- Understand your power as a purchaser — every purchase creates an opportunity to support better, healthier ways of delivering cleaning — voting with your dollars as it were. Choose to take seriously your opportunity and your obligation to look for more sustainable ways to maintain your facility. Innovation happens — even to something as “routine” as cleaning — so support it!
- Instead of focusing on being clean, focus on health and safety — if you do, the appearance factor of cleaning will take care of itself. For a facility to be truly clean it must encompass the health & safety of building occupants. If you take that into consideration, while still ensuring you are properly cleaning, you’ll end up with the right result.
- Reduce your overall volume of consumption. This sounds obvious, but really paying attention to the amount of paper towels, chemicals or energy you’re using can be eye-opening. Learn to be more efficient and choose more efficient products or materials. Sometimes choosing cheap paper towels or products results in more being used which ends up costing and wasting more.
- Have a thorough written policy to make clear your commitment to better practices for a safer workplace and healthier planet. Writing it out forces you to be organized with your plan and it creates the accountability you’ll need to make it become a reality. Developing a written policy will require the input of others, which builds support for your plan.
- Engage your stakeholders. When setting out to implement a green cleaning plan don’t go it alone — it’s hard to take that hill by yourself. You need the support of influential people in each department that’s impacted. Call them your “green team” (or something more inspired!), share your passion and start a movement! (Have you seen this TED talk?)
- Empower your cleaning staff with education. Since labor accounts for 60-70% of your costs, invest in your team to ensure they know how to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. A great example is engineered water technology — helping staff understand that ewater is an effective cleaner, even though it makes no suds and has no scent, is crucial for successful adoption.
- Measure for progress. You know the saying – what you can’t measure, you can’t manage – so you need ways of measuring your processes and improvements. Trying to be responsible with water? Track consumption data. Monitoring surface cleanliness? Try ATP testing and record the results. Wondering about “green” attitudes at your company? Use surveys and track the trends.
- Embrace continuous improvement. Recognize that there is no fully achieving a sustainability plan. Every day technologies and methods improve and you’ll need to embrace that, not be frustrated by it. Innovation even happens in the cleaning industry with new on-site technologies changing the face of cleaning and impacting health and safety for people and the planet.
Thanks to Steve Ashkin of The Ashkin Group for this wisdom, which was presented during an event sponsored by eWater.