Over the past few years, green cleaning options have gone from niche to mainstream as more organizations incorporate them into their day-to-day facility maintenance standards. Among organizations that incorporate sustainable initiatives, 62 percent utilize Green cleaning practices, according to CleanLink’s 2015 annual Facility Cleaning Decisions readership survey.
Though Green cleaning options have become more commonplace, eco-friendly products can still be deemed more pricy than traditional products. While organizations’ budgets can vary, there are ways to keep costs in line when bringing Green cleaning practices to your facility.
If your organization is planning to incorporate Green initiatives, here are some ways to do so efficiently:
Review purchasing history
As you prepare to incorporate a Green initiative at your organization’s facilities, it’s important to review your current spend on cleaning services and products. Be prepared with a detailed past annual purchase history, so there is clarity in what is being purchased before transitioning to Green products. It is important to review the current usage and determine how the usage amount of the new product will change. By calculating the new usage rate, the quantity required and the new price, the cost of going green can be calculated.
Start with small changes
When transitioning to Green products, focusing on bathrooms and break areas can be a good place to begin. Switching from a liquid soap to foam soap, which doesn’t require as much water to lather, can reduce both product and water usage by as much as 50 percent. Installing automatic dispensers can also limit the amount of water, soap and paper towels that individuals use, which would reduce the amount of product needed. Opting for products with eco-friendly packaging can reduce waste collection and disposal costs, since items are not wrapped individually. Consider larger sizes such as 1,000-sheet roll towels, Coreless, or Jumbo Bath Tissue to reduce the frequency of refills.
Consider your chemical and equipment usage
Focusing on cleaning chemicals can also streamline costs. Green products are often concentrated and can be mixed on-site. Many products also use a “sealed” system that uses a specified amount of product, which prevents employees from using more chemicals than needed. Both options reduce product usage and the number of overall shipments needed.
Supply choices can help reduce labor costs
Cleaning staff’s responsibilities can become streamlined by incorporating efficient replenishing strategies and pre-portioned cleaning products. If cleaning staff can replace roll towels and foam soap twice a week instead folded towels and liquid hand soap daily, it can free up time to take on higher value tasks such as cleaning and disinfecting for health, which can reduce employee sick days.
To reduce the labor cost of cleaning, consider using a microfiber flat mop system, which eliminates the need for mixing and transporting buckets of cleaning chemicals and water. This allows cleaning staff to use fewer chemicals. Also, look into using backpack vacuum cleaners that allow staff to clean larger spaces in less time.
Don’t forget about recycling
While this method isn’t new to some industries, recycling cardboard packaging can help defray the costs of eco-friendly practices. The cardboard would be compressed and sold off to a collector, which would reduce the amount of waste in your dumpster and how often you would have to empty your dumpster, reducing waste removal fees.
Communicate changes to your employees
Communicating the plan to “Go Green” is the last critical ingredient. Employees, suppliers, and even customers need to know about the initiative and how they can play a role. Developing strategies to communicate changes and elicit employee/supplier feedback can help ease a transition. Given the changes involved in transitioning to Green products, not everyone may be a fan, unless care is shown in communication the change to a Green facility. Taking steps as simple as placing a sign above an electric hand dryer or brown paper towel dispenser might help explain the change and earn support.
Although some products can be pricey, going Green does not have to be cost prohibitive. There are Green products to fit almost any budget. It is best to review the options and see what’s right for your needs. Have your budget handy and work within your means.