Sustainable cleaning to aid businesses
26 November 2021
The world has been taking much bigger steps to go green over recent years to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis. Tim Bench says practising sustainability isn’t only good for the world, but also for people living on the planet right now.
TO BE successful, sustainable practices should be implemented in all areas of a business in all of the different departments. In this guide, we’ll go into detail about sustainable cleaning and the steps cleaning managers can take to improve sustainability and protect the health and well-being of other employees.
Risk assessments and workplace health
If you’re a cleaning manager, you’ll know how important it is to prioritise the health and safety of your employees. By closely examining the way that you use your daily cleaning schedules, you can help create a better environment for your workforce, all while making the effort to be more sustainable. Be smarter about how often you enact your daily cleaning schedules: ensuring that you are aware of what rooms and facilities have already been cleaned can enable you to cut down on unnecessary work and therefore reduce waste, as well as saving you time.
One of the best ways to reach your sustainability targets is to create a clear and coherent strategy that makes it easier for your workforce to act in an eco-friendly manner. By raising awareness and promoting your strategy, more and more employees will be able to join you on the journey to working with the best environmental practices in mind.
Create a healthier work environment
Another great way to inspire your team is to ensure that your work premises are cared for properly. A healthier workforce will be more likely to be motivated to join you in making a difference. If team members can see that you’re taking big steps to make your premises safer and more environmentally friendly by implementing sustainable cleaning practices, it breeds a sense of workplace pride and they are more likely to make a better sustainable contribution too.
Clamping down on high dust levels and making sure all areas are kept clean and hygienic will create a healthier work environment. You can also create a better, greener workplace culture by recycling as much as possible and avoiding the use of hazardous chemicals in your cleaning products and methods.
Creating a green cleaning regime
When you’re overhauling your cleaning strategies to make them greener, you need to ensure the processes that you’re following keep environmental damage to a minimum. Before you implement a green cleaning strategy, it’s a very wise move to look closely at the cleaning products that you are currently using. Do these products contain harmful chemicals? Are they as effective at doing the job as other, greener products?
You don’t need to change everything at once, but even just gradually replacing the harmful products you use will make a massive difference. Before you know it, you will have a whole range of sustainable and safe cleaning solutions at your disposal.
What makes a great eco-friendly cleaning product?
The best eco-friendly cleaning products tend to have biodegradable packaging. It’s increasingly common for packaging to be manufactured from eco-friendly bamboo, which can help you reduce your impact on the environment. The packaging of many green cleaning products is also made from recycled materials including caps and bottles.
The materials used to create cleaning products can help you find out how sustainable they are. If you have old brooms and vacuums that have failed to stand the test of time, you may wish to look into more durable, eco-friendlier options that will serve you well for years to come. Install recycled paper towels in kitchens and bathrooms - and where possible, look for reusable cloth options too to cut down on unnecessary waste.
Keep an eye on water usage
Cleaning is often a water-intensive activity, but it’s always good to be aware of exactly how much you’re using in an average routine - you may be wasting much more water than you think when you carry out your daily cleaning duties. Make sure you’re only ever using as much as you need to fulfil your duties properly and make attempts to avoid unnecessary wastage where you can.
Working with the facilities manager, a great way to find out how much water you’re consuming unnecessarily is to have a water audit carried out. This will also help you identify previously undetected leaks, which can be expensive. Some water-saving equipment can seem expensive, but try to consider the amount you will save in the long run as a result of reduced water and energy consumption.
All employees should be encouraged to turn taps off when they’re not using them, and your fellow cleaning staff should be encouraged to apply extra pressure when they are cleaning surfaces so they can avoid using more water than they need to. Putting a strategic water management plan together can help you create an eco-friendlier workplace culture. Flat mops can also help you reduce water waste, as can low moisture vacuum solutions.
Bring energy-efficient appliances into your business
If you’re not already using energy-efficient appliances, consider making the switch. With energy bills representing almost half of many businesses’ annual turnovers, it’s in your best interests to do more to reduce your energy consumption. When you start using energy-efficient appliances, you can save water and prevent harmful greenhouse emissions. Older appliances tend to consume much more power than new ones.
Cleaning managers can carry out audits to identify where waste is occurring and determine the source of it. By inspecting your equipment regularly and checking for faults, you can prolong its life so you don’t have to make further purchases ahead of schedule. You can create a healthier environment by using HEPA filters to remove mould and dust from the air.
Raising awareness of sustainability at work
Your team is more likely to help you create positive change if you educate them on the importance of sustainability. Although team members may already know a great deal about sustainability, others may be lacking in knowledge. You can get your employees on board by making the process of going green a fun one that captures their imagination and allows them to see tangible results. There are lots of creative ways you can incorporate sustainability into your working day, like using initiatives such as competitions and rewards for meeting certain personal targets.
Let your employees see your latest reports on water and electricity consumption so they can see the change their actions are delivering. Encourage them to go paperless or at least use as little paper as possible, persuade them to recycle and ask them to avoid using excessive amounts of water. Once your employees get into the habit of avoiding waste, they are more likely to act in a more sustainable fashion outside of the workplace too. Small changes when it comes to sustainability make an enormous difference and prove how easy it is to make the switch to green living.
Catering and sustainability
Sustainable choices also need to happen on work breaks too, not just when you’re carrying out your cleaning routine. There are many changes you can make in the kitchen. It’s increasingly common for forward-thinking companies to encourage the use of recyclable disposable cups such as these by Galleon Supplies and reusable cutlery. It might also be worth setting up a washing-up rota for all the used mugs and plates after lunch so you can avoid running the water repeatedly, and therefore reducing your total waste.
Carsharing has become very popular over recent years thanks to media exposure and helps you reduce the environmental impact of commuting. Ask around your team and get a carpool going. Another big benefit of this is that it can improve workplace morale by encouraging team members to interact with and get to know each other on a deeper level.
The impact of the climate crisis is already being shown and the simple truth is that action is needed to try and mitigate the damage that has already been caused. It means that the need for companies to be aware of sustainability is unlikely to slow down in coming years, with penalties for companies failing to act responsibly likely to get more severe.
It doesn’t matter how small a difference you make - it will still have a big impact on limiting the effects of climate change. To be successful, everyone must work together and remember that doing something is always better than doing nothing. If all departments work together, a company can achieve its sustainability goals in no time at all. There is no better place to begin establishing these changes than in cleaning.
Going green allows you to play your part in doing the right thing for the environment and means that your company can attract the most skilled young talent and reduce unnecessary energy costs.
Tim Bench is owner of Galleon Supplies
For more information visit www.galleonsupplies.co.uk