
· 2) Cleaning green can actually save companies money by reducing waste and materials use as well as the number of sick days employees claim.
Plus, conventional cleaning products can have a negative impact on the environment. Aerosol sprays emit fine particles, contributing to air pollution that can irritate the eyes, skin or lungs. Wastewater flushed down a drain can enter the water system and harm aquatic life. Throwaway cleaning materials, like paper towels and single-use plastic bottles, can create a lot of trash.
But how do you make the transition to green cleaning? GreenFacilities, an environmentally certified cleaning consultancy based in the UK and the underwriters of this article, recommend a process that can work for many kinds of businesses, from retailers to gyms to hospitals and everything in between.
Start with an Audit
Take stock of how your business is currently being cleaned. For example,
· * What chemicals are in the cleaning products that are being used? They may be “standard” to the cleaning industry, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are safe when people are exposed to them repeatedly over time.
· * What machinery is being used? Is it effective at actually pulling dirt and dust out of your indoor environment, rather than simply displacing them? Does it operate as efficiently as possible, using energy and water wisely?
· *How much waste does the cleaning process generate? Do cleaners use throwaway paper towels and one-use plastic bottles, rather than reusable containers and washable cloth?
· * How much time and money are being spent on cleaning currently? Where can you shift spending to greener products and services that will protect the workplace as well as the environment?
Develop a Green Cleaning Plan
Once you have the complete picture, take steps to green every part of the process.
· * Ensure that any chemicals used in your workplace minimize human exposure to toxins and have no negative environmental impacts. Look for certifications from non-profit organizations like Green Seal, which have issued environmental standards for green cleaning products used in offices and industrial settings.
· * Replace old and outdated equipment with newer models that save energy and water and are effective at eliminating dust and dirt.
· * Switch to cleaning cloths, refillable bottles, and any other cleaning accessories that can be reused, rather than thrown away. Determine what can be recycled, and ensure that it is.
Create a Schedule
With new green processes in place, optimize your current cleaning schedule to increase effectiveness while reducing costs. In most cases, the transition from “dirty” to green cleaning should be straightforward and easy to implement in relatively short order. Your employees – and the planet – will thank you!
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