Professional cleaning has a serious impact not only on human health but on the environment as well. The chemicals used and the processes implemented count for facility managers to make a difference.
Keeping hospitals, office complexes or airports safe and hygienic while taking green considerations into account can put pressure on facility managers. Right from deciding on the products used throughout the process right to recycling and waste management have an impact on human health and sustainability.
Interclean collected the main aspects to watch out for if a business wants to become more sustainable.
Green & clean
Green chemistry aims to reduce the use of hazardous and harmful substances, recycle waste, as well as lower energy consumption. The 12 principles for green chemistry form the basis from the development of green products to the cleaning and hygiene industry itself.
Waste management is a key area when it comes to turning green. It’s great that businesses are working on reducing their waste; however, a more effective method for becoming a zero-waste company would be to prevent it completely – Interclean points out.
Since traditional products are made from raw materials that are derived from oil and other not reusable sources that become waste at the end of the life cycle, the process starts with introducing new chemicals. As sustainable products are composed using reusable materials, at the end of their life cycle these products become technical nutrients rather than waste.
The transition to sustainable products eliminates the need for personal protection and special safety procedures. And because the products do not contain harmful chemicals, they are biodegradable, which makes them harmless to the environment. This is not the case with traditional cleaning products as the chemicals they contain end up in the environment.
Sustainable products are designed to produce energy efficiently throughout their life cycle, as the concentration is higher compared to traditional products. Sustainable laundry products for example no longer need to be rinsed with excessive use of water. This not only saves water but also requires less energy use.
Design to recycle
The disposal of plastic is accompanied by CO2 emissions and because, unfortunately, a majority of the plastic is not (yet) recycled, valuable raw materials are lost. In addition, plastic waste – like the packaging of chemicals – still ends up in the environment. It would add to a green future if the cleaning industry could use packaging at least partially consisting of recycled materials, refillable packaging or water-soluble packaging.
Ecolabelling the difference
Ecolabelling has emerged as an essential way for companies to differentiate between the products. For vendors, ecolabelling will quickly become an almost mandatory route to market for professional cleaning and hygiene solutions – especially when it comes to the area of cleaning chemicals.