In recent years, sustainability has become a hot topic for consumers, especially those in younger generations. To put it simply, businesses everywhere can expect more customers when they pursue greener practices. This phenomenon holds true for cleaning services, so companies should quickly adjust to the growing demand for cleaner, greener products and methods. If customers and clients know you’re using sustainable cleaning practices in your offices and warehouses, they’ll likely be more inclined to do business with you.
Here’s an in-depth look at how to clean more sustainably as a business.
The Trend Toward Sustainable Cleaning
While some elements of sustainable cleaning have existed for many years, they’re not always a part of mainstream standards, especially in the commercial cleaning industry. However, that’s rapidly changing, as sustainable cleaning practices are considered one of the most popular trends, leading to big changes. This trend is largely driven by consumer awareness of sustainable issues and a strong desire to have a smaller environmental footprint.
Essentially, customers and clients alike are more interested in green products and services these days. But aside from bringing in more money for businesses, sustainable solutions can also save them money. That’s especially true when it comes to cleaning. These methods provide tremendous benefits for the planet, all while reducing cleaning costs by using reusable materials, recycling containers and much more.
It doesn’t seem like the trend of sustainable cleaning is slowing down, so it’s the perfect time for your business to jump in.
What Does Sustainable Cleaning Look Like?
What is sustainable cleaning? These cleaning processes can be a huge part of a larger sustainability plan for any office or place of business. The idea of sustainability means preserving resources to reduce waste and emissions. It also has to do with reducing contamination and pollution. For cleaning, eco-friendliness requires you to use products that create minimal waste and don’t harm the planet or humans.
For comparison, older, more conventional commercial cleaning products use many harmful chemicals that contribute to air and water pollution. Plus, practices require disposable resources like plastic bottles, paper towels and water that contribute to waste. Essentially, sustainable office cleaning eliminates all of that.
How to Clean More Sustainably
Sustainable cleaning can involve different products and methods. The bottom line is that it comes down to the conservation of resources and supplies and doesn’t harm the environment. Let’s take a closer look at some of the options for sustainable cleaning best practices.
For all sorts of cleaning tasks, paper towels have been the norm for quite a while. While they’re effective, paper towels are a single-use item and are incredibly wasteful. One of the best alternatives to paper towels for cleaning is microfiber towels. These cleaning cloths are made up of very small fibers from a blend of synthetic materials, including polyester, nylon or polyamide. They’re incredibly strong and lightweight and the nature of the small fibers make it easier to pick up dust, dirt and grime.
Microfiber cloths work for both wet and dry applications, making them a versatile option. They’re also easy to wash, meaning you can use them over and over again without creating excess waste. Microfiber cloths also dry out quickly and are resistant to bacterial growth. Additionally, because they’re washable and long-lasting, you won’t need to buy replacements for a long time. In a financial sense, they’re a huge cost-saving measure over disposable paper towels.
Recycled Paper Products
While microfiber cloths are a more environmentally friendly alternative to paper towels, there may be certain jobs that still require the use of disposable paper products. For these jobs, you can lessen your impact by purchasing paper towels and other disposable paper products made from recycled materials. Doing so utilizes recycled paper instead of cutting down more trees to make new paper. While using recycled paper towels still creates waste, it’s a much better option than conventional paper products made from new wood materials.
Refillable Cleaning Bottles
Commercial cleaning generally requires a number of different bottles of cleaning solutions, including dusting solutions, window cleaners, floor cleaning solutions, disinfectants, all-purpose cleaners and more. Constantly buying individual bottles of each of these solutions can get expensive quickly and wastes plastic and water. However, having a filling station with bulk cleaning solutions and using refillable bottles can save on resources and create far less waste.
Rather than buying individual bottles of products for each cleaning session, bulk containers give cleaners a simple way to access the solutions they need. Cleaners access the filling station when they need more of the cleaning solution. When these bulk cleaning products run out, simply buy again in bulk. This strategy costs less financially and waste-wise, helping the planet and the business in question.
Green Cleaning Solutions
One of the biggest concerns for sustainability and environmentalism in the commercial cleaning industry is the use of harsh chemical cleaning solutions. Many conventional cleaning solutions come from petroleum products and contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These substances aren’t sustainable long-term to produce, and their manufacture and disposal contribute to air and water pollution, groundwater contamination, ozone depletion and more.
In addition to the environmental concerns, harsh cleaning chemicals are a health hazard, irritating the skin and eyes, causing respiratory damage and contributing to other long-lasting health issues. Eliminating these chemicals helps to protect your employees, clients and anyone else who uses your building. Luckily, there are a plethora of green cleaning products on the market made from more natural materials. These solutions clean just as well as their harmful counterparts, but without all the negative consequences.
Paper towels used for hand drying in restrooms and other hand washing stations are wasteful. Even with washable hand towels, you need water, laundry products and electricity to wash and dry them frequently. Electric hand dryers are generally regarded as the most environmentally friendly way to dry hands after washing.
Hand dryers use little electricity to operate, meaning they’re one of the most cost-effective solutions, too. Once you install the machines, there’s no need to purchase extra supplies, unlike the constant ordering of hand towels and paper towels. As a result, you have a low-energy, low-cost, environmentally friendly way for everyone using your restrooms to dry their hands.
