Incorporating sustainable cleaning practices can improve efficiency, reduce costs and help save the planet.
With most schools now fully open, it’s time to evaluate if your cleaning practices are the healthiest for students, faculty and the planet.
When implementing a sustainable cleaning program, use products that have a limited impact on the environment. As part of the evaluation process, it is important to understand the differences between “green” and “sustainable” cleaning products. The first is referring to the environmental impacts of a product. The latter is used to describe the entire manufacturing process of a product and if it is made in a way that completely avoids the depletion of natural resources while benefiting a community in need. Choose products that not only have a limited impact on the environment, but that are sustainably manufactured to have the greatest impact.
School facility managers must also be on the lookout for “greenwashing”by cleaning product manufacturers. This is a tactic used to make products appear healthy for people and the environment, when in fact, unsubstantiated claims are being used.
Green Cleaning is a Need, Not a Want
One in 13 American students experiences asthma, likely due to harmful toxins. Luckily, a sustainable cleaning program can help to reduce toxins from indoor air, thus reducing the negative effects asthma has on students and staff.
Some ways your school or university can get started with a green cleaning program include:
- Properly train cleaning staff. On average, commercial cleaning and in-house cleaning staff have a significantly high turnover rate of around 200%. On top of that, schools continue to deal with ever-changing cleaning protocols, which can make it difficult to handle without proper training. Train cleaning teams on how to use sustainable cleaning tools and products effectively by setting up regular training programs throughout the year.
- Read cleaning chemical labels carefully.Cleaning chemicals are used to clean, disinfect or sanitize. Using chemicals to help with all three is important, yet misuse of cleaning chemicalsis common. Without proper training, cleaning staff may dilute chemicals improperly, or mix chemicals that cause toxins to release into the air that are harmful to students, staff and the environment.
- Implement sustainably made cleaning tools. Third-party groups, like Green Seal, have vigorous certification programs to help schools and other organizations ensure the cleaning products they select are truly sustainable. Using sustainably certified cleaning products can help schools reduce CO2 emissions, volatile organic compound (VOC) pollution, and organochloride pollution. * Take inventory of current cleaning supplies.An easy way to limit plastic waste and reduce costs is to streamline product usage. There’s no need to have multiple types of cleaners, disinfectants and sanitizers on hand. Also, school facility managers should consider investing in well-made and sustainable cleaning tools, like ourMicrofiber Mops and Dual Cavity Buckets.
Make a Change, Make an Impact
It’s easier than most people think to incorporate green cleaning practices into a school. It also doesn’t have to happen overnight. Making small improvements over time can make a positive impact on students’ well-being and your school’s bottom line. Due to the current state of the planet’s health, it’s also imperative to start a plan of action now.
Consider educating students of all ages on the importance of sustainable cleaning practices so they can take that knowledge with them into the world. Developing these habits at a young age can be beneficial in helping to ensure lifelong sustainability practices.