Astute individuals, businesses and government agencies know that clean plus green equals good. More than just a trend, implementing a green cleaning programme is now recognised as a wise business move. The much touted benefits of creating a healthier workplace include increased productivity and reduced costs. Green cleaning has also become a key component in obtaining certification against the environmental standard ISO14001.
If you understand the advantages of green cleaning and have decided to implement a programme, how do you go about choosing the right one? What elements separate superior green cleaning plans from the rest? Below are some features to carefully consider when evaluating a programme prior to implementation.
1. A Holistic Approach
When it comes to maintaining a healthy facility, all areas – from entranceways to toilet areas to HVAC systems – affect the indoor environment. In choosing a green cleaning programme, make sure that the provider looks at your building holistically, considering the building’s purpose and uses.
Because entranceways serve as gateways for pollutants entering the building, a good programme will begin there. While traditional cleaning methods attempt to control this dirt after it enters and spreads throughout the building, effective green cleaning focuses on trapping and removing contaminants at this point of entry. Cleaning chemicals, processes and equipment, ventilation systems, waste removal, and even occupant habits are other areas that a holistic green cleaning programme will address.
2. A Beyond-the-Surface Focus
The primary intent of most cleaning programs is to leave surfaces looking spotless and dirt free. Green cleaning programs should go far beyond this, however. Dirt, bacteria, mould and other pollutants may not be seen, but they can certainly affect the indoor air quality. Green cleaning programmes aim to remove harmful particles from the air, not add to the problem by using harsh chemicals.
Although it may be difficult to judge how well a green cleaning programme has removed unseen particles, you can ask about equipment used to make sure that it is efficient and well maintained. Steps that facility maintenance providers can take to demonstrate a beyond-the-surface focus include emptying vacuum bags when half full and the use of Hepa filters to reduce particulate emissions into the work atmosphere. Even something as simple as a dusting cloth can make a difference: A microfibre cloth captures dust, rather than just moving it around. These small measures ensure that the equipment and processes contribute to, rather than counteract, the effectiveness of your programme.
3. Products and Services Offered
The products used in green cleaning play a vital role in the programme’s success. Products should qualify for third-party certification by organisations such as Green Seal. Unlike traditional cleaning products, these certified chemicals and equipment are designed to work effectively, while minimising environmental impact and decreasing risks to health and safety. Here at Newlife HQ we both minimise water usage and avoid the use of harsh acidic products when cleaning urinals by the use of microbiological toilet blocks. (Refer to earlier Blogs to determine the water and financial savings possible which are most attract to heavy users such as hotels, schools and colleges)
4. Knowledgeable Employees
Employees who will be designing and implementing your green cleaning programme must understand the objectives of green cleaning, as well as their own role in the process. Cleaning staff should know each product’s designated use, green cleaning processes and equipment maintenance procedures. Regular inspections and quality control programs ensure that employees’ work meets high standards. The best facilities maintenance providers also continually train their employees on the best practices in green cleaning.
5. Educational and Communication Programmes
A truly professional green cleaning provider goes beyond the tactical implementation of cleaning strategies to become your partner in creating a healthier environment. Most successful programmes include regular communications so that building occupants and facility stakeholders understand the importance of green cleaning and what they can do to make a difference. For example, improper care of live plants can increase contamination levels and require strong pesticides that counteract the green cleaning programme. When occupants know of such risks, they can become a true part of the green cleaning process.
Small actions, including minimising clutter and eating only in designated areas, can go a long way in ensuring a healthy environment. Facility users and tenants should also know whom to contact and how to react to a spill or contamination. The faster such situations are dealt with, the less harm they do to your facility.
Communicating your green programme to the community and building occupants helps you reap the benefits of being a socially conscience facility or business. You will attract the growing numbers of people who care about protecting the earth’s resources and improving indoor air quality.
These five features of effective green cleaning programs may apply to your facility in different ways. Each facility has unique goals, and each maintenance provider will bring its own set of expertise to a project. The provider you choose should recognise your goals and offer customised services and products that ensure your programme’s success.