In commercial cleaning, one of the biggest problems is dealing with the massive amount of waste. Cleaning processes generate plenty of their own waste, but the cleaning companies are often the ones dealing with all the waste material for a building or business they serve, too. Handling waste management for a commercial property in a sustainable way can make a difference in terms of environmentalism.
The EPA has some guidelines and helpful resources for managing waste for commercial buildings, and it includes reducing, reusing, recycling and plenty of other specific ideas. One of the most important things a business or office building can do is to have clearly marked recycling bins widely available on the property so it’s easy for employees, guests and clients to consistently and properly recycle. Signage and other information about what materials are recyclable are also good ideas.
For a commercial cleanup crew, ensuring they handle recycling and trash properly is important. Reducing waste products from cleaning goes a long way towards the building’s overall waste management, too. Another simple contribution from cleaning crews is reducing the amount of plastic garbage bags they use. For waste receptacles that mostly handle paper products, plastic bags can sometimes be avoided altogether. For other receptacles, if the trash isn’t full, workers can dump the garbage into a larger bin, saving the plastic liner for next time.
Water usage is huge for the cleaning industry, as various cleaning methods use up a lot of water, ultimately having a large impact on the environment. To make commercial cleaning better in terms of water conservation, it often comes down to the cleaning supplies and products workers use. From the cleaning cloths to the vacuums, mops, floor cleaners and more, certain equipment and supplies simply use less water.
Carpet cleaners called heated extractors are one example. They use heat to enhance the effectiveness of the cleaning chemicals, requiring far less water than other types of carpet cleaning machines. Other carpet cleaning machines can recycle the water in the system, needing far less water overall to operate.
Mopping floors is usually a large part of a commercial cleaning crew’s duties, and the old-fashioned string mop with a bucket of water uses up a lot of water, especially for a larger commercial building. Flat mop systems are a good way to get around this issue and effectively clean hard flooring without numerous buckets of water. Another simple fix for mopping is to simply use less water in the buckets.
Another way to save water is by switching the types of cleaning products you use. Cleaners can purchase many products in highly concentrated solutions, saving water and bulk transportation costs. Auto-dilution stations for cleaning teams can give precise amounts of cleaning chemicals, blended with just the right amount of water needed. Some even use compressed air to make the solutions foamier without extra water. This concept also eliminates any guesswork and excess water usage from hand-mixing cleaning solutions.
Benefits of Sustainable Cleaning
Switching to sustainable cleaning methods for your business is straightforward when you adopt the right practices. When you pursue the methods listed above, your business and the planet can enjoy numerous benefits. Here are some of the main advantages of adopting more sustainable commercial cleaning methods:
More Environmentally Friendly
The top benefit, and the main point, of switching to more sustainable cleaning is the environment. More conventional cleaning products and methods are damaging to the air, soil and water of the surrounding areas. Excessive product usage creates more landfill waste and depletes natural resources. Harsh, or even dangerous, chemicals leach into the ground, contaminating soil and water, and endangering plant and animal life.
However, employing practices and products that are more eco-friendly alleviates much of this environmental burden. Any business or office can have a much smaller environmental footprint by implementing more sustainable cleaning practices. Fewer chemicals are released into the environment and less waste ends up in landfills.
Better Health for Employees, Clients and Customers
Constant exposure to dangerous cleaning chemicals can be incredibly damaging to a person’s health. Conventional cleaning solutions can be very irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory system and contribute to long-term health issues. When an office or business uses more sustainable cleaning practices, it shows they care about their cleaning crew’s health and the employees, clients, customers and others who use the facility.
These substances can linger in the workplace long after the cleaning work ends, possibly leading to health issues for everyone else in the building. A healthier working environment benefits everyone. Business owners should also remember that healthier employees mean less downtime and sick days and better productivity.
Increased Cost-Saving Measures
It’s a common misconception that green cleaning practices are more expensive. In fact, often the opposite is true. Sustainable cleaning practices usually use reusable products that reduce waste and eliminate the need to keep buying disposable supplies. Some changes may have a higher up-front cost, such as switching out cleaning machinery or changing to a refillable cleaning solution station, but these moves should all have great cost savings in the long term.
These switches can also happen over time when it’d naturally be time to replace the equipment anyways. Most other sustainable cleaning practices are comparable to, if not less expensive, than their more conventional counterparts. As a result, businesses have a chance to save money they can put toward other aspects of their operations.
Sustainable Cleaning With Shine Facility Services
If you’re looking for sustainable cleaning for businesses in the San Francisco Bay area, Shine Facility Services has you covered. Our professional cleaning team offers high-quality cleaning services for offices, businesses and other commercial buildings. When you work with Shine, you get the best professional cleaning and benefit from our sustainable cleaning practices. We proudly use eco-friendly cleaning supplies that are safe for human health and the environment. Ultimately, we focus on creating healthy working environments through our cleaning and maintenance services.
You can experience the peace of mind that comes with having all of your cleaning and maintenance needs taken care of by the professionals, with practices that aren’t harmful to the environment or your employees’ health. Contact Shine Facility Services today to find out why we’re the sustainable office cleaning experts. We’re happy to help with all of your janitorial and building management needs.