Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Chemicals
Many companies and organizations are making an effort to improve both their image and reduce their impact on the environment by switching to greener policies. In many cases this is as simple as switching to lower energy light bulbs, putting computers on energy saver mode, and implementing recycling programs. One aspect that all organizations and individuals often overlook in these efforts is the purchase of environmentally friendly janitorial supplies.
Most commercial chemical based solvents and cleaning solutions are highly caustic and poisonous. While any individual cleaning application may only result in a very small amount of waste product being flushed, rinsed or tossed away, over time these add up to large amounts of chemical waste being added to the environment. This waste eventually reaches local water supplies and can even influence local air quality through evaporation of waste chemicals soaked into paper towels or from bottles in landfills. Chemical cleaning products can also have a deleterious effect on the individuals who find themselves handling the chemicals frequently including reduced brain function, damage to the lungs and increased cancer risks.
In order to prevent these effects on both the environment and on the individuals who handle them it is vital to take environmental affects in to consideration early on the purchasing process. When making purchasing decisions, one should consider the following aspects of the product, as recommended by the EPA:
-Minimal amount of corrosive or irritating substance
-Minimal presence of known or suspected carcinogens or reproductive risks
-Low levels of ozone depleting compounds
-Biologically based solvents like citrus or pine oils
-Low VOC (volatile organically based compounds) content
-Designed for use in cold water (reduces energy footprint)
-Biodegradable or recyclable packaging
Products that meet these requirements will usually advertise these facts somewhere on the packaging or on their websites. Following the above guidelines will help minimize the negative side effects from regular exposure on janitorial staff, residents and customers as they result in improved indoor air quality and reduce the ambient pollution levels while still allowing you to maintain the cleanliness you desire in your facility. Purchasing products in recycled packaging will also save you money and reduce your organization's environmental impact. The same goes for low impact solvents and chemicals, which are cheaper to dispose of when compared to more common and more toxic equivalents.