There is growing evidence showing that green cleaning provides benefits not only to cleaning staff, but also to building occupants. Across the country more building owners are switching to green cleaning products and techniques or are asking that their cleaning service provider use environmentally sound cleaning techniques.
What does green cleaning mean? The federal government's Executive Order # 1301 defines green products as "environmentally preferable" products and services that "have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose."
What are the benefits of a green cleaning program?
* Building owners that adopt overall green building practices can become certified as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building. This certification shows that the building's owner has taken a role as an environmental leader. A cleaning company that can not provide "green" services may soon face strong competition from companies that have taken strides to include environmentally sound practices in their everyday cleaning routines.
* Using environmentally friendly cleaning products is healthier for cleaning staff and building occupants. Studies have shown that building occupants, visitors and janitorial staff experience fewer incidents of skin, eye and respiratory irritation, fewer multiple chemical sensitivities, less severe allergies and decreased headaches and nausea when cleaning contractors use green cleaning products. Healthier employees are happier employees and productivity increases. This also leads to higher employee morale, reduced absenteeism, and higher efficiency.
* Employees and customers are demanding environmentally friendly practices more and more these days. A green cleaning program gives you an edge in marketing your cleaning company.
* Green cleaning helps to improve indoor air quality. Many traditional cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When cleaning, these VOC's are released into the air through evaporation and can affect indoor air quality. The use of traditional cleaning products can also contribute to water pollution. Waste water treatment plants typically remove chemicals found in cleaning products, however, inadequately treated water can contain chemicals that are toxic. Using green products lessens or eliminates the chemicals that need to be treated.
* Besides the health aspects of green cleaning, the process provides benefits to the building. Using green products and practices, such as proper chemical storage, use and disposal, lessens the likelihood of fires, spills and explosions. As the products used are less dangerous, if there is a spill or other incident, there is less risk to janitorial workers and other building staff.
* Green cleaning can give a boost to your profits! Green products have become more competitive with its traditional counterparts. Once you factor in the potential hazards, such as burns from a high alkaline cleaner and loss of productivity, you actually save money by using environmentally safe cleaning products. Using energy efficient equipment, such as vacuum cleaners with hepa filters, and focusing on preventive maintenance, will lower expenses and replacement costs.
If you have not incorporated green cleaning products and techniques into your business, now is the time to start. Projecting a "green image" is good for the environment, good for your employees and good for your bottom line.