When creating a sustainable Green Cleaning program, one of the first things to focus on is its goals—in other words, the essence of the strategy. While the strategy will likely address a number of issues, among the most important are the following:
- Protecting the health and safety of custodial workers and building users
- Ensuring that training and ongoing custodial education are provided
- Committing to an ongoing effort to improve cleaning worker performance and productivity
- Reducing facility operating costs, not only in cleaning but in all building operations
- Promoting sustainability, again not only in cleaning but in all building operations
- Selecting cleaning products that not only are Green, but are also produced by manufacturers that consider the entire lifecycle of the product from “cradle to grave.”
Implementing the program typically involves building managers, cleaning workers, building users, and importantly, distributors. In fact, distributors play a vital role in ensuring that a sustainable Green Cleaning program meets its Green and sustainability objectives.
One of the first steps when transferring to environmentally preferable cleaning is to analyze what products are currently being used in a facility, which have Greener/more sustainable alternatives, and which can be eliminated entirely. A distributor’s knowledge of Green and sustainable cleaning products can help facilities make wise choices. Many facilities unwarily purchase cleaning solutions that can be used for multiple and similar tasks. In one case, more than 30 cleaning products were reduced to just four environmentally preferable and more sustainable cleaning products after an analysis was completed. Not only was this a cost savings, but it also significantly reduced the waste of materials and resources involved in the entire product chain, from manufacturing and the delivery of these products to disposal.
However, what about the 26 cleaning solutions that were no longer needed? Should they just be disposed of?
No, in a sustainable Green Cleaning program, where waste reduction is an issue, they should be “switched out” (returned to the distributor) for Greener/more sustainable alternatives or used until they are empty and then properly disposed. Understanding that Green Cleaning is a journey, replacing these traditional products immediately or over time is part of moving forward in the journey to becoming Greener and more sustainable.