Findings from a 2019 Pew Research Center survey reveal that 62% of Americans said that global climate change was affecting their local community a great deal or some. With the climate crisis becoming increasingly clear, more companies and consumers are doubling down on efforts to protect the planet. The owners and managers of commercial buildings have a responsibility to reduce the impact their facilities have on the environment. One way to accomplish this is to review your cleaning program in detail and identify ways to increase energy, chemical and water savings and reduce waste generation.
Simple Sustainability Swaps Support The Environment
The strategies below are easy changes that you and your team can make to realize big environmental improvements.
Generate solutions on site.
Cleaning programs generate high volumes of packaging waste and this has only increased during the pandemic as facilities disinfect more frequently. Rather than ordering chemicals in plastic bottles to be shipped and delivered to a site, some organizations are realizing the benefits of generating their own cleaning and disinfecting solutions in house that are dispensed into reusable containers. Using salt, electricity and water, on-site generators produce electrochemically-activated solutions (ECAS) that can be used to clean and disinfect numerous surfaces throughout a facility. Not only does this approach greatly reduce plastic waste and packaging costs, but it also eliminates transportation emissions tied to these shipments. In addition to curbing waste and outdoor pollution, ECAS also enhance indoor air quality because they do not contain any volatile organic compounds, fragrances or other irritants like many traditional cleaning chemicals do. Plus, ECAS are extremely effective at upholding cleanliness, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice performance in order to achieve sustainability.
Focus on floor care.
Keeping floors clean typically requires a lot of time and effort. Managing floor care manually can exacerbate the consumption of water and chemicals. Utilizing high-tech equipment like floor scrubbers, whether operated by a team member or robotic, can help reduce the use of these essentials. Look for machines that clean exceptionally with one pass to eliminate the need to reclean floors. Some equipment can even adjust the amount of solution delivered to floors as its speed changes. This can also save water and chemical.
Conduct the majority of cleaning during daytime hours.
Cleaning during daytime hours can help reduce reliance on lighting and HVAC systems at night. Energy for lighting, heating and cooling is about 19% of total expenditures for the typical commercial office building. While some cleaning may need to take place during evening hours, especially after all or most occupants leave a building, find ways for cleaning professionals to conduct high-priority and time-consuming tasks earlier in the day. This will make evening cleaning more efficient and allow facility managers to lower energy use overnight.
Make microfiber a must have.
Using microfiber cleaning cloths to address high-touch surfaces is preferrable to relying on disposable, one-time-use towels that end up in landfills. Microfiber is highly effective at removing germs from surfaces and can be laundered and reused numerous times. Designating certain cloths for use in different areas, like cafeterias and dining areas, restrooms and classrooms can help reduce cross contamination.
A Brighter and Greener Future
While the cleaning process has traditionally been very resource intensive, there is a movement to make it greener. Finding ways to make cleaning more sustainable benefits the environment and our future. And in many cases, implementing greener methods can help commercial facilities reduce costs by limiting waste generation and resource consumption. The above strategies are just a few ideas that facility managers can consider to enhance their organization’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
At GSF USA, we care about clean, our people and the planet. Our Écologique cleaning program is certified by Green Seal® and delivers a high-quality clean while also considering the environment. Contact us to learn more, and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook for the latest company updates.