With public concerns about the environment growing, organizations have a responsibility to see how they can support sustainability. Commercial cleaning is one area of opportunity where businesses can minimize their impact. Cleaning facilities like restaurants, airports and schools often consumes high volumes of single-use plastic containers as well as textiles that do not degrade quickly in landfills. Therefore, it’s important for facility operators to consider the full lifespan of their cleaning tools to determine which are responsibly manufactured, suitable for the types of cleaning tasks necessary, and which reflect a commitment to sustainability.
Worries about Plastic and Textile Waste
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than 146 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2018 were deposited in landfills. Plastics accounted for more than 18%, or 26 million tons. Problems associated with plastic are that will take decades to degrade in landfills and the production process generates large amounts of greenhouse gases. Landfills aren’t the only place overflowing with plastic – oceans are also being impacted with a significant plastic pollution crisis. Estimates are 11 million metric tons of plastics enter the ocean annually. Experts predict this volume could increase to 29 million metric tons by 2040.
Textiles pollution is also generating major environmental concern. The EPA notes that 11.3 million tons of textiles went to landfills in 2018 and the recycling rate for all textiles was just 14.7%. Increased textile production based on higher consumer consumption places a large burden on water usage that also results in a generating a significant volume of discarded scraps and clippings.
Determining Environmental Impact
Organizations should look closer and evaluate raw materials, sourcing, manufacturing processes, transportation methods, product applications and disposal to evaluate potential environmental impacts.
A starting point would be inquiring with the manufacturers to determine their processes relative to sustainable practices. They may offer products certified by reputable third-party organizations such as Green Seal®. This certification process requires organizations to submit environmental data for review and assure customers a Green Seal certified mop meets strict sustainability requirements.
When conducting a product category lifespan assessment, you may discover practices that manufacturers employ to produce cleaning tools as well as formulate cleaning chemicals. For example, there are mops made from recycled textiles available that are Green Seal certified promoting circularity in the apparel sector. In addition, brooms and cleaning brushes made from recycled plastic bottles are also available in the marketplace . Purchasing cleaning tools that are produced with repurposed materials will contribute to an organization’s sustainability goals.
Supporting the Triple Bottom Line
Commercial cleaning can consume many resources, from energy to water to chemicals to textiles. With most organizations now placing a greater focus on cleaning and disinfecting, it’s important to consider the impact of a facility’s cleaning program. Careful selection of essentials like mops, cleaning cloths and disinfectants can offer benefits for people, the planet and profits. Greener operations support this triple bottom line by protecting the wellbeing of building occupants and employees, reducing plastic and textile waste in landfills and oceans and delivering cost savings.
Choose durable, sustainable cleaning tools to reduce the environmental impact of your cleaning program. Learn more at www.abcoproducts.com or contact us at (888) 694-2226 today.