Sustainability is a buzzword that we have been hearing non-stop for the past few years. Truly aiming for sustainability is more than just a buzzword, though. It is a move towards living in a way that honours the resources of the planet that we all share. It allows us to use those resources responsibly, in a way that means there will be enough resources left for the generations that come after us. Every industry must do its bit. So, let’s take a quick look at commercial cleaning and sustainability.
Clean and Green
In many industries, it is a topic that they have been woefully ignorant of for a long time. This is why it is more important than ever that we find a way to function sustainably as a society. If we want to limit global warming and turn the tables on environmental degradation, we (all of the human beings who share planet Earth) must reduce our carbon emissions by 50 per cent before the year 2030. Furthermore, get them down to Net Zero by 2050.
This responsibility rests on the shoulders of people in every country and in every industry. Some people run automotive repair services, others run retail stores or canning factories, and some people run business cleaning services.
For too long, we have used cleaning products, detergents, bleaches and even cleaning companies that just do not line up with a green agenda, and it is time for a change. Fortunately, many cleaning service owners have read the writing on the wall. They are now adjusting their processes and taking responsibility for their contribution to carbon emissions as well as their contribution to helping fix the problem sustainably.
Green Cleaning Tech
The recent move towards using biodegradable cleaning products and methods is one that is long overdue and necessary. Biological cleaning products are not only safer for the environment but also for us as human beings. In terms of commercial cleaning and sustainability, this tech is a critical development. They reduce air and water pollution instead of contributing to it, like many cleaning products on the market today do.
New technology like Pulse Mops, reusable and washable microfibre mop heads and cloths, use less water to get the same clean. They also cut down on the materials needed to wash them. This is not only good for the environment and the humans doing the cleaning, but it is also an economic improvement to the bottom line of any cleaning company.
Less Waste and Better Waste Management
One crucial aspect of sustainability is moving towards procedures that create less waste and create waste that we are able to deal with in an environmentally friendly way. Cleaning companies that are moving into a sustainable future are adopting a waste hierarchy that you’ve probably heard many times before: reduce, reuse, recycle.
Reducing the number of cleaning products that they have to use and the amount of potentially harmful chemicals contained within those cleaning products is the first step. Next is to try to use only reusable items. This cuts down hugely on waste and cuts down on the company’s bottom line.
Less energy is expended if the company is not part of a cycle of constantly buying new products. Last up is recycling. Many goods are recycled and made into new goods, which keeps the system flowing well, producing new plastics and fabrics down to a minimum and potentially even the cost of the products as low as possible.
Prioritise People Not Profits
This is a challenging one, as any business’s obvious purpose is to carry out its function and make a profit. Unbridled and unregulated capitalism does not recognise the value of the human element in a business. But only the money there is to be made. This is not sustainable at all. Societal sustainability is one pillar of the process that we need to reach overall sustainability.
Earning below minimum wage and working in hazardous conditions (with poor or no protective gear and dangerous chemicals to cut down on the cost to the company) is not a sustainable situation for your employees. The old saying ‘charity starts at home’ seems to fit this situation. A business is not a charity, of course. But any business owner should know that they have to start their sustainability practices in-house first.
On the Road to Sustainability
There are many options for your cleaning company’s fleet these days. For example, Woolworths South Africa have just switched all of their delivery vehicles to solar-powered ones.
Another choice is for these companies to use vehicles that operate on cleaner fuel or even electric vehicles. This is just one of the many parts of a business that, until recently, we really have not given much consideration to. A reasonable outlay to start with will save your business money. More importantly, protect the environment from a whole lot of problems. This is something else that potential employers of cleaning services must keep in mind.
The Journey to Zero
Sustainability has gone from something that ‘might be nice’, to something that we literally will not survive without. If all companies, professional cleaning companies included, do not start their journey to zero waste now, we’ll be out of a home.
Since there is no Planet B, it is up to every one of us to take responsibility for the cleaning companies that we hire. To research their practices and the products that they use to be sure that our money is going to a company that helps to fix the environmental issues that we face instead of contributing to the problem.
Professional cleaning services need to step up and take responsibility. As well as take their place in a sustainable future. This is true for all businesses, but especially ones that make their living by maintaining work and home environments and using potentially harmful solutions to do it. The future of commercial cleaning is green; get on board.