Green your business for growth
29 October 2015
Joanne Gilliard, operation director at Jangro, looks at how businesses can implement a green cleaning strategy
Back in the '80s and '90s environmentally friendly products were ‘nice to have’ but now it is imperative that a green offering is included if businesses want to stay ahead of the game.
Adhering to stricter environmental legislation, improvements in energy efficiency, a move away from certain heavy and more polluting types of manufacture and voluntary schemes aiming to reduce environmental impact, can all help reduce your carbon footprint. No single sector is solely responsible for improving the environment, but by working together businesses can certainly make a difference.
What makes a product environmentally friendly?
Jangro uses the Wright Environmental Impact Rating (W.E.I.R) system, which has been designed to help the user take environmental issues into account during the selection process of raw materials, the manufacturing process and packaging. This system allows us to classify products according to their environmental impact and provides a good basis for product development.
Using ingredients that are less harmful, packaging that is not as bulky and carefully considering the journey of the product, from manufacturer to supplier and end-user, will all add to your green credentials.
When choosing products there are four main questions that should be asked:
- What environmental damage does this cause and is there a better way?
- How do I dispose of the chemicals, paper, wipers, sanding pads etc. ecologically?
- Can I recycle the product’s container or, in the case of equipment, component parts?
- What has the product journey been? Has this low impact product been shipped thousands of miles, negating any green credentials on the packaging?
Careful consideration of these points will mean you make smarter decisions based on facts.
Use the right products for the job
One of the most common mistakes made by people buying ‘environmentally friendly’ products is that they use it for the wrong purpose, it doesn’t work, and they have to use lots more to get the job done.
Using an apparently low impact product to carry out a cleaning task in the wrong circumstances does not serve the interest of environmental sustainability. As suppliers we must help customers choose the lowest impact product most appropriate for the circumstances. All responsible manufacturers of cleaning products have ‘eco’ or ‘green’ ranges that are delivered responsibly in the largest possible loads using minimum packaging.
Facts and figures
The media is awash with startling facts and figures about how environmentally irresponsible behaviour has taken, and continues to take, its toll on the world. While most people skip past these statements it is important that as an industry we sit up and take notice. Here are just a few that may make you think twice.
- Around 14 billion pounds of rubbish is dumped into our oceans every year – with plastic being the main constituent (Conserve-energy-future.com)
- Up to 90 per cent of seabirds have plastic in their gut (Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science)
- 275,000 tonnes of plastic are used each year in the UK; that is about 15 million bottles a day (recycyling-guide.org.uk)
- The use of plastic in Western Europe is growing about four per cent every year (recycling-guide.org.uk)
In conclusion, it isn’t difficult to become more environmentally aware, and there are simple steps you can take to implement a green strategy. Firstly, research and invest in the right products: greener doesn’t always mean more expensive if you are buying from responsible suppliers.
Secondly, set up a disposal / recycling regime that will give you peace of mind that you are doing everything you can to stop needless waste filling landfill sites. Thirdly educate your staff and get them involved with green initiatives. Last but not least, shout about your success! Green credentials can really boost the reputation of your business.