‘Green’ is THE buzzword these days. Everything is about sustainability and eco-friendliness. Businesses that want to capitalise on this sometimes label their practice and/or products as ‘green’. But for someone genuinely looking to source sustainable, environmentally friendly services and/or products, ‘green’ can be a minefield.
It helps to understand what green really means, and with cleaning services and products that can be a challenge.
The difference between domestic and commercial ‘green’ products
Doing a search online for green cleaning products will turn up lots of old style, non-chemical solutions. There are countless bloggers out there putting up recipes for furniture polish made from olive oil and lemon juice, kitchen cleaners using bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, and other similar cleaning solutions made from common household items.
Many of them are highly effective in a domestic situation. On that small scale they can and do provide people seeking to avoid using chemicals in their homes with easy and cost effective options.
However, they’re not practical or effective on an industrial scale, so for people seeking commercial cleaning services with green options, there’s some research to be done.
‘Green’ is more than just a product description
‘Green’ doesn’t just refer to products. Here are some things to ask when you talk with commercial cleaning representatives about their green practices:
- What products do they use? There may be a mix of traditional cleaning products, but there may also be some that are no so familiar, so check out exactly what they are.
- How are those cleaning products manufactured, packaged and distributed? The carbon footprint of the products used can contribute towards a company’s green certification, even if they are the sorts of products that are traditionally used for cleaning. For instance, concentrated products use smaller packaging, which lowers the overall footprint of the product, potentially improving its environmental impact.
- Does the company try to use products that contain fewer VOCs? VOCs – volatile organic compounds – are substances that can cause allergic reactions, respiratory and dermatological issues. Some cleaning products contain more than others, so a green company would hopefully select those at the lowest end of the spectrum.
- What type of vacuum cleaners does the company use? HEPA filter vacuum cleaners remove 90% of potentially harmful airborne particles, microscopic particles and allergens. They decrease the amount of dust in the air, due to their suction capacity, have lower noise emissions, lower energy usage, and can improve air quality.
- What type of mops and cleaning cloths does the company use? Cleaning cloths and mops can be the biggest carriers of microbes that cause cross contamination when used in multiple areas. Green companies typically opt for microfiber cleaning cloths and flat mops with changeable microfiber heads that are colour coded for different zones in a site. They are changed frequently, and considerable effort goes into minimising cross contamination.
When you are looking for commercial cleaning services in Sydney, and your focus is on sourcing a clean company, you should make a check list of questions that address these issues and be prepared to ask question.
Reputable companies striving to meet the highest green practices will have no hesitation answering them, and should be at pains to reassure you as to the integrity of their practice.