The Principles Of Green Cleaning: Why ‘go’ eco friendly or environmentally friendly and how to ‘go’ green?

The Principles Of Green Cleaning: Why ‘go’ eco friendly or environmentally friendly and how to ‘go’ green?

In this modern age of environmental awareness and the sustainability of our resources, our energy consumption, the risks we take and the waste we generate, we need to understand these terms and see how they relate to cleaning. In 1987, the UN Commission on Environmental and Development (often referred to as the Bruntland Commission) noted that economic development could lead to adverse effects in the quality of people’s lives. This lead to the now popular catchall definition of ‘sustainable development’:

‘Development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’

During this time governmental and non-governmental organisations were encouraging industries to review their manufacturing processes, in the effort to reduce pollution, the use of hazardous substances and to reduce energy consumption. If we wind the clock forward to more recent times, we find that these aims have spread to every part of our business and personal lives. All businesses are now encouraged and mandated by law to minimise our environmental impact and practice the principles of sustainable development, and that means identifying and rectifying sources of pollution, process inefficiencies and minimising wastes.

How does this relate to cleaning? Well, cleaning is often looked as a necessary (for hygiene and aesthetic reasons) but a task divorced from the main business employed. There are exceptions where cleaning forms a crucial part of the main manufacturing process and without it the process would quickly fall apart. But cleaning is a process and a system like any other employed in industry and thus sustainability and environmental impact must be addressed. To do this we need to set out a series of guiding principles, based on scientific research and analysis, that ultimately creates a competitive advantage. It is, therefore, helpful to look at Green Cleaning as a reduction process.

The principles of green cleaning are:

  1. Minimisation of waste – Cleaning products and Equipment and waste water
  2. Efficient usage and employment of cleaning materials
  3. Efficient usage of energy in the cleaning process
  4. Minimisation of risks and hazards to humans, environment and surface materials
  5. Reduction of costs – Direct and indirect costs

The diagram below summarises green cleaning as a reduction process

green-cleaning-chart

By looking at the principles of green cleaning as a reduction process, it should be evident that each of these five points could lead to cost reduction. However, a common mistake made is in assessing each of these points in isolation, without fully assessing the repercussions or the impact on the other points.

The advantages to businesses, that is not just businesses in the cleaning industry, not least will be a good public image and public relations, but clearly a drive for greater efficiency, waste and energy reduction and improved health and safety.

Futureclean assured systems are green cleaning consultants and can advise on all aspects of green cleaning including green cleaning products and the proper use of energy efficient cleaning equipment.

Rafael Cobos
rafcobos@futurecleansystems.com