What is green cleaning, and why should we implement green cleaning? Green Cleaning can have a lot of interpretations, but the main goal of green cleaning is to use cleaning solutions and methods that keep our environment healthy.
Green, or environmentally preferable products are often defined as products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.
Green Cleaning is more than the use of environmentally preferable products. It is comprehensive and includes the unique needs of a facility and its occupants, as well as the cleaning chemicals, equipment, paper products, procedures, and training programs.
For instance, it can and does include:
- Selecting environmentally preferable cleaning and maintenance chemicals, janitorial paper items, and tools and equipment.
- Understanding how these products are used to reduce their impact on custodial workers, building occupants, and the environment.
- Involving the facility's managers, occupants, and cleaning workers in the Green Cleaning process
Providing training for the cleaning professionals using the products.
As to the second question, we now know that conventional cleaning products can endanger the health and well-being of building occupants, as well as of the cleaning workers who use the products. They pose an even greater threat when used in daycare facilities, locations where building occupants have existing health conditions and sensitivities, and health care facilities where building occupants may have compromised immune systems.
These chemicals can also have an adverse effect on indoor air quality. Studies of workers compensation claims indicate that some cleaning chemicals can result in burns to skin and eyes, carcinogenic risks, and chronic health risks to the endocrine, neurological, respiratory, reproductive, and other systems of the human body.
Today, many facilities have implemented a Green Cleaning program. They have found the following:
- Indoor air quality has improved.
- Complaints from office and janitorial workers about their indoor environment have diminished.
- A reduced or no adverse environmental impact exists because of cleaning.
- The program has often saved company owners money.
Looking at the broader perspective, implementing a Green Cleaning program has both environmental and economic benefits, which include:
- Improving air and water quality
- Conserving natural resources
- Enhancing and protecting natural habitats
- Improving employee productivity and satisfaction
- Optimizing life-cycle performance of building products
- Contributing to the health and well-being of the community
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