So, you’ve done the research into the benefits of green cleaning products. Maybe you’ve even received a cost comparison that shows you can actually save money by replacing a closet full of different cleaning products with one or two green cleaners. The reality is, however, that few decisions at a school or university are made in a vacuum. Now you have to get others on board—whether that includes your peers, other decision-makers, or other stakeholders. Below are a few steps you can take to sell the rest of your organization on how powerful, safe and cost-effective it can be to go green.
1. Lead with the Three Es: Effectiveness, Efficiency & Economy
Everyone likes the idea of a green school. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t agree that cleaning products that are safer for students, custodians, and the environment seem like a good thing. But every school or university has some hard realities they have to face, too. It’s not enough for cleaning supplies to be green. Schools want cleaning products to do the job well, and they have to keep a close eye on the budget. Thankfully, there are environmentally-preferred products to meet everyone’s needs.
Effective: Cleaning products don’t have to be harsh to work. Green cleaning products can be just as effective. In some cases, they can be more effective. For example, if you choose a product from EnvirOx, they use just the right amount of surfactants—reducing the residue left behind after cleaning. This keeps germs and dirt from clinging to the residue, and leaves a surface that stays and looks cleaner longer.
Efficient: Cleaning supplies—especially ready-to-use bottles—can fill up a closet fast when you have a window cleaner, floor cleaner, toilet cleaner, bleaches, etc. The right green cleaning product can replace most of these with one product used at different dilutions. Take a picture of the current set-up(s) at your facility, and imagine replacing that with one product.
Economical: Replacing many ready-to-use cleaning products with one concentrated green cleaning product can be a huge cost savings. This is a great time to use a cost comparison. And remember the key benefit of using concentrated cleaners: you don’t pay a cleaning manufacturer for water you can just add yourself! Even if you supplement your main green cleaner with a couple other environmentally-preferred specialty cleaners, you get more product for your money in the long run.
2. Now Let’s Talk Green
Hopefully by now you’ve eased the minds of the key stakeholders at your school or university about the cost and convenience of switching to a new cleaning program. Now it’s time to talk about the very real benefits of going green.
Safer for Staff: It’s estimated that 6 out of 100 professional custodians are injured by the chemicals they use, with burns to the eyes or skin being the most common problem, followed by breathing in toxic mists or vapors.1 Green cleaners can be safer on the skin, without the harsh vapors.
Safer for Students: Green cleaners contribute to a healthier student body. They also lack the harmful agents that have been linked to short or long-term effects such as asthmatic triggers, allergic reactions, and even cancer. Just be sure to choose a cleaning product free of agents such as ammonias, bleaches, quaternary ammonium compounds, or large amounts of fragrances. Children, especially, are more at risk than adults from pollutants as they breathe in twice the volume of air versus their body mass. They are also lower to the ground, and closer to surfaces treated with chemicals.2
Safer for the Environment: As well as the cleaning products themselves being environmentally-preferred, using a concentrated product through a dispensing system reduces the waste produced by bottle after bottle of ready-to-use cleaners. Recycle the bottles for an even more environmentally-friendly solution.
If you’re looking for new cleaning solutions, we can help. Reach out to an EnvirOx consultant; we have decades of experience helping facility managers just like you find a safer, healthier way to clean.
1. UCSF Institute for Health & Aging, UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health, Informed Green Solutions, and California Department of Pesticide Regulation. (2013). Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting: A Toolkit for Early Care and Education. San Francisco, CA: University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing.
2. Chan, T. C. (2014). Marketing the Green School: Form, Function, and the Future. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.