One approach to beginning a Green cleaning program that can prove very successful is referred to as “the three-Green-buckets approach to Greening.” The buckets help organize the Greening process, make sure all items involved with Green cleaning are dealt with in an orderly manner, and determine what should be accomplished when.
The gist of the approach involves:
- First bucket. In most cases, the first bucket will contain items that can easily be instituted now at very little or no additional cost, but still have a significant benefit. A good example of this would be the transfer to healthier Green Cleaning products and systems. In most cases, Green Cleaning chemicals cost about the same as conventional cleaning chemicals and Green Cleaning equipment, such as vacuum cleaners, extractors, and floor machines, tend to be of higher quality so cost of ownership is less than conventional equipment.
- Second bucket. This would involve items that do cost some money to implement, but can still be quickly and easily implemented and most likely will have a relatively quick return on investment. A good example of this is the transfer to more economical lighting fixtures. The Hebron church referenced earlier saved more than $30,000 by installing more energy-efficient lighting.
- Third bucket. This is where more costly items or items that may take some time to accomplish are placed. For instance, installing a new HVAC system can be costly, financing may need to be arranged, and in some cases, mechanical upgrades to the building may be required to accommodate the new equipment.
Having all of the items placed in the three buckets makes it very clear what has to be accomplished to Green the facility and presents it in an orderly manner so that decision making is much easier. There is no rule saying the ‘first bucket’ items must be attended to first. In some cases, attending to the more costly or involved ‘third bucket’ items first make the most sense and have the greatest environmental and financial returns. However, what is important is that all items in all three buckets are attended to over time.
For more information on Green cleaning and how to implement a Green cleaning program, visit The Ashkin Group.