A lot has been made recently of the concept of a “green office”, or an office that prioritises eco-friendly solutions to the everyday issues posed by office management. This can involve waste-saving initiatives such as saving paper by storing as much data as possible digitally, it could be as simple as recycling as much as possible, or it could involve a serious investment like installing solar panels or other renewable energy solutions. Another popular means of creating an eco-friendly office is to roll out a system of “green cleaning”.
Cleaning products are somewhat infamous among the environmentally conscious, containing as they do all manner of toxic or harmful chemicals that, when disposed of incorrectly, can be harmful to the environment. Initiating programs to ensure that such chemicals are disposed of correctly can be one way to address this issue.Such an approach involves making sure toilet cleaning products are not flushed into the sewage, or that used cleaning products such as cloths and bottles are placed into the correct bins. Yet such an approach is often felt to be putting a plaster on a gaping wound, and the public are beginning to demand more eco-conscious choices from companies.
For some time, eco-friendly cleaning products have been widely available and are becoming increasingly more popular. From glass cleaners that contain no harmful substances to eco-friendly spillage clean up kits, it would not be a stretch to say that there is an eco-friendly alternative for every familiar cleaning product that has been commonplace in offices for decades.
And things only seem to be moving one way when it comes to green offices. In fact, moving towards a more environmentally conscious public image would seem to be essential should a business wish to survive in the modern world with its customer base intact. There is strong public support behind the idea of businesses doing what they can to reduce emissions, cut down on waste, and invest in environmentally conscious energy sources. The green office is part of this trend.
Reasons for Going Green
Public image is surely a big incentive for going green. Office cleaning may not be a green practice that is immediately visible to customers, but there is much to be said for impressing employees as well. Working as part of an eco-conscious company, word can quickly spread among employees that their employer is eco-conscious.
All of this contributes to a better CSR (corporate social responsibility) profile,which can in turn be a massive boost to any business. CSR programmes refer to campaigns initiated by companies to improve their public image by demonstrating corporate social responsibility in their products and the day-to-day handling ofbusiness. The trend only points one way. Studies have shown that 66% of global consumers and 73% of millennials are willing to spend extra on products coming from a sustainable brand.
While having a green office is only part of the practice of a “sustainable brand”, it is precisely such approaches that can ultimately increase profit margins.
In the more immediate term, going green can actually save your business money. While some eco-friendly cleaning products can cost more, the general ethos of waste reduction and cutting back can actually make the whole program work out cheaper. Recycling where possible as well as ordering less and making what you have last longer opens opportunities for real savings to be made.
Beyond the considerable benefits to be reaped where your corporate reputation, customer base, and supply costs are concerned, going green also keeps your employees healthier. Certain traditional cleaning chemicals can be harmful to employees with a particular sensitivity. This includes employees with asthma, allergies, or other medical conditions.
Green Cleaning Products and Practices
1. Recycle as Efficiently as Possible
Recycling may be thought of as something that happens after cleaning but, as much as it is a fundamental component of any environmentally conscious management plan, it has an important pace in the cleaning programme of an office. The trick is to get your recycling containers as diverse and as omnipresent as possible. If there is a recycling container available for every type of refuse – be it plastic, glass, aluminium, or organic material – and if they are never out of reach, then it will not be difficult to get employees on-board with a robust recycling scheme.
Many cleaning products must inevitably still use some harmful chemicals, and many will come in plastic bottles. Having the appropriate recycling containers nearby for these substances will allow the most eco-friendly disposal possible, contributing overall to a green office.
2. Opt for Eco-friendly Hand Sanitisers
Hand sanitisers have always been an important part of office hygiene, but with the onset of the global Coronavirus pandemic, they have very quickly become ubiquitous in nearly all public places. With such high demand and a strong imperative for use, going green in this particular area can make a massive difference.
When selecting your hand sanitiser, ensure that it does not contain quats or triclosan and is free of any dyes or fragrances. All of these chemicals are harmful to the environment and actually don’t add anything to the cleaning function. Simple ethanol or ethyl alcohol hand sanitisers are the best, being typically derived from corn and thus not environmentally harmful.
3. Choose Eco-friendly Cleaning Products
There is now a massive market for eco-friendly cleaning products and there are many different kinds on sale. Although there is massive diversity, there are generally a few main substitutions in the chemical composition of these products that make them “eco-friendly”. When selecting such products, it is good to look out for them.
For example, cleaners that use lactic acid rather than artificial chemicals for cleaning purposes are now fairly common and highly effective. Glass cleaners that make use of essential oils and all-natural ingredients are not only effective but can leave your glass surfaces smelling great. There are even bleaches that contain no petrochemicals and can still tackle the most stubborn bathroom cleaning challenges.
As a good rule of thumb, it is good to look out for a product being labelled “biodegradable”, meaning it can be safely exposed to the environment without causing any harm. If a product has such a label, then every ingredient within is biodegradable and the product is ultimately safe to use.
It’s also worth noting that in many cases, office cleaning will be carried out by a third-party cleaning company. As the onwards trend of sustainability seems to have reached nearly every industry sector, you can be confident of finding a cleaning company that is committed to sustainability. If you are unsure, you only need to ask about the chemicals they use in their cleaning products and how they dispose of their waste.
Article Submitted By Community Writer