Whether you’re bored in quarantine and getting stuck into a spring clean or it’s time to prepare the office for returning employees, cleaning is now more important than ever to ensure our health.
But do you really know the impacts of using cleaning chemicals? Professional cleaning companies know the importance of green cleaning in our homes and our workplaces and yet not all of them are falling in line with eco-friendly commercial cleaners and their practices.
Commercial cleaning companies are one of the largest contributors to this form of pollution and it’s time to help workplaces realise this and take a stand. No matter how eco-conscious you may be at home, making your employers aware of how they can make a switch is essential.
It’s not just our planet that feels the negative implications of harsh products but we are affected too. You could be looking to make a small change or completely uphaul your cleaning routines, either way, it’s crucial to know how we can make a difference.
Unfortunately, the main reason for workplaces not switching to green cleaning is a lack of information. This article will help you create a compelling, yet concise argument to why we need to be aware of who we hire to clean our offices and what supplies we use, so even the busiest of bosses will have time to absorb crucial information.
Why Is It Important For Us?
It’s a sad truth that not everyone is worried about being eco-friendly, but views can quickly change when people realise they are personally being impacted by cleaning chemicals.
Most cleaning products end up being washed down the sink and toilet drains and many do not have a second thought as to where this ends up.
Water waste plants make every attempt to remove these chemicals from our water supplies, unfortunately this is a complex task and is also impossible to eradicate chemicals from our water.
This means these chemicals have to end up somewhere and this is often released into rivers, streams and other natural environments.
The marine life that lives in these areas spend their lives surrounded by these chemicals, which can impact their health, reproduction and growth. These creatures can then end up in our food supply chain and you could unknowingly be consuming contaminated seafood.
In some cases, there have even been reports of this harmful water ending up in our drinking supply, although not immediately toxic, long-term consumption could lead to medical problems.
Another culprit for causing issues is monoethanolamine, a common component of aerosols and other cleaning products such as laundry detergents. For asthma sufferers or any other breathing-related condition, this can be dangerous and even fatal.
Monoethanolamine causes inflammation in the lungs and can bring on asthma attacks in a matter of minutes. This is why they have been banned in many schools across the world, but there is yet to be any regulations set in place for working adults.
How Are Chemical Cleaners Affecting Our Planet
Aside from wildlife coming into contact with cleaning chemicals, the two other factors that we all need to be aware of is the damage to the ozone layer and the waste from packaging.
Aerosoles contain hydrocarbons and compressed gases, these contribute to damage to the ozone layer and advance climate change.
Harsh cleaning products need to be contained in something substantial to avoid corrosion during transit and storage. This is why plastic bottles are typically thicker than other household products.
While this certainly does the job and protects leaking and damage to surfaces, there are few recycling centres that are able to recycle these forms of plastic. Leading to vast amounts of single-use bottles ending up in landfills.
Busting Green Cleaning Myths
Even with awareness of the implications of chemical cleaners, there are so many myths around the benefits of green cleaning which causes consumers to be reluctant to make the change.
The most prominent misconception is that natural cleaning products are not as effective as their chemical counterparts. In reality, you can achieve the same results with more eco-friendly products. It’s true that you may have to use more of the product, teamed with a little extra effort but you can still have a shining surface.
Natural cleaners are safe to use and can bring the same cleanliness as chemicals with simple, basic ingredients, such as vinegar, has been known to kill common cold and flu viruses so there’s no need to fill your homes with toxic substances to sterilize.
However, there haven’t been studies to prove this is the same with Covid-19 so if you do have a suspected case in your property, it’s always recommended to use a product that states it can specifically kill the virus until we have further evidence that natural cleaners can work.
Green cleaning isn’t just about liquids, sprays and gels we use, it is every product that aids us with keeping a sanitary space. Consumable products, such as paper towels and sponges, contribute to huge amounts of waste, not to mention carbon emissions from production lines and transport.
You can make a big difference in switching to natural sponges, that don’t contain plastic and swapping paper towels for hand dryers or better yet, reusable, washable towels.
This is always the hardest part when arguing for a change at work, does it fit the budget? It’s true, green cleaning products are typically more expensive, especially for the initial purchase of reusable products.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Home-made cleaning products can be made in large quantities for very little cost, all you have to do is stock up the supply cupboard from your local grocery store and buy a few refillable bottles.
For example, you can make a streak-free window cleaner from 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water. An all-purpose cleaner can be made from 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup water, 2 tbsp rubbing alcohol and a few drops of your favourite essential oil for a nice smelling finish.
Any change, no matter how small, helps to keep our planet and ourselves healthy. Even if you just substitute one product for a natural one, over a lifetime this can make a world of difference. So if management is reluctant, try to convince them just one product at a time, they’ll soon see a positive difference.