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Sustainable Cleaning Continues to Evolve

It is admirable how far the professional cleaning industry has evolved when it comes to green cleaning. From a rocky start just a decade ago, green cleaning is now a fundamental component of our industry. Today many, if not most, facility managers base cleaning product selections—for both chemicals and equipment—on whether products are green or known to have a reduced impact on the environment.

While green has become a norm in the industry, the professional cleaning industry continues to evolve. Green originally revolved around developing safer chemical formulations. With that accomplished in large part, manufacturers, dealers, and end-users are focusing their attention on making cleaning more sustainable. The term sustainable has different meanings, but sustainable cleaning typically involves implementing cleaning strategies and programs and selecting products that help preserve natural resources and reduce waste.

The following are examples of how the professional cleaning industry is getting not only greener but more sustainable as well:

Telling customers what should be cleaned and when. You read that right. When it comes to carpet and floor cleaning, for example, many facilities have set frequencies built into their cleaning contracts that have not been revisited in years. For example, a schedule may indicate that the carpets in the executive area of a facility are to be cleaned four times per year. But invariably, the carpets do not need to be cleaned this often, and reducing this frequency to just twice per year can save considerable amounts of energy, chemicals, packaging materials, fuel for transportation, and water, while also allowing staff o spend more of their time cleaning other areas of the facility more in need of attention.

Replacing older equipment with new equipment. Cleaning equipment can be compared to automobiles. At one time, car owners decided to get a new car when their old vehicle began costing them more to service than it was worth. When they purchased a new car, they were not necessarily expecting a lot of new features, just a vehicle that would provide a number of years of service without breakdown. Similarly, that is how cleaning professionals viewed replacing their equipment. However, that has all changed in both the automobile industry and the cleaning industry. Many of the cleaning tools and equipment manufactured today are designed to use energy, water, and chemical much more efficiently. In essence, the machine is designed to do more while using less…one of the cornerstones of sustainability.

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