As part of a holistic approach to environmental management, it is vital to ensure your office or facility is run sustainably.
With climate change wreaking havoc across the planet, most organisations are increasingly thinking about their environmental footprint. While the focus may be on driving down the environmental impact of manufacturing, service or core business operations, one aspect that should not be overlooked is your offices. As part of a holistic approach to environmental management, it is vital to ensure your office or facility is run sustainably.
Creating a Green Office
Tackling your office’s environmental impact can be done in several ways – whether that’s through the reduction of water wastage, cutting down on heating bills, reducing printing usage or implementing a comprehensive recycling program.
However, one thing that often falls under the radar is your cleaning methods. Hundreds of thousands of litres of chemicals from cleaning products are washed into our oceans, streams, and rivers every year. The fumes from these chemicals also end up in the air we breathe and then find their way inside our bodies. Moreover, the empty bottles that are often made from non-recyclable materials and hazardous chemicals within, can end up as landfill.
If you haven’t already, the time may be the switch to ‘Green Cleaning’ – if you do, the benefits will be greater than you might initially think…
What is Green Cleaning?
Green Cleaning is a phrase cleaning companies often use, but what is it? Is it just using an eco-friendly cleaning spray? Far from it.
Green Cleaning uses products, consumables, equipment and procedures that are safe for the environment and do not emit any pollutants. It is a holistic approach that considers all aspects of the cleaning process from purchase, usage to disposal.
In more detail, Green Cleaning should encompass the following:
- Replacing Harsh Chemicals – many cleaning products are made from toxic chemicals and can also contain fragrances, dyes, or VOCs. These may clean well but are hazardous to those who come into contact with them and may be detrimental to the environment when washed away. Many products claim environmental benefits but do not stack up under scrutiny.In Australia, cleaning products should be independently certified through Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA). GJK uses Agar Green Cleaning products that are GECA-certified across our cleaning operations.Some office cleaning businesses also offer chemical-free alternatives. Science has produced some highly effective zero-chemical solutions, such as Z-Water!
- Equipment to Support Sustainability
Just as chemicals are making floor care processes more sustainable, so are technological advances. Some machines use minimal water and can even convert water into an effective cleaning solution. Many facilities can benefit from AI robotics that reduces resource, water and energy usage.
- Environmentally Sourced Consumables
To avoid generating unnecessary waste it’s important to source sustainable multiuse cleaning items like refillable spray bottles and microfiber cleaning cloths. Consider also recycled toilet paper and paper towels.
Not all cleaning companies have the capability to provide this level of governance. Many claim to provide Green Cleaning, but it is just a ‘greenwashing’ marketing spiel. When researching cleaning service providers for your facility, consider a partner that uses certified products and can prove their Green Cleaning methodologies.
Green Cleaning Benefits for Your Business
First and foremost, Green Cleaning will reduce the environmental footprint of your office. As mentioned, regular cleaning products are filled with toxic chemicals that inevitably get washed down our drains and end up in our rivers, streams and oceans. These then not only kill entire ecosystems in the oceans but also damage the soil, air and waterways, which in turn is responsible for climate change. Furthermore, Green Cleaning uses responsible packaging, meaning less waste-to-landfill.
Switching to Green Cleaning can also help you achieve Green Star building accreditation, which will improve your business reputation. For Green Star-Performance (GSP) and WELL, there are specific criteria for cleaning products, practices, documentation and training. If your cleaning provider adheres to these standards, you can achieve a higher rating. Using cleaning equipment and practices that reduce energy or water consumption and prevent indoor waste could also help you to achieve NABERs rating1.
Green Cleaning is better for the Health and Safety of your employees. Certain cleaning products are filled with toxins that can cause respiratory, skin and eye irritation. Fragrances mask the odours of chemicals, which can also be highly irritating for your employees, causing headaches and loss of productivity.
Contrary to popular belief, Green Cleaning is cost-effective and is comparable in price to regular cleaning. Switching to Green Cleaning may help you save money in the long run by reducing sick days off, increasing your customer’s and employees’ trust in your brand and can be used as a great marketing strategy.
Green Cleaning should form an important part of your business sustainability strategy. A reputable commercial cleaning provider can implement correct Green Cleaning practices at a comparable rate, which will improve sustainability, employee wellbeing and the status of your business. So, what’s stopping you from making the switch